‘Come On Then, Make Me Laugh’: An Interview with Ed Gamble

In preparation for his headline UK Tour, Lucy Nother spoke to Ed Gamble about festivals, podcasts and what to expect from his latest string of award-winning shows.

Ed Gamble is one of the hottest names in British comedy right now. As well as an impressive back catalogue of television appearances on shows such as Mock The Week, Taskmaster and Live At The Apollo, Gamble presents a chart-topping podcast, Off Menu with James Acaster and the Radio X Sunday Morning show. But his success isn’t stopping there – he’s currently on his sixth national UK tour, and is making a stop off at Portsmouth’s Guildhall on April 2nd.

LUCY NOTHER: How’s the tour been going so far?

ED GAMBLE: It’s been absolutely bloody lovely! We’re about halfway through now. Every single show has been an absolute joy. I think being back on the road is a lot of fun, especially after two years of misery. Audiences are appreciating that as well – there’s still a novelty factor with being out seeing stuff live. It’s just insane.

We’ve definitely missed live shows! What can we expect from Electric?

A lot of stories from the last couple of years, anecdotes, and a lot of dumb observations – it’s a very silly show. I thought secretly that this might be the year that I write my big political piece, but it’s mainly about buffet breakfasts.

We all need a bit of fun with all the seriousness about.

Yeah, I think so. There are technical comics who talk about incredibly serious stuff and make it very funny. But I think with my audiences, and the sort of show I want to do, I’d quite like to help people forget about all of the crap outside, to be honest.

Have you noticed a shift in audience attitudes since the pandemic?

I think the stereotype about British audiences is that they’re a bit ‘crossed arms’. American audiences turn up expecting to laugh and to be excited. British audiences turn up and go, ‘Come on then, make me laugh.’ But I’ve not experienced any of that on this tour. It’s people who paid money for a ticket, they want a good night out, and they’ve come with an amazing attitude. It’s just been great. It might be that as I get further into my comedy career, more people are there specifically to see me, so they come with a certain expectation, which brings with it an up-for-it attitude. I can’t complain.

You’ve got yourself a fan base.

It’s an audience that I very much like, as well.  I’ve somehow curated a really fun bunch of comedy savvy people who are up for a laugh. Fingers crossed that that continues into Portsmouth.

Do you have any pre-show rituals that help you get into the zone before you go on stage?

Honestly, not at all. I try and make my onstage persona as close to my real life as possible. In the past I’d try and work myself up, get all excited before a show and have a little ritual, but now I prefer to just walk on. I’ve got a support act now, the brilliant Chloe Petts, and we just chat until I walk on. I try to make it as conversational as possible, to make it feel like the audience are with me backstage, and nothing’s really changed. So any ritual takes away from that.

Do you get nervous at all? Or is it all just kind of second nature to you now?

No, I think I’ve tried myself out of that now. There’s been so many years of doing shows that nerves aren’t really a thing anymore. I guess, some of the biggest shows or places where I’ve not been before, there’s that little bit of trepidation, but it’s more excited energy than nerves, I think.

You’ve got the Off Menu podcast, that you do with James Acaster. Do you find that podcasts and stand-up comedy have interchangeable skills?

Definitely, in terms of being able to get comedy out of most situations. I think it’s great. I love podcasting. And I love stand-up, I love both of them, but they sort of feed into each other quite a lot. In terms of just being relaxed and chatting and being funny. I think it all interlinks, but it’s certainly podcasting is laid back, it doesn’t have the same performative element. But I like I like both things equally. I’ll say that.

Do you find that you’ve managed to get some inspiration from either one for the other?

Yeah, that’s happened. It’s rarer than you think. Now, and again, you know, something will just sort of spill out where you think, ‘Oh, actually, I could probably turn that into stand up.’ But then I feel weirdly guilty about doing that. I like to keep the two things separate. Because if you say something the podcast and it’s funny, you created good content for that podcast. I don’t particularly want to scavenge, and gut that out on stage, as I feel like I’m not giving people value for money. But it has happened.

How does television compare to live comedy?

It’s different. When I used to do Mock The Week and other panel shows there’s a live audience there and you’re doing stand-up as an element of it, so that’s comparable. But, certainly when you’re on a panel just bantering, it is different. It’s a bit more of a sanitised atmosphere because they need to make sure they get it all on camera. Whereas live, anything could happen. You don’t have to retake or anything like that, so they’re very different things. But I’d like doing telly. If you do well on telly, you sell more tickets to your shows, so that’s the main aim.

I know you love your music – I caught your set at Download Festival in 2019.

There’s a massive story about that gig in Electric. You’ll get to see from my perspective how I felt that gig.

Have you managed to catch much live music recently?

Almost none actually, I’ve not been to a gig in years, which is a real shame. But I’ve got I’ve got a few things booked in, which I’m very excited about. I’m going to a couple of festivals this year, which will be great fun. It’s very exciting to be able to see bands again.

Is there a difference in energies at festival shows and comedy shows?

Yeah definitely. Certainly with Download or any sort of rock festival, they’re an audience who are there for rock or metal music, so they tend to be slightly rowdier. And I love that energy! For any sort of music festival, the comedy tends to be a bit of a sideshow. So it’s harder to get people on board. People are stood up milling around in a tent where you’re definitely a secondary attraction. But I don’t mind that. I mean, the good thing about doing festivals is the free ticket to the festival. It’s the dream, really.

You’ll be at the Portsmouth Guildhall on the 2nd of April. Have you played there before?

No, never played the Guildhall before. I’ve not done Portsmouth for a while, actually. I don’t think I’ve played Portsmouth on a tour before. So it’ll be nice to do my own show there. Beforehand I have only ever done mix-bill club nights. So now looking forward to it! I’ve done a night in the spinnaker tower. My grandparents used to live very near Portsmouth, so I know it well, just never done a tour show there. I’m looking forward to it! Hopefully I’ll get a little time to poke around Portsmouth whilst I’m there.


You can catch Ed at the Portsmouth Guildhall on April 2nd, on Radio X every Sunday Morning, and on Off Menu available from all major streaming services. Tickets are available from edgamble.co.uk. Image courtesy of Avalon Entertainment.