Interview: Tony Law
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Tony Law has been taking his alternative style of comedy across the country in his latest tour Tony Law: Enter The Tonezone.
Though Canadian, Tony has lived in London since he was 18 and has been doing stand up for much of his life. Now 45, he’s appeared on TV shows ranging from 8 Out Of 10 Cats to The Culture Show and many in between (Have I Got News For You and Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe are just a few of his impressive list of telly credits).
Through the constant crackle of interference, I spoke to Tony about his tour, his children and his advice to students that want to be stand-ups.
How’s the road treating you?
It’s good. Last night’s gig was amazing. I was in Brighton and it was a crazy club. It was a crazy crowd, like a rock club. Not the sort of people I’d expected; there were no hipsters. The crowd went right up to, I think the oldest was 70 years old
Tell me about the show - what should people be expecting?
It’s a about fraying the edges of the mind. It has the usual surreal elements and the usual unhingedness. But it has a soul and a heart if that makes sense. It’s a little bit about of death. I remember all the jobs I had in the past, like when I worked at an abattoir. But it’s also about love and celebrating coupledom. Hopefully people leave a bit happier than when they came in. That’d be nice.
You mentioned the surreal. Surreal is something you’re quite often described as. Is that label important to you?
I guess so, though I don’t quite understand it. I don’t know if it applies to my stuff. Definitely absurd does, because life is absurd. It’s absurd that we have to pay rent. It’s absurd that you can be fined for paying a visa bill late. It's punishing people for being disorganised. So I think absurd fits better. Yeah, definitely absurdist fits better.
I know a lot of your fans, myself included, are budding stand-up comedians. Is there anything you want to say to them?
Don’t do it, there’s no money for anyone with integrity, you can’t say what you want to say and you end up disappointing most people who aren’t budding stand comedians and other fun people. But if that’s what you want to do, and you want to just make a little money and have a fun life then go for it. But do what you think is funny, don’t just put on a jacket and notice stuff.
A lot of your bits are based on faux history. Do you ever research them in advance?
Well, I’m a history nerd. I never need to plan or research because I know my history. For me it’s the most interesting of the humanities because it includes all the others. It includes philosophy. It includes politics. It includes geography. That makes it the most appealing of all the humanities. To me at least.
Do your family ever come to your shows?
Yeah, quite often. Well my wife usually watches from the side. Sometimes we even get the kids on stage. But that’s only ever at festivals.
Would you ever want your kids to go into stand up?
I don’t know. My daughter possibly because she’s really clever. I think that she could be really good at it. She’s intelligent and quirky so I think she could do something interesting with it. But she’s already really funny so I don’t want to force her into anything. So yeah, it’s tough.
Is there anything you want people to take away from your show, apart from being happier than when they entered, like a message?
Well, I know it sounds fucking wank, but really the only message is that it’s okay to just be yourself. You know? It’s alright. Whatever you do it’s alright. Drink too much, don’t drink, smoke, don’t smoke it’s alright. Just try to be kind and polite. I know that I sound inarticulate. But hey, it’s alright to be inarticulate.
Tony Law: Enter the Tonezone is touring the UK until 28th November, before coming to London for three weeks in December and January. To see tour dates visit the website here.