Interview : Tim Fitzhigham, Eco-comedian

By Londonist_ben Last edited 146 months ago
Interview : Tim Fitzhigham, Eco-comedian

Back in November, we went down to Trafalgar Square to see comedian Tim Fitzhigham blow up the world's largest ever man-inflated balloon to raise awareness about carbon emissions from aviation.

It might be so 2006 now ("the environment? that was so last year") but we asked him a few questions about the stunt,

Hello! How are you?

I'm very well thank you for asking

How long were you blowing for?

It turned out that we had done our calculations based on the lung capacity of a drowning man coming up for his last breath so our figures were way off - a small slip in the size of one breath times by the 6620 breaths that I eventually took to blow the thing up meant that rather than take me a morning to blow up it actually took me the whole day and as sun set I realised that the balloon was full, I was empty and it was dark.

How many times did you pass out?

Just twice. I was trying to work out how many breaths I could take before I'd pass out and just as I got to what I thought might be the point at which I'd pass out I came round and found it was one breath before that. It got easier throughout the day and by the end I could breath out more times than before without taking a break.

You're a loony aren't you?

It all makes sense to me but I accept that it's perhaps not normal. The issue we were trying to highlight is a serious one - each time you go on a plane the plane emits that amount of carbon per person for every ten minutes you're in the air. It's the world's largest balloon and it took me all day to inflate but we could have inflated it with just one person's carbon emissions from just ten minutes of flying time. When you think that there are normally something like two million people in the air at any one time of the day and carbon emissions are choking the world, it becomes a bit scary.

There was a bikini model at your record attempt - a bit superfluous? It was raining, the poor girl could have caught her death.

Yes I'm not sure where she came from. Early in the day one of the news readers got confused and said it was a record attempt for the world's largest blow job - perhaps she heard that, got confused and took her clothes off? She seemed like a very nice person, perhaps she just stopped off on her way to the bikini show in Parliament (Ann Widdecombe hosts them I hear), or perhaps she was just there to be supportive. Either way it was nice to see everyone that came down, whatever they were wearing - thanks for the support.

Beard. Impressive. How long did that badboy take you?

You're very kind. My beard has gone shy and turned red with embarrassment. I'd been living in a cave in the desert in the Spanish plains of La Mancha (for details see his website) and there wasn't much shaving equipment so it just sort of grew it and out of sheer laziness (no pun intended) I just sort of left it, I suppose it arrived over a couple of months.

Any plans for future record breaking attempts?

I wake up with a new one every day - even I accept that's not normal - it's probably something to do with careful in-breeding. I'm sure I'll have a go at something.

You mentioned that the balloon would hold 19,000 pints of beer. Perhaps you could try and drink 19,000 pints of premium strength lager for your next record attempt?


What does being the Commodore of Sudbury Quay involve?

It means I'm in charge of the country's only land locked port. Normally Commodores are in charge of the safe passage of large ocean going vessels but to be honest my main problem in Sudbury is car parking. It means I can fly my own flag when I'm at sea and wear a nice sparkly

hat. There's an old family motto which translates as "What's the use of any job if it doesn't come with a sparkly hat?"

If you could give Ken Livingstone one piece of advice, what would it be?

Drink more coffee - might pep him up a bit - give him some charisma - "Living stone by name..."

You can listen to Tim co-presenting 'Through the night with Charlene White' on BBC Radio London every Sunday morning, 2 til 6am. He has also been working on a new series on ITV2 called 'Comedy Cuts' which begins this Thursday at 10.55pm. If you would like to see Tim in the flesh and perhaps even stroke his beard (we're sure he won't mind) between 15th February and 29th March you can see him from midnight every Thursday night at Maxwell's Full Mooners at the Comedy Store. See his website for further details.

Last Updated 16 January 2007