Interview: Stuart Goldsmith. More Than Meets The "I"
It’s hard knowing where to start when it comes to Stuart Goldsmith. He’s a Jack of all trades. His skills range from comedian, compere, warm-up artist and actor, having worked clubs in all corners of the UK. A former street-performer (Scottish National Busking Champion and placed third in the World Busking Championships 2008), he did his first street-show at the tender age of sixteen, having learned to fire-breathe, fire juggle and walk on broken glass. More ‘safety first’ skills include hammering a nail into his nose, eating glass and juggling chainsaws. He’s even been spotted stripped down to his underwear or walking a tightrope on the streets of Edinburgh.
As a stand-up, his 2010 Edinburgh show “Stuart Goldsmith: The Reasonable Man” received positive reviews, as did his follow-up 2011 tour “Another Lovely Crisis”. Most people will remember him as the “ever so nice guy” on ITV’s show me the funny who was constantly criticised for being, well, too nice. His upcoming Edinburgh show was originally entitled “Prick”. However, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival Society have obliged him to change the “I” so that it reads Pr!ck in all official Fringe publicity materials, including brochures and even the website. So, before we crack on with the interview, here’s what Stuart had to say about the “Prickgate debacle”:
I read that you ran away to join the circus? What made you head off in that direction? Have you always had the urge to entertain people?
I am appallingly desperate to be liked. Juggling, as well as being monumentally satisfying in a way only other jugglers can understand, seemed like a good way of making people look at me. Then to make them like me I had to start talking. And, critically, stop juggling.
After the circus you went on to street performances? When did you suddenly realize, right it’s time to get behind a mic and do stand up?
I will always miss street-performing; part of me wouldn’t mind if the comedy bubble burst and I had no reason not to get back out there. Even on days off I’d be looking around a town centre and wanting to make it my bitch. In the end though, I wanted to talk about more complicated ideas than I felt a street audience would accept…
Which group of people did you find it the hardest to entertain? I honestly thought you were going to have a seriously hard time with the rugby crowd but you nailed it right from the word go when you dived straight into the rather thick necked character right in front of you. There’s definitely a fine line between having a laugh at someone’s expense and just making a fool of someone, although some people just throw that fine line right out of the window as soon as they walk on stage. What is your best heckler tactic?
Look them in the eye, and know, in your heart, that you’re wearing your girlfriend’s pants. As long as you know a secret, they can’t touch you.
You were often criticized for being too nice. I have read that some of your last act on Show Me the Funnier was actually bluer and darker than we got to see. Is this true and why do you think it was cut out in the end?
I felt I was being nudged into doing a specific bit from my 2010 Edinburgh fringe show, and I didn’t want to hand over ownership of one of my best and most personal bits of material to an editor I’d never met! I’m glad I made that decision – my stuff is still mine to do with as I please!
What would you say were the most important things you learnt from taking part in Show Me The Funny?
That if the deadline seems important enough, your work-rate can exceed your wildest expectations!
Which of the guest judges on the show were you most excited at getting to meet?
We didn’t really meet any of them sadly – though i’d have swapped the 100 grand prize money for a week’s mentoring from Johnny Vegas.
On most of these reality shows there seems to be an awful lot of bonding going on, although there was one moment when you had a bit of a fall out with Rudi (maybe more that we didn’t get to see). You even said that you were scared of him. At least you were in a hospital if anything did kick off. Do you all try to keep in touch with each other now?
We keep in touch as much as the comedy circuit allows, although I’d only met Dan once before and now I really like his act and am enjoying watching him develop as a comic. I gigged with him tonight and he had a Henry Hoover on his head, it was lovely.
What kind of gigs were you doing before Show Me The Funny and how has this served as a spring board for your career? What has being a contestant brought to the table that you never imagined you’d be doing now?
One benefit of being constantly interviewed about comedy (on the show) was that I realised just how much I enjoyed talking about the art and craft of making people laugh – something which I’m now putting into practice in my interview-based podcast “The Comedian’s Comedian”. It’s a very geeky, very specific, almost forensic look at how top comics create their work from scratch. You could say it’s the antidote to “Show Me The Funny”!
If you weren’t a comedian now, what do you think you would be doing now?
Con artist. Pretty much the same skill set, same buzz, less driving.
What have you got in store for us over the next few months?
My new solo standup show “Prick” hits the Edinburgh Festival in August. It’s my best work to date and i’m giddy with excitement. It’s an exploration of likeability, and contains one devastating act of real violence. Whilst smiling.
A few quick fire questions:
Favourite Movie: Sneakers.
Favourite book: Good Omens.
Worst Movie: Spawn.
Favourite Band: Faith No More
Worst Band: Owl City – soulless cash-in Postal Service-lite. Gaah!
Favourite Videogame: hmm… The Gears series was incredible. I’ve played 5-man Horde mode for hours. However, it’s still Portal 2. Just essential. Breathtaking!
Which rising new stand-ups would you like to see more of in the future?
My favourites among my peers are Benny Boot, Henry Paker, Mike Wozniak and Nishant Kumar. Gentlemen all.
Since you became a comic what is the joke/punchline that has gone down the worst?
Ah, got this one! Years ago I tried to get away with:
“I used to be a freestyle aerial-display tap-dancer. But I kept falling in sync”
Before the days of twitter you see – that’d probably work now!
If you had to go and live on a desert island with Kate Copstick, what three things would you take with you?
You can’t make me do this. Much as I love her, Cop and I are not designed for island-based cohabitation.
If you could present your own game show what would it entail?
I actually got to do this! I played the host/last human alive in Mission 2110 on CBBC – it was my dream job on every level!
If you want a new one though, my own idea, a live-action zombie shopping mall task-based game. Combination of Takeshi’s Castle and Shaun of the Dead.
A big thank you to Stuart for sparing us a few minutes of his precious time. Don’t forget, you can now catch his new podcast where he interviews a different comedian each time about their approach to the world of comedy. I couldn’t have thought of a better idea myself. Be sure to check those out at www.comedianscomedian.com
You can also keep up to date with all his latest news at:
We’ll leave you with a short message from Stuart himself:
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