Interview By Tom Fair
Transcribed by Louise Roberts and edited by Emma Towers
Yorkshire comedian Scott Bennett’s will be performed ‘Relax’ on 6th February at Peter Pizzeria and again on 20th February at The Cosy Club, Leicester and a work-in-progress show at The Cookie on 23rd February. His previous show, ‘Leap Year’, was nominated for ‘Best Show’ at the Leicester Comedy Festival.
Tom Fair: Hello, this is Tom Fair with Demon Media on with Scott Bennett, how you doing?
Scott Bennett: I’m good thank you.
T: Doing good. So, you’ve got a work-in-progress show going on at Peter’s Pizzeria.
S: The one at Peter’s Pizzeria isn’t a work-in-progress. The show at The Cookie is the work-in-progress [show].
T: What’s that one all about then?
S: I’ve written neither. The first show, that’s the one I know roughly what’s gonna happen. The premise for that is that I’ve realised that I’m 40 and I’ve got no idea how to wind down. And I’ve no idea how to relax. And no matter how much I try; I feel like life sort of conspires against me.
S: And I thought I was alone, but I’ve spoken to people and I think no one knows how to anymore. I think because we’ve got constant inputs and stimulation, no one has any downtime anymore. So, that’s the principal of the show. It’s basically a lot of observational stuff with a little bit of a message at the end. Hopefully.
S: [The show at The Cookie] It’s just gonna be bits that I’m trying out so that one could be arduous for everyone [laughs].
T: Arduous. I’ll warn everyone, don’t worry.
S: You know, I might call it ‘Arduous’. I might call it ‘Testing the Patience’ but that one’s free so I feel less guilty about that.
T: So, this show then is about stress, have you got any advice for students in this scary, fast-moving world?
S: Oh, God. I’m the worst person to ask, ‘cause I’m a fully diagnosed stress-head. So, I don’t genuinely know what the secret is. I think the secret is – without giving away the end of the show – finding what you did as a kid that made you happy, as that usually is what makes you happy as an adult. And I think connecting to that is the secret to relaxation, ‘cause I think that’s totally taking a headspace that is protected. I’ve got two kids and I build Lego with them and it’s like I’m pretending to be a parent, but really, it’s for me.
S: So, they’ve gone to bed and I’m still Lego-ing and I think that sort of genuinely a nice little place to be. I think that’s the key really. I think that’s finding something that you enjoy. And when you become an adult, you give up on stuff that would be perfectly acceptable to do when you’re older.
S: And I think that’s what’s missing really, y’know?
T: I do miss my Legos.
S: You see! I’m gonna get you into doing that now.
T: I had a little Millennium Falcon.
S: And now I’ve put the little seed in there, you can go and buy some Lego. You can! There’s no age limit on Lego.
T: They’re bloody expensive though.
S: But that’s the point, once you’ve got a job you can afford to buy Lego. You can’t eat, but you can buy Lego instead! And I think it’s sort of inspired by my kids really – I’ve got a 9 and a 3-year-old – the 3-year-old is probably the best age to be. It’s like complete freedom, and I think you get that kicked out of you as life goes on, y’know?
T: You start to care more. ‘Ooh, everyone else is looking.’
S: Everyone should have a day as a toddler, or something. Just live like a toddler, or you know, you have these escape rooms.
S: They should have like, ‘The Toddler Room’ where you go and just go feral for an hour.
T: They’ve got that in Japan haven’t they? Like, people dress-up as babies.
T: And they get to crawl around and like play with little toys and stuff.
S: I might go to Japan then; just paint on the walls with your hands and stuff.
T: Yeah! You can do whatever you like in there.
S: Ant then just go back to work [laughs]. Just have a wash, go back to the office, take the nappy off. Or keep the nappy on, whatever. More productive if you haven’t got to go to the toilet. But yeah that’s the basis for that show, and then the other one is just like I said, bits and bobs, that I haven’t got any idea what that’s gonna be yet.
T: Cool. So, I was doing my required reading on you.
S: Required reading. That sounds like a task.
T: Mm! But everything I read was like, ‘you’re a Yorkshire this’ and ‘you’re a Northern that.’ Is that, like a big part of your comedy? Or is this whole regional comedy thing, not a thing anymore?
S: Not really. I think people describe you as that as they are grasping for adjectives. I don’t mind it. I mean, when I started that was a lot of the comedy but now it’s not. It’s talking about family and issues – not so much issues, but things that affect me – and parenting. Just because I’ve got a Northern accent, doesn’t change any of that.
S: I think it’s one of those things where people feel the need to pigeonhole you, which is a bit weird. It’s more to do with people who write about comedy than people who go and watch comedy.
T: I suppose a lot of them are based in London and have got to go ‘hey, this man’s travelling here.’
S: Yeah. The only thing I would say is, I get compared to people like Bishop and Peter Kay and Manford, but it’s not a bad group to be in. Sometimes, the only sort of bug bear I’ve got is that I think critics and reviewers just sort of switch off and pigeonhole what you’re saying just ‘cause it’s a Northern thing – like there’s a simplicity to it but there isn’t and you can still talk about anything. But just ‘cause you’re Northerner doesn’t mean that you’re I’m just happy to be out of the tin bath or something.
S: You know what I mean? It’s like I’m there on a government grant for gravy or something.
T: [laughs] Fresh out the mind!
S: Yeah I don’t believe in regional comedy for audiences, but I do believe there’s a regional thing within the industry that people like that sort of thing. But I think we should actually ask the Northern audience, or any audience. I’m sure people from the North go to see Micky Flanagan, and I’m sure people from the South go to see Jason Manford. I think audiences think very differently to the comedy industry. Well, that’s what I think, and I think that’s great ‘cause that’s essentially who’s gonna pay your bills at the end of the day.
T: So, one last question for you then. Would you rather turn into a jelly fish for a random 2 minutes every day, or into a jellyfish at a set time for 2 hours every day?
S: Good God! This is the sort of question you get at a job interview and this is where it all falls apart! These sorts of things are meant to show how good I am at thinking on the spot.
S: But then all I can think about at the moment is filth, the jellyfish and the golden showers. I don’t know why I’ve gone down that route.
T: I don’t know why you’ve gone down that route either! [laughs]
S: But I don’t know why that’s the first thing I think of. I think a random 2 minutes every day.
T: Bit more excitement for your life?
S: I think yeah because as well if you could time it like, if your daughter’s got a ballet recital that you’ve got to go to or something and then bang! That is the perfect alibi just saying, ‘Daddy’s a jellyfish, you can’t bring a jellyfish to a ballet recital.’
T: ‘Sorry your dad’s fallen down the toilet, he can’t come.’
S: ‘Your dads washed up on Scarborough beach somewhere,’ and I think that genuinely is the only excuse that would be acceptable.
T: Oh, well you can’t question it.
S: I know I can’t question turning into a jellyfish. And sometimes, sitting in the dark watching the ballet recital waiting for death to take me, I would take the jellyfish. I’d take any plankton or coral. I’d take coral. I’d take anything, anything mate, to get out of that.
T: [laughs] Well you’ve heard it here first, thanks Scott.
S: Thank you, cheers.