Comedy

Ones To Watch – INTERVIEW – Factually Inaccurate

A new year means there are lots of new and exciting shows, music, albums, comedy and much around the corner and we have an exciting month for you! In true Phoenix Remix tradition we are chatting to lots of different acts all about what they have in store for 2022. Today we talk to James Walsh about the alternative comedy night Factually Inaccurate and some of the big names they have performing this year.


Hello James tell us all about Factually Inaccurate?

Factually Inaccurate is London’s premier owl-run alternative comedy night, which takes place at Hoopla at The Miller. We have a silly lecture format which we explain – poorly – to our comedians and then see what happens. We’re a mixture of stand-up, character comedy, improv, sketch, and shouting at the projector. So far we’ve had acts such as Yuriko Kotani, Athena Kugblenu, Thom Tuck, Tom Crowley, Monica Gaga, Sharlin Jahan, Richard Vranch, and Eleanor Morton all interpreting our woolly remit in their own charming and hilarious manners.

How did your show come about?

I’ve been branching out into stand-up after writing lots of sketches with Next Level Sketch. The sensible thing to do would be to relentlessly gig my way through the open mic circuit. Instead, naively or arrogantly, I decided the easiest way to do this would be to set up my own night, and host it, thus forcing me to become good, or at least better, at being funny.

I asked fellow NLS alumni Maddi Sainsbury to be my fellow producer, then we sat outside the National Theatre with beer until we’d come up with a suitably eccentric idea for a night. Thus Factually Inaccurate was born. Now all we needed was a drawing of an owl….

How did you get into comedy?

Completely accidentally. I did Gemma Arrowsmith’s sketch comedy course in 2018 after badgering from two friends who had already booked and thought I’d enjoy it. Ten minutes in to the first class, I knew what had been missing my whole life. 

What are your plans for the night in  2022?

Welp, first of all we’re moving to the second Tuesday of the month rather than the second Monday, as hybrid working seems to mean fewer people heading to the office – and to comedy thereafter – at the start of the week. 

But other than that we’re going to keep booking interesting alternative comedians that we enjoy seeing, and putting them in a fun space and see what they come up with. One lovely thing about our night is the chance to see pretty well established comics doing things a bit different. We’ve got Isy Suttie booked in for February: even my mum knows who she is.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing perform online or in person to this year?

You’ll probably notice from our booking policy that we do like a bit of hot ACMS action; but I’m particularly excited to see Kate Martin again soon, and to check out Jenan Younis’ Work In Progress show, Jenanistan. 

 What styles do you hope to see more of in comedy this year?

One of the reasons we started Factually Inaccurate was to provide an inclusive, diverse space for eccentricity. I miss when stand-up was weird; it can seem a bit too generic and professional these days. 

So I’d like to see more character comedy, more oddballs, more clowns, more sketch, and more stuff that the Guardian can be baffled by. What was it Simon Munnery said? He got a review that said he was “as close as comedy gets to art”, which implies it is not art. I think it is and I want to be moved and to think things I didn’t think before.

What comedian is your ones to watch in 2022 and why?

Sharlin Jahan. She’s just effortlessly funny, which is really annoying if you, you know, put lots of effort into being funny.

Do you have any new years resolutions? If so what are they?

My comedian friend Helena Blackwell has a bit on how she’s so organised she has a colour-coded spreadsheet of resolutions ready to go by, oooh, September. She can go back through them by year and tick off which ones she achieved and which she didn’t.

I can barely open a spreadsheet, let alone conceive of the future.

Are you on social media? If so how can people find out more about your night?

We’ve outsourced all of our social media to the mortarboard-wearing owl that terrorises our imaginary offices. They can be found at factuallyinaccuratestandup.com and @FactuallyInacc on Instagram and Twitter.

Three words why people should come and see you this year?

 Owls, owls, and owls.


QUICK FIRE ROUND

The movie or television show you are looking forward to seeing this year?

I’m not very good at knowing what is happening in popular culture, as far as I can tell they’re just remaking Batman over and over again, occasionally with a definite article. I did finally see Seven Samurai at the BFI last week, and it was incredible, so can I be extremely pretentious and say I’m really looking forward to seeing more classics I really should have seen by now?!

Your favourite book?

The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin. I got to her late, but her books changed my life.

If you could paint anything what would you paint? 

I would paint my favourite building, The Barbican, from a range of sexy angles. People would be so moved by my painting that it would spark a campaign for the building to be nationalised and for all the architects who live there to be kicked out and be replaced by those of the most need. Then this sparks a popular movement for social housing generally and Brutalism specifically, and lo: the housing crisis is solved. Hope you like concrete y’all!

What is the most delightful word you can think of?

Love.

Favourite album?

At the moment, probably Cornershop’s joyous, summer, anti-fascist banger, England is a Garden.

 

Where would you love to go on holiday this year?

I was supposed to be returning to Japan in 2020 with my two best friends. I hope, eventually, to be able to do this.

 

What is your favourite quote from a television show?

“I hate Sebastian Coe!” from The Day Today.

Who is your favourite film character and why?

Tampopo, the lead eponymous character from the eighties Japanese comedy classic. Nobuko Miyamoto is the Ramen Western (as opposed to spaghetti western!) matriarch of my dreams.

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