Interview with comedian Garrett Millerick

"It’s a big and interesting topic, but I suspect you’re asking if I think you should be able to keep a Netflix deal after getting your old lad out in a dressing room? Which isn’t as interesting or nuanced a topic."

Interview with comedian Garrett Millerick

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

I’m a stand-up comedian. My name is Garrett. I’m doing a show at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August. It’s called ‘Just Trying to Help’.

How would you describe your show?

It’s about what goes wrong when people have the best of intentions but attack a problem with too much force. People who are just trying to help often do the most harm. So, it’s a call for calm, delivered at one hundred miles an hour by a man who is rarely calm.

Why do you want to perform at Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

Well, I’ve been locked inside for a few years, an outing at a massive arts festival seemed a reasonable way to blow off the cobwebs.

What differentiates it from other festivals?

It’s not really like a festival. Actually it has almost nothing in common with anything else that calls itself a festival. It’s like if Glastonbury was held in Bristol, took over every bar, restaurant, shop and hotel. And lasted a month.

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

I was directing a play, and life wasn’t going my way at the time. I wanted to find a way of telling a story that didn’t require the mobilisation of many elements and people, as had been the case with theatre. I was reading Stewart Lee’s book and he said one of the things about stand-up that made it so special was that there was just you, a mic and an audience. And the possibilities were endless. So I thought that seemed worth a bash.

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

There’s definitely something there about being from two places and not really feeling like you belong anywhere. An outsider’s perspective is a useful position to come from when passing comment on things.

What is your earliest childhood art memory?

Being given a copy of Ghostbusters on VHS by my Mum’s friend Anna who worked at the local video rental shop. I still have it. 

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

I genuinely have no idea. I don’t think I could do great work if I had a back-up plan. Which is just as well as I’m qualified to do absolutely nothing.

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

Well, I’d never stopped, so coming back I had to re-learn how to write stand-up. Which isn’t something you can do in isolation; it takes place with a crowd. So, remove the crowd and you just have ideas, notes and half jokes. Working out how to take an idea into a fully formed routine was something I had to retrace my steps on. I did an autopsy on a few of my old shows, really got into the guts to see how I’d done it. Luckily, I’d kept all the notes and recordings of every preview. So it was possible to wake up from this Covid coma and teach myself how to be me again. Well, I think it was. We won’t know till this show is finished (I am answering this questions loooong before Fringe!). But all indications are that I’m doing a decent enough impression of myself. 

Describe the last year in 5 words or less?

In transit, missing my daughter

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

That’s a big topic, and there isn’t a huge amount of nuance in the question. Art has always been subject to cancel culture, it’s one of the first things that gets attacked in waves of social change. We could debate the merits and demerits of that endlessly. Do I understand why the Calvinists whitewashed the frescos of the Oude Kerk? Yes, but I’d love to have seen them. I’d love to read the original works of Plato from the Library of Alexandria or gaze upon the majesty of the Buddhas of The Bamiyan Valley. It’s a big and interesting topic, but I suspect you’re asking if I think you should be able to keep a Netflix deal after getting your old lad out in a dressing room? Which isn’t as interesting or nuanced a topic. 

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

The current head of comedy at the BBC. Me and the wife are discussing having more children and we need a bigger house.

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

Don’t form a skiffle band, this is the age of Rock and Roll. Get a TikTok account. 

When and where can people see your show?

Monkey Barrel. 18.25. 2nd-29th August.

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

@millerickcomedy 


Garrett Millerick: Just Trying To Help, Monkey Barrell Comedy (4), 6.25pm, 2-28 August (not 16). For tickets, visit: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/garrett-millerick-just-trying-to-help 

Header Image Credit: Ed Moore

Author

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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