Theatre maker Gary McNair has always worked with humour in his pieces. It’s been used to illuminate topics from our relationship to money (Crunch) to his shifting thoughts on the notion of apocalypse (How Soon Is Nigh) to the flawed nature of voting systems (Count Me In). It only seemed natural that, at some point, he would turn his wry, analytical eye at humour itself.
Donald Robertson Is Not A Stand-Up Comedian is the result of intensive, broad reaching, dedicated research into stand-up comedy (it’s a dirty job… etc). Gary’s Chuckle Hut, a pop up comedy club Gary is hosting as part of the festival, is the audience’s chance to put their own intensive and dedicated research to the test – an open space where people can try out ideas and face their fears.
Where did the idea for your Auteurs Project work come from?
It came from a sort of frustration that my work in the theatre is often compared to that of a standup comedian. Obviously I can see why people make the comparison because I’m utterly hilarious, but I think that they’re two completely different disciplines – one of which I have very little understanding of. So, when given the chance to investigate the form of my work, I set off on a journey to find and challenge the links between theatre and standup.
What’s been the highlight of your development process?
Going to the New York Comedy Festival at the end of last year – I learned a lot in a really short time. Whilst there I wrote seven jokes, none of which were found funny by Americans.
Who would be your perfect theatrical collaborator dead or alive?
For this show I’d have loved to have had Lenny Bruce in the room (not dead).
Describe your piece in three words:
Humour is social.