James Walsh Month – INTERVIEW – Next Level Sketch

Welcome to October and this month we have a special treat for you! The name James Walsh may sound familiar to you and that is because he has written a few articles for The Phoenix Remix and he is also one of our reviewers! Well this month we get to know James that little bit more! This week we talk about Next Level Sketch and the shows they have in store this month

So James, how did you get into Sketch writing?

When I was 21 myself and my friend Nathan faxed – faxed! – a sketch we had written to the BBC. It was about Jim Davidson giving speechwriting advise to then-Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith . The punchline was something unbroadcastable involving a baby. We never heard back.

Eighteen years later, my friend Euan invited me to join him on a Hoopla course.

You are part of a team called Next Level Sketch – how did you form?

It was a windswept night on the high moors. Gemma Arrowsmith cackled at us, her face contorted horrifically by the flames of the ungodly fire. We decided to do a monthly sketch comedy night.

Tell us a little bit about the members of your team.

There are still loads of us but – as was always going to happen – we seem to have congealed around some regular wonders. There isn’t enough space on the internet to give praise to them all but the night would not exist without my two co producers, Nadine Bailey and Paul Creasy, who are the heart and the brain of the operation. I s, the appendix.

James and Euan

How do you come up with sketch ideas, where do you get your inspirations from?

I go for a walk with a word or prompt in my head and see what I come up with. When I get back I write them down and see if any of them are worth pursuing.

The other motivator is the blind panic of a deadline. Our online sketch meetings are at 7:30 on a Wednesday and you can often find me writing at 7.20 on a Wednesday.

Do you write more sketches individually or collaboratively?

All art is a cell of one. I would love to be able to work collaboratively – I crave a partner – but so far it hasn’t happened. This is entirely my fault. See the first sentence.

What is the difference between these writing styles and what type do you prefer?

We do have a bunch of different writing styles at NLS but we are all heading towards a house style – a strange blend of the erudite and extremely stupid.

What has been your favourite sketch that you have written and why?

Jesus is a Pirate. Because it’s extremely simple and enormously stupid.

In your opinion, what is the best sketch television show out there and why?

Ever? Probably The Fast Show, but I’m mildly afraid to go back and see how it’s dated.

What is your favourite sketch from this show?

Competitive dad.

Does Next Level Sketch have shows from October onwards? If so, when are they?

Yes! We’ve got our spooky Halloween show on 27th October and our less spooky November 30th show with special guests Thick ‘N’ Fast.

If people want to find out more about your team, where can they visit?

@nextlevelsketch on all platforms! We did have a website but Euan broke it and fled to Rio with the passwords.

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