Interview with comedian Ali Woods

"I work part-time at a PR firm, and although it might not be wise for me to share that in terms of my career, I think it’s important to reduce the stigma around having day jobs in the arts."

Interview with comedian Ali Woods

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

My name’s Ali, I’m a half-English, half-Scottish comedian who does stand-up and online comedy sketches! I’ve won Hackney Empire New Comedian of the Year and supported Russell Kane on tour. My sketches have got millions of views and likes, and I also have my own podcast All I Do Is Fail.

Basically, I’m trying to say that I’m alright!

How would you describe your show?

Funny, honest and energetic. Lots of punchlines covering some serious themes about mental health and friendship.

Why do you want to perform at Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

It’s been a dream of mine for years! The Fringe is just where all the great comics seemed to be, and it’s exciting to be up there amongst them.

I think there are still a lot of eyes on it from an industry perspective, and also it’s so great to be inspired while I’m up there by the other wonderful crazy acts I wouldn’t normally see on the UK club circuit.

What differentiates it from other festivals?

The size is the main thing. There’s just something for everyone there and it attracts an unbelievable amount of performers.

Also the accessibility to haggis, neeps and tatties.

What first motivated you to enter the industry? Who were your inspirations?

I always wanted to be funny from a young age, but I didn’t think I would be able to make it a profession. It was actually watching bad comedians that made me think I could do it! I thought, they’re rubbish but they’re brave enough to do it, and I’m sitting here like a coward. So I decided to give it a go.

Growing up I used to watch all the British panel shows as well as Live At The Apollo. I loved Bill Bailey, Dara O’Brien, Sean Locke, they just seemed so funny in such a relaxed way.

How has your background, upbringing and education had an impact on your artistic career?

There are no performers in my family, although my Dad always liked making jokes. I know, unusual for a Dad!

But both my parents are very hard workers so that definitely plays into my work ethic when it comes to comedy. I don’t believe you can just sit on your arse and expect good things to happen in your career, you have to get your head down and earn it.

What is your earliest childhood art memory?

I remember being a sheep in the school nursery! Damn I stole the show. They said there was no better bleater than me. Well not with their mouths, but I could see it in the eyes of all the parents. Enthralled.

If you didn’t have your current job, what would you probably be doing?

I will say I do have a current job! I work part-time at a PR firm, and although it might not be wise for me to share that in terms of my career, I think it’s important to reduce the stigma around having day jobs in the arts.

You don’t earn enough for ages and ages to survive just doing stand-up comedy, and if you’re not able to stay at home with your parents supporting you, you need a day job to live. I would encourage everyone, if you like a new stand-up, try to support them financially through their patreon, buying tickets to their shows, whatever it is, because we really need that.

Did Covid-19 change the way you create work? Do you approach shows with a different mentality now?

It encouraged me to do comedy videos online and that has been really helpful for me as another creative outlet and a way to connect with new fans. Online comedy is more important and relevant than ever, and the pandemic certainly helped me to realise that!

Describe the last year in 5 words or less?

Great to be free again.

Do you subscribe to the idea that art should be exempt from ‘cancel culture’?

I don’t really believe in cancel culture. There's an accountability culture, and there’s saying things that will lose you fans, but the idea of people actually getting canceled for a joke or opinion I don’t think is happening.

The latest grammy for best comedy album just went to a comedian who is supposedly canceled.

If you could work with anybody, from any point in history, who would you pick and why?

Sir Alex Ferguson! I don’t care that he’s not in comedy, I just admire him so much, and a lot of my philosophy is based around the ethos of his Manchester United team.

He could be my manager, we could be a double act, don’t care, I just want to hang out with him.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to take a show up to the fringe?

Have it clear in your head why you’re doing it. The idea of taking up a show and being ‘discovered at the fringe’ becomes less and less likely each year, so I think it’s good to know what you want to get out of it outside of that.

Do you want to get an agent? Reviewed? Make contacts? Just get better at stand-up?

It’s SUPER expensive so you have to make sure you’re getting something out of it, otherwise you’re just gambling.

When and where can people see your show?

5:25pm, at The Clover Room in Underbelly Bristo Square.

Every day except for the 15th!

And where can people find, follow and like you online?

Everything is under the handle @aliwoodsgigs - check me out, I do regular comedy sketches!

See Ali Woods: Best Friend Ever at the Underbelly during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 3-28 August. For more information and tickets visit or

Header Image Credit: Steve Ullathorne


Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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