Tom Allen chats to Drew Tosh
No TV panel series, chat show or comedy programme is complete without an appearance from Tom Allen. In the past month alone he has been on The Comedy Bus, 8 Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown, Sunday Brunch, Mock The Week and Hypothetical, not forgetting hosting duties on Bake Off The Professionals.
He’s back on stand-up duty as part of Trafford Pride this weekend but not before a quick Q&A with Canal Street.
It must be exciting to be so in demand. You’re everywhere on TV these days?
Oh I’m sorry. It’s too much isn’t it? I know, I know, I don’t know people cope. I can’t stand the sight of me!
There seems to be a pool of comedians who regularly crop up on comedy panel shows. Are you all friends from the circuit or is there deep seated rivalry between you all?
I’m afraid to tell you that we all fundamentally hate each other and I know I speak for all of us when I say we’d gladly murder each other if it meant a booking on Loose Women.
When one of the chefs drops an intricate creation on Bake Off The Professionals, it always makes me laugh. Are you ever tempted to giggle?
How dare you! We really respect all the chefs on the show and they work so hard to do their best for the competition so it’s always horrible if their work gets destroyed. That being said, last series I did head butt a sugar sculpture and it collapsed. Luckily that was after the judging.
What’s the worst tasting cake you’ve had to sample on Bake Off Extra Slice?
Ooohhh, so many to choose from. Actually, they’re often very nice. There was one made of breast milk which I didn’t fancy but luckily I didn’t have to try that.
Can you explain the rules of Hypothetical as that show bewilders me?
If you can’t understand it then I’m afraid you must be stupid and I’ve no time for you!
Is there always a pressure to be instantly funny on shows like Cats Does Countdown and Mock The Week?
Of course but ultimately most comics enjoy making each other laugh and I think the programmes where everyone is enjoying themselves make for the best shows. That’s what I try and concentrate on.
Is the comedy circuit the tough, challenging environment it’s often painted as?
It can be. I’ve been doing comedy for a quite a while now and in the past few years it’s changed into a much nicer place which I have to say is brilliant. New people have been trying stand up and bringing voices and stories that haven’t been heard enough. That’s meant more audiences have felt welcome and that’s fantastic. When I first started doing stand up most comics were straight white men and I found it quite terrifying - happily that seems to be changing now. Comedy is a shared experience and people should be relating to each other through laughing so it makes sense that it’s become a kinder place to be.
Is TV success vital in terms of profile, selling more tickets and more work opportunities?
I think it’s one route but the internet has meant that people can reach out in all sorts of ways. Door to door also works - look at what that did for Avon.
As a comedian who is gay, is there a responsibility to appear at Pride events?
How did you know I was gay? Who told you? I’m always flattered to be asked and I love Pride so if I can make it, I’m there.
What’s next for you? More acting perhaps?
I hoping for some sort of spiral, something that I can turn into a book and ultimately sell the film rights. Fingers crossed Anne Hathaway is free to play me with Ethel Merman as my mother.
I‘m afraid Ethel Merman is no longer with us.
Tom Allen, Bethany Black and Annette Fagon
Friday May 17 8pm
Robert Bolt Theatre
Tom Allen performs at Waterside Sale on Friday May 17 as part of Pride in Trafford
Pride in Trafford runs until Sunday 19 May
Tickets and further information can be found via the link below.Read More