Halling A Laugh

Halling A Laugh

Next month sees funny man Hal Cruttenden visit Tunbridge Wells to dazzle audiences with his comical outlook on life, death and everything in-between.

Fleur McCoy chats exclusively to him about his experiences of the comedy circuit.

What can the audience expect from the tour?

Well, the show’s called Straight Outta Cruttenden because it’s me trying to be a tough talking gangster. I’m joking, it’s named after an album – Straight Outta Compton by N.W.A. It’s an angrier show than usual. I’m quite excited about this
show actually; even if I get bad reviewsI don’t care because I really like this show!

And what are you expecting from the Tunbridge Wells crowd?

I always think I’m a bit edgy and then I go to places like Tunbridge Wells and they really are my people. I’ve always got a tick against the fact that I’m a stuffy old typical Royal Tunbridge Wells person. I love Tunbridge Wells, they know what people think of them and they take abuse very well because they’re used to people laughing at the fact that they represent some archetype. These are the best places to play because they’re used to people laughing at them and I’m that sort of person. I’m sort of a lefty hypocrite, I believe in a left-wing society as long as I retain the value of my house and keep my nice car!

You’ve done a lot of comedy panel shows and guest appearances on TV, do you prefer that or the touring side of comedy?

Our main love is that live gig – doing comedy live with an audience in front of you. TV is fun but it’s not as much fun as stand up. As comics we love people because they’ve given you their time; you have your duty to entertain them. I think that’s why we have trouble when we come home thinking, ‘I’m a god, I’m a star’ and our wives ask us to take out the garbage and all I can think is ‘but you don’t understand, I’m a genius!’

Do you still get nervous before a gig?

Not as much for tour shows, weirdly, because even though the pressure is on and it’s your show, you’ve got a long time and you get to know your audience and you know that they already like you because they’ve come to see you. But anything big like Live at the Apollo that’s going to get repeated and end up on YouTube is nerve-racking. If you do it well, it really makes an impact. I get so nervous before a TV gig like that that I think ‘this is completely ridiculous, you’re in the wrong job.’

Who’s your favourite comedian?

Lee Mac is a brilliant stand up. He’s the Eric Morecambe of his generation, one of the true greats. I sort of have an appreciation of everybody. I tend to like comics that aren’t like me because I’m less jealous of them. I love Jimmy Carr, I love short one-liners that are really brutal because I don’t do them.

See Hal at the Trinity Theatre on Friday October 2. Tickets cost from £15.50. www.trinitytheatre.net