Just exactly who are the Dirty White Boys, & why the hell are they so hilarious? The Mumble track’d them down for a wee blether…
Hello Jack, so where ya from and where ya at, geographically speaking?
Jack: I’m originally from the glorious north west, near Manchester; specifically the quaint little town of Rochdale, which you may recall from various unsettling news stories, but I currently live in that London. I’ve moved in with my comedy husband Chazz and we couldn’t be more like a long-time married couple – we sleep in different bedrooms and don’t talk to each other.
Hello Chazz, so when did you first realise you could make people laugh?
Chazz: Hello right back! I guess I don’t have the memory specifically, but I’ve been told on several occasions that during my Christening I farted very loudly during the quiet bit and giggled my arse off. Well, at least until they dunked me like an accused witch. Nice to know I had timing back then.
Which comedians inspire you, both old skool and on the scene today?
Chazz: Sketch has such an amazing legacy in the UK. What me and Jack do is inspired by the classic music hall (Morecambe & Wise) as much as it is by more contemporary groups (The League of Gentlemen). Also, 8 years ago I saw my favourite sketch show ever at the fringe (The Bunker by The Beta Males) and that’s definitely rubbed off on my writing style.
How did you get into stand up?
Jack: I started doing a bit of stand up whilst in the comfy supportive world of university and stopped dabbling once I left. Like many people who try being “actors” I found I had to make my own work if I wanted to perform on stage… hence sketch.
Upon which life-experiences do you draw your own comedy?
Jack: A lot of my comic ideas come from the absurdity I find in the most mundane of situations. A lot of our material is focused on either an ordinary person in a surreal scenario or a complete nutter in a perfectly relatable setting. It’s nice to be a bit bonkers without having to make a point about anything. I’m also a big fan of the darker side of jokes, creating characters on the very end of their tether is very amusing for me.
What is it about performing live you love the most?
Chazz: Instantaneous feedback and that sense of community; like you’re all sharing a secret. It’s a wonderful atmosphere and on the really good nights it’s practically electric. Can’t beat that feeling.
How did you meet Chazz?
Jack: I met Chazz in my first week at university, nearly nine whole years ago. We were auditioning for the same play and after just a few minutes of conversation I remember thinking “gosh, he’s a bit much, I hope we both don’t end up in this play together…” But we did. The rest is history.
How does living with Jack influence both your comedy & your delivery?
Chazz: Jack is beautiful grounding mechanism. Sometimes when I’m by myself it’s easy to focus on what I think the audience wants rather than what I find funny. After days of obsession with meta-narrative and theming, sometimes it’s good to have someone remind you a comedy show is supposed to have jokes. Plus, he’s the funniest bastard I’ve ever met.
What are the secrets to a good sketch?
Jack: A good sketch just needs a very strong conceit as it’s foundation or there’s not much point. We always build off a central concept and see how many different directions we can go with it; how many ideas we can pull from this one simple notion at the core of the sketch.
Where did the idea for Dirty White Boys originate?
Jack: Dirty White Boys was originally a double act comprising of Chazz and another funny friend of ours. They did some comedy gigs at uni, but when we were all thrust, most begrudgingly, into the real world, the band split. He (who cannot be named for legal reasons) went on to bigger and better things and Chazz suddenly needed a wing man for this gig he had preemptively booked the pair in for. And so, because I had nothing else going for me at the time and because everybody else refused to work with him, Chazz rang me up to fill in and I agreed. We wrote some skits, did them to a crowd of people, they laughed and our combined ego made us think we could be the new gods of sketch comedy. Look at us now.
You’re bringing MANNERS to this year’s Fringe. Can you tell us about it?
Chazz: MANNERS is our 3rd full hour, and (while it sounds presumptive and arrogant) we’re going back to basics. Non-stop sketch comedy for an hour. We exhaust one idea of comic potential and move onto the next one. No stone left unturned. And they’re really beautifully bizarre ideas this year. There’s definitely one sketch that makes a hard turn from music hall silliness into Mike Leigh film, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You guys have been doing the Fringe in various guises for a decade now – what advice do you have for a performer arriving fresh faced for their first?
Jack: My advice? Pace yourself! It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t rush into watching too many shows as they won’t all be brilliant and you can lose a lot of money that way. But when in Scotland, drink and eat as the Scots do! You might live to regret it but you’ll have a blast doing it for a month.
Can you describe in a single sentence the experience of performing at the Fringe?
Chazz: Incredible highs tempered with a lot of berocca.
You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street…
Chazz: If you want to laugh for an hour, this is the show for you. Non-stop, fast-paced, triple-distilled, hyphen-overusing silliness.