Ricky Gervais favourite Adam Bloom: ‘It’s beautiful being a comic’s comedian’

Comedian Adam Bloom. Picture: Andy Hollingworth

Comedian Adam Bloom. Picture: Andy Hollingworth - Credit: Archant

Adam Bloom is a comic’s comic, once named by Ricky Gervais as his “favourite comedian”. A regular at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival who made three series of his own Radio 4 show, he spoke to Imogen Blake ahead of his headline gig at the launch night of Camden’s Just the Tonic comedy club on May 28 in Camden Lock – what was Camden Jongleurs.

Are you excited to be part of the relaunched Just the Tonic club line-up?

Darrell [Martin, club owner] is a very old friend. He gave me my first ever £100 gig. It was in Nottingham in 1995 and I can remember watching him count out each of the ten tenners into my hand and thinking ‘This is amazing’. Now, that’s how much it costs to get to Nottingham and back if you include cabs to and from the station, dinner and a prostitute.

I have unbelievably good memories of the club. When that room is packed, it’s incredible. I’m getting quite emotional thinking about it. Darrell will do wonders to that room with regard to bills and audience numbers.

Are comedy clubs still relevant in an age where you can watch stand up on demand, and on social media?

Yes, very much so because TV almost inevitably edits it down to just the material. Plus, sitting in an audience makes you feel part of the event, the performer could talk to you at any moment and any member of the audience could heckle with something that provokes magic or even respond to a question from the comedian that causes something wonderful to happen.

How is performing at a club different to one of your solo shows? Does it make for better or worse comedy?

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It makes you more robust because you have to learn to cope with following someone who’s just absolutely stormed it. One man shows allow you to set the pace yourself, which makes dropping the ball much harder. However, one man shows allow you to take the audience into more interesting, unexplored areas and that makes for more original comedy. Taking huge artistic risks in a club is an amazing feeling, but you risk losing the audience if the metronome has already been set very fast.

How would you describe your comedy to someone who has never seen you live before?

It’s a bit like asking a model why they’re beautiful, it won’t make them come out sounding very good. I have ideas and I run with them. Even if I’m telling a story, it’s still full of thoughts that I’ve had. So, I don’t make observations and I don’t tell jokes.

You’ve been called a comic’s comic... what do you think of that label?

I love it. It only has negative aspects if you’re the type of comedian who is only appreciated by other comedians and, even then, it’s a beautiful thing. I really like hearing comedians like what I do because they’re the people who truly know comedy. If TV producers knew anything about comedy, they’d still be doing it.

Ricky Gervais has called you his favourite comedian, what does that mean to you?

You can boast about it on posters. Ricky Gervais once gave Stewart Lee pretty much the best quote possible and Stuart said to me that it was selling more tickets for his live shows than all Stewart’s TV work put together.

What made you want to be a comedian?

I was always making my friends and family laugh, even at four years old. At nine, I clearly remember making my Mum and her friend laugh and thinking ‘I know I’ll be a comedian one day’. Thank God I was right or that would’ve been one deluded kid.

Do you have any north London links?

No, and you’re the second person in the last 24 hours to made that stereotypical assumption. I’m only half Jewish and therefore live a bit further south. I know, ‘you’re either Jewish or you’re not’. So, I’m not and therefore live a bit further south.

Are there plans for series 4 of The Problem with Adam Bloom on Radio 4?

No, but 11 years on could be interesting as so much has happened to my life since the third series.

What’s next for you?

I’ve written a hip-hop sitcom (my other passion) and am waiting for the powers that be to tell me if it’s any good.