We first saw Caroline Clifford in the final of the Amused Moose new act competition at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, and hers was the best 7 minutes we'd heard all festival. She was also a finalist at So You Think You're Funny 2006. As well as standing up, she draws cartoons.
How are you?
I’m well thanks – I have a slight pain in my left buttock, I don’t *think* it’s cancer although I remember having it once before. I don’t think buttock cancer is very serious.
Why did you decide to be a stand up?
Well I guess I had run out of creative things to try it seemed like a good idea. I went on some great comedy course and that helped me along as well. I have always liked comedy a lot & when you like something enough you tend to want to be a part of it – like I was in a band for a while because I really liked music. Maybe that’s all that’s happened with all these terrorists – they just REALLY REALLY like Islam, they have all the stickers & everything & just thought “what next?”. Do you want to start my car? I don’t have a car.
Some of your material is very dark. Do you ever feel that the audience think that you’ve gone too far?
Hell yeahhhh, all the time! Particularly when I play very commuter belt places where they live in what seems like isolation from the real world. I’m not just saying this cause this is a London themed publication but I’d rather play in London than anywhere else – people here are much more open minded, and sick.
Is there anything that a comedian shouldn’t joke about?
NO, no way – people should be able to joke about whatever they want! Aprat from maybe speed dating that is really lame. But who has the right to say what people can and can’t talk about – what is ‘too sick?’ nah – laughter heals all – apart from maybe cancer, then you should really get chemo.
Which do you prefer – stand up or creating comic strips?
Pretty pretty interesting. Hmm, I think I can express myself much better in cartoons trips, so to me a good cartoon strip is better than a good joke. A joke you have to tell again & again to keep it alive & a cartoon strip just exists. Ohh I like that. BUT, even at the crappy level I draw at – comic strips are really time consuming. I like to spend as much time as possible doing nothing, so a strip does interfere with that. I hardly work on my stand-up at all. I guess the reason I went into stand-up is for all the attention, you can never get the same attention being a comic book artist.
Stand up comedy is an occupation currently dominated by men. Why do you think this is? Do you think it’s tougher for a woman on today’s circuit?
Yeah well so is F1 & boxing. Ballet & singing are dominated by women. What can I say?? More boys than girls like doing comedy it’s just one of those things. I guess having a good sense of humour is generally more important for a man than a woman, I’m sure more women would list ‘having a sense of humour’ in their ideal partner lists than women so lo! Loads of men want to be funny. It’s tough to be a comedian if you are crap, plain and simple. It has nothing to do with if you are a boy or a girl. Yeah maybe when you start SOME people won’t give girls as much of a chance but it’s best just to transcend all of that.
When you tell people that you're a comedian and they say "Tell me a joke then", how do you respond?
Haha – wait, you’ll love this this is great:
“What did the wanker say to the comedian?.... TELL US A JOKE!!!”
Hahahaha – see that’s great. Nobody else is allowed to use it.
Best gig ever?
I did a gig in Wesbourne Park once & we got free peanuts.
Worst gig ever?
Oooo I did this gig in Stratford once, it ended with half the audience stood on the tables chanting “You’re shiiite! You’re shiiiite!”
What do you think of London’s comedy circuit?
Well it’s bound to be the best in the world. There are SO many clubs here it’s unreal, this can have a negative effect in a way because the scene is diluted & many of the clubs are of a poor quality & are badly run. But you can potentially perform every night of the week & that has to be a good thing. Yeah, it’s the best.
What comedy clubs would you recommend to Londonist readers?
Oh easy: Sunday Night Adventure Club, The Book Club, Happy Mondays, The 99 Club, Pearshaped, The Queens Head & The OK Club. But the best club in London HAS to be Toksvig’s @ Old Blue Last – Shoreditch which has it’s opening on January 14th and I’m hardly involved in organising it at all.
Best things about London?
Ah this has to be The Mess Café in Hackney. It serves the finest range of hangover cure food ever, smoothies, the best coffee ever & simply fantastic eggs.
Worst things about London?
Guess all the rubbish everywhere. People don’t care where they put their litter at all & it seems like we are years away from any proper recycling. Makes me want to wander round half naked with a tear forming in the corner of my eye.
If Caroline Clifford was Mayor of London…
I’d put the congestion charge up to £100 & replace the roads with cycle paths although everyone would have to get out of my way when I came by on my bike & everyone would have to say “Nice bike mayor!”
Have you ever been sick on the tube?
Have I !?? I knew I was going to be sick too so I got a carrier bag before I went on the tube. I thought I was so cool – when the vom came, I discreetly put it all in my bag and looked around almost smugly. It was only when I got off the train that I noticed I had missed the bag completely and has been sick all down my duffel coat, really gross.
What advice would you give someone new to London getting on a nightbus for the first time?
I really don’t get how nightbuses are so dangerous, I get them all the time and I’ve hardly been stabbed at all. I’d say, if someone starts playing dreadful music from their phone, get your phone out & start playing The Smiths or something good and see how they react! I did that once but they couldn’t hear it, I assume your readers have a better phone than mine.
Sum up London in one word…