Letters of complaint become a laughing matter for Danny
Danny Bhoy once started a letter campaign to bring back beef flavoured Monster Munch. Now he’s king of the letter writers
Anyone expecting the cultural comparisons that Danny Bhoy has built his comedy acclaim upon in his upcoming show at the Arts Depot may be in for a surprise. The acts that have gained multi views on YouTube from audiences as far away as Canada are an, albeit fond, memory. “A lot of the early videos abroad are what I would consider now to be Fisher Price comedy routines. They got me a hook to get into those places. When you do stand up in a different country you have to identify yourself in a way that you don’t if you’re in the UK. You have to be a lot more digestible when you are talking to an international crowd. I had to get across the fact that I was Scottish, all those things. I had to let people know who I am.”
Bhoy’s new show is, by his own admission, a little more cerebral- something his audience- who come from Canada to Australia- can take, now they know who he is. It’s called Dear Epson- the title being based on a frustrated letter Bhoy penned to the ink maker. The show is pinned together with a pile of frustrated rants from Edinburgh-based Bhoy. “The show sort of starts with me going after the big companies and then goes towards me writing more personal letters to people in my past. People really respond well to that. None of the letters are overtly nasty, they just exist to try and find out what is happening.I think stand up is generally is quite cathartic, but these letters have helped me target specifically what gets to me. It’s a way of getting across some issues that you simply can’t get across in a normal environment. The letters help me find a middle ground with the audience. I’ve found that generally the more personal the letters are, the more the audience laugh.”
Finding the middle ground between pent-up aggression at multinational companies and humour is a ‘proper art form’ according to Bhoy. “You’ve got to find that thing that annoys you without being mean spirited, it’s just balance really.” The idea came from a ‘campaign’ Bhoy organised when he was younger- successfully bringing roast-beef flavoured Monster Munch back to the supermarket shelves.
Since his days as a temp-jobber just graduated, when, inspired by the comedy of his fellow Scot Billy Connolly, he worked office jobs in the day to support his comedy career at night, Bhoy has grown to be a multi-national comedian. “Stand up in the early days was hard graft. You don’t have time to work on your material. In the early days you’re just putting it in really. When you start stand up it’s probably a good thing to have more bad gigs than good and I didn’t let myself down in that department. The best bit of advice I got early on in stand up is that you don’t learn anything from a good gig.”
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More attracted to travel than TV appearances, Bhoy’s comedy has taken him all over the world.“I took a lot of work sometimes that was lower paid because it meant I got to travel. A lot of people were clambering to get on television. I was more interested in seeing the world and going to as many different places as possible. Its a by product of wanting to be anywhere except where I lived” Now he can do both: recently appearing on big television shows like David Letterman in the US.
Yet for him it is important that the roots of comedy, where he started, are protected- and that TV doesn’t dictate all. “I don’t want it to get to a situation where everyone is gravitating to who is on TV, and none of the audience is trickling down to the smaller acts where comedy is born.”
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It is a comfort that grass-roots comedy has got a letter-writer on it’s side.
Danny Bhoy will perform at the Arts Depot, Finchley on November 3