Character comedian Rob Carter is the creator of wacky novelist Christopher Bliss, and one of the team leaders of Stand Up and Slam! a poetry and stand up comedy battle every night at Just the Tonic at the Mash House. I talked to him a bit about the making of these two crazy comedy hours.
How long have you been doing stand up? Where do find yourself deriving your comedic material from?
I started doing comedy at university in 2008. Inspiration comes from all over the place – I think once you decide to start performing comedy you always search for things that might work on stage. I’m particularly interested in characters, so if I’m stuck I just go people watching. That sounds creepy. Actually it probably is a bit creepy.
You’ve created the offbeat, inept novelist Christopher Bliss. What’s the genesis of the character? Is this type of character comedy something you’ve been at for a while?
I’ve always been interested in weird people – I used to perform a character based on maths lectures I went to at university; that’s probably the initial genesis of the character. But I’ve also drawn on some real life people that I’ve stumbled across too, and I just found that writing fiction was the best outlet for this particular oddball.
Where did you all come up for the idea for a poetry/stand up battle?
This is the artistic baby of Lucy Danser – she came up with the initial concept with a poet called Dan Simpson. She worked in comedy, he worked in poetry, and they must have been feeling competitive one day.
When you battle poetry and jokes, do you prepare your material in advance? Is it ever spontaneous?
Yes we prepare most of the material in advance – for the themes round we’re usually given 24 hours though, so have to write some new stuff for the grab-the-mic style battle round at the end. That section can get pretty loose – but spontaneity favours the comedian, since poets usually take 30 minutes over each word they write!
What, in your own opinion, is the linguistic or semantic difference between poetry and stand up?
Poetry makes you think. Comedy makes you laugh. And then think. And then laugh again and basically just have a really good time.
Rob Carter is Christopher Bliss runs until August 27th at Just the Tonic @ The Tron
Stand up & Slam! runs until August 28th at Just the Tonic @ The Mash House