Scott Bennett – Comedy
Scott Bennett is very funny. I mean, VERY funny. His live act is in turns hilarious, side-splitting and wet-yourself laughing funny. Yet it also has a real warmth to it, a fondness for the everyday absurdities. He is also something of an expert on carveries. A handy man to have around on a Sunday Afternoon spent in a Toby Carvery.
Tell us a little bit about how you got into stand-up.
I started stand up in 2009, after thinking about it on and off for 5 years. I have always had a love for comedy, for me its been more important than music. I have such happy memories of seeing Blackadder for the first time or discovering the brilliant madness of Chris Morris (Brass Eye, Day Today). I never thought i could do stand up (some people may still share that view but after seeing Harry Hill in a tiny club in Leeds in 1994, I was fascinated by it. It was the one creative art form you could just get up and do, I could never play an instrument, (unless you count appalling guitar) never did amateur dramatics, but after witnessing that gig I knew it was something special. The way he commanded the room was breath-taking, the rhythm of the jokes, the way he played off the audience, they way he controlled the energy and pace of the performance; it was like a conductor with an orchestra, I was blown away. I started writing in 2008, but never had the courage to actually do it until October 31st 2009, Halloween. I signed up to do a Funhouse Comedy Gong show. A gladiatorial comedy royal rumble, where acts compete in an x-factor style stand up competition, where the audience decides your fate. It’s a great chance for new acts to get stage time and learn how to write punchy, well delivered material that engages and immediately appeals to an audience. This was my first time on stage and amazingly I won. Many miles of travelling and after many open spots (unpaid spots where you get to hone your craft) 5 years of service stations, Ginsters pasties and several Gallons of Red Bull later and I have made my way onto paid spots at many of the big comedy clubs across the country.
Has living in Beeston influenced your work at all?
Well it’s where my wife lives! She was also born here and has always been a big part of my material (which she is obviously thrilled about). Beeston is a great place to be based, its easy to get to gigs and has great train links, I have also had a lot of thinking time to mull over new material, whilst sitting in temporary traffic lights in the middle of our unfinished tram works. We love to walk into Beeston on a Saturday morning, coffee and a cake, I’ll often end up in the charity shops buying albums from the Britpop era to try and relive my youth and then bore my wife and daughter to tears moaning about the state of modern music.
What has been your career highlight so far?
Being selected for the prestigious Big Value Showcase at the Edinburgh Fringe. In the past this show has featured some of my comedy heroes, Micky Flanagan, Jason Manford and Sarah Millican and it was a real honour to be chosen to perform in that show. In June 2014 I was the runner up in the English Comedian of the year competition, a national stand up comedy contest, the final of which was at the udderbelly on Londons’ Southbank.
You’ve got what some might call a worrying fascination with maximising carvery visits (I still have your business card, and have applied the tips on subsequent visits) . Is this linked to an earlier carvery trauma, perhaps a childhood cheating out of sufficient roast spuds when at a Toby Carvery? Do you feel inclined to share?
It all stems from my dad. He’s a typical Yorkshireman, obsessed with bargains and is on a quest to get maximum value for money. My mum always said he wanted twins, just because its a two for one deal. Growing up around a man like my dad was never dull, his knowledge of money saving loopholes knew no bounds. He has lived in Yorkshire for 30 years and he couldn’t tell you the best restaurants, he couldn’t name a single cultural landmark, but he can give you a list of all the local petrol stations that still offer free air. The carvery visits routine was inspired by real events. We were stood in the queue and my dad turned round to me and said, “now remember son, when you load your plate, never start with Broccoli as a base layer” For him a carvery isn’t a meal, it’s a challenge. My dad is the expert here, he’s like a Jedi Master, we call him Tobi-Wan-Kenobi. The guy at the counter then asked him, “what meat would you like sir, Beef, Pork or Lamb?” my dad’s reply? “yes please”. He then proceeded to scientifically load his plate, pushing parsnips into the mash potato and cramming new potatoes around the mash like a dry stone wall. Struggling back to his seat he could barely carry his dinner; it was incredible. I said to him recently that at many carvery’s you can make more than one visit you don’t have to look so greedy. He said that this isn’t the point, its not like the army, no one is going back for a fallen comrade (or carrot in this case), the challenge is to do it in one go…..unbelievable.
Who are your comedy heroes?
So many, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett, Chris Morris, Harry Hill, Louis CK, Sean Lock, Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, Tommy Cooper, Les Dawson, Jerry Sadowitz, Vic and Bob, Steve Coogan and more I can’t remember.
What are your plans for the future?
I am returning to the Edinburgh Fringe this summer to perform my debut hour solo show, “About a Roy” a compilation of funny stories, jokes and madness all about my dad. I am also performing it an the Leicester Comedy Festival in February. Other than that I will be focusing my efforts on working on the circuit, writing and trying to get better, you never stop learning.
Tell us a local creative you really rate that should get some exposure. Anything. We reckon creative isn’t just painters and poets: we’ve got a butcher lined up soon.
I love the coffee in The Bean, food in Relish and the beer in The Vic. I haven’t got tattoos as I am too scared but if I ever fancied one I would go to Beast-on Ink, even the name is cleverly done. In terms of restaurants my wife and I love Havelli in Chilwell, it’s in an odd location to be honest, but the food and atmosphere is wonderful. We have also just discovered Cafe Roya on Wollaton Road and we’re very impressed
Scott can be found online at scottbennettcomedy.co.uk and on Twitter @scottibee.
He’ll be at the Leicester Comedy Festival Show with his new show “About a Roy: Stories about me’dad,’ (Leicester Comedy Festival, Belmont Hotel, 21-02-2015, 9.45pm, tickets can be found online)