The sins of the father are good comedy fodder | Steve Hall

Self-Googling, trawling through tawdry pornography and watching fat people falling over are just some of the things UK stand-up comedian Steve Hall deems to be important tools of his trade. He speaks to us ahead of his performance at the Eden Stand-Up Comedy Night on February 7.

Steve Hall.
Steve Hall.

Let's start with an easy one: What's funny?

Fat people falling over.

Like other comedians before you (Eddie Murphy in particular springs to mind) you use your family as a springboard for your comedy, and your father in particular. At what point did you realise that he would make great stand-up fodder?

He was always the funniest person I'd ever met. I remember being little and him delighting my mates by pushing his false teeth out of his mouth at a jaunty angle. But the crowning moment was seeing him witheringly take down a neighbour of ours who was attempting to bully us into not riding our bikes in the street. Using just words, my dad absolutely dismantled him. We were very proud! Seeing him arrive drunk to a parents' evening at school was another highlight.

In this age of YouTube and Facebook, do you think the value of 'live' stand-up comedy is being eroded? If so, do you think viewing stand-up comedy online is fundamentally different to the live experience?

Online 'content' is probably eroding the value of real life experiences across the board, not just in comedy. It threatens to create a culture of entitlement where people expect things without having to make an effort. So they want stuff for free, and watchable without having to get out of bed. Which is a shame - so many of life's greatest experiences come from being in the moment - whether that's a stand-up gig, or a concert, or just seeing the world. It's quite rare that a recording captures the energy of a live stand-up gig. I've opened for Russell Howard over several tours, and being part of that magic was so great - walking onstage at Wembley Arena for example - it's an electric atmosphere.

What is a 'full-time' stand-up comedian's day-to-day life like? Do you gather idea for your act just as the day goes along, or do you have a more structured way of doing things?

It's mostly self-Googling. Coupled with eating, self-doubting, and stalking old crushes online. It's important to make time to sit down and write - no internet, phone off, telly off. But it's also important to feed the machine - making time to watch the world go by, keep up with the news, resent the success of your peers. I write on a number of different topical TV shows, so having a deadline and a need to be able to buy food and shoes is a good kick-starter. There's also a mountain of tawdry porn, but that's usually a treat for the end of the day.

Are you looking forward to performing in Malta? Anything in particular you look forward to while on the island?

My best mate from school did a doctoral placement in Malta and couldn't speak highly enough of the place, so I'm excited to be visiting. It's a gig that comedians say only lovely things about. I'm hoping if I'm very lucky to see a fat person falling over.

The Eden Stand-Up Comedy Night will take place on February 7 at 20:30. Steve Hall will be joined by Kim Hope, Geoff Boyz and Geoff Whiting. Tickets are at €20. Bookings: 23 710400, [email protected]  

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