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Interview: Tony Law

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Stand-up Tony Law is a veteran of the British circuit and a regular at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, his surrealist style combines high energy delivery and limitless unpredictability.

Currently he’s touring the UK with his show A Law Undo His Elf What Welcome, and we got the chance to speak to him about his new show, his life on tour and his unique material.

“I don't miss Canada… my whole adult life has been here,” Tony says. His latest UK tour will take him from top to toe of his adopted homeland, and it seems Britain really has become home to Law.

“For 20 odd years I've constantly travelled around it whilst living in London. I notice when I'm abroad I miss home,” he says.

As clichéd a line of enquiry as it may be, asking about where comedy material is sourced becomes a lot more relevant when talking to a comedian like Tony Law. His inimitable style contains some of the strangest gags in comedy and he is keen to reflect on how it comes together…

Tony finds inspiration in “History. Reading. Family. Random things...” and also cites his strangely useful habit of “Mistaking lists in my notebook for material”. All these things kick what he calls his “random brain generator” into gear.

After attempting what is a sedate explanation by his standards, Tony seems to hit on a closer insight into his creative process:

“Ah fuck you know what? Poor vocabulary combined with the absolutely fucked up absurdity of the world… If your mind doesn't spew out twisted upside down nonsense then you're crazy.”

Tony assures me though that he’s keen to keep a happier spin on his ‘twisted upside down nonsense’ despite having to fight his own personal demons. During his 2016 Edinburgh Fringe show Law claimed he hit “rock bottom” – later having to see psychiatrists. Thankfully Tony seems currently to be embracing a newly found happiness and stability.

How do those thought processes actually make it out of Law’s mind and onto a sheet of paper, (or at least into a show?) 

“I try to read and read and read and watch. Anything. Without a plan or a filter. Everything.  Then I spend a lot of time writing. For no purpose.  Just write. And talk to myself. And do voices.

"Then I go to new material nights with a blank page. 20 minutes before the panic of impending embarrassment kicks in and I scribble. Then I go on and spew out what I've written down. When I'm in a good place I riff off the back of those ideas and voila!  I make it hard.”

Having seen Tony perform multiple times, he certainly embraces elements of improvisation as well as displaying more scripted elements in his shows. Essentially his creativity runs wild on stage. It’s a joy.

Tony is featured on a variety of comedy bills and television programmes, of varying styles, directed at a wide spectrum of audiences. On the one hand Tony Law is a mainstay of cult-comedy, featuring on shows such as Comedy Central’s underappreciated and hilarious Alternative Comedy Experience. On the other he’s also dipped his toes in the mainstream, with programmes like Have I Got News for You also cropping up on his record. Overall though it seems Tony’s comedic heart lies with the industry’s real creatives, rather than on weekly panel games.

Passing comment on his view of the state of stand up comedy in 2017 Tony tells me about some of his favourite acts:

“John Luke Roberts. Phil Nichol... and many, many more.  All the great ones who've been doing it a while and have funny bones. There are a lot of really successful ones who are just nothing. Empty learned comedy. Shit. Soulless. No funny bones. Michael Mcintyre I would never begrudge. He's got funny bones. He is funny.

Funny bones’ are definitely part of Law’s own make up. On stage he’s expressively nonsensical and harnesses surrealist absurdism in unique way. On the British comedy circuit he is a unique offering and a must-see.

 

Tony’s full list of tour dates:

THURSDAY 27TH APRIL – COLCHESTER Arts Centre 

FRIDAY 28TH APRIL – CANTERBURY Gulbenkian Theatre 

SUNDAY 30TH APRIL – BELFAST Black Box  

THURSDAY 4TH MAY – LIVERPOOL Slaughter House

FRIDAY 5TH MAY – SALFORD QUAYS The Lowry 

SATURDAY 6TH MAY – POCKLINGTON Arts Centre 

MONDAY 8TH MAY – DERBY Guildhall 

THURSDAY 11TH MAY – NEW MILTON Forest Arts

FRIDAY 12TH MAY – CAMBRIDGE

SATURDAY 13TH MAY – READING South Street Arts Centre 

THURSDAY 18TH MAY – SHEFFIELD Crucible Studio 

FRIDAY 19TH MAY – KENDAL Brewery Arts Centre 

THURSDAY 22ND JUNE – LONDON Underbelly Southbank

TONY WILL ALSO BE RETURNING TO THE EDINBURGH FRINGE FESTIVAL 2017
WITH A BRAND NEW SHOW.

For tickets visit: http://www.mrtonylaw.com/tour-dates/




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