A) INTERVIEW LINKS:
1. Interview date: September 2020: Please click the link to listen to my first ever radio interview talking all things comedy with Luke Anthony Walsh for #Walsh’s Weekly @Radio LaB071fm here: https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F893092018&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true&visual=true&origin=twitter
2. Interview date: April 2020: Please click the link to watch my second #Live Stay At Home online interview with Vix Leyton here: https://youtu.be/yQZ367bUWUg
3. Interview date: March 2017: Please click the link to hear an audience podcast interview with Always Be Comedy MC James Gill: https://audioboom.com/posts/5254391-ep-04-richard-gill
B) INTERVIEW WRITE-UP’S:
1. Interview date: April 2020. A write-up of my first online interview by comedian Vix Leyton for ‘Live At #Stay at Home’:
Richard Gill is a known face on the comedy circuit… a known face, and a signature laugh, as a comic when you hear it you know you are in for a good night. Having seen over 600 live comedy shows ranging from the late, greats to some taking their first baby steps into comedy, he has no doubt put in the hours to call himself an expert in the craft, but is far too humble to do that and will wave away any suggestion of it – as far as he is concerned he is just a member of the audience, even if we all think he is a VIP. It was the baby steps situation when we first met, at Birdies Comedy on The Strand, when I had done just a handful of gigs. He was as effusive with praise as ever about my set, even though he had only caught a couple of minutes of it – which he needlessly apologised for. We didn’t get to chat much, but it was enough to get a sense of his massive zeal for comedy – he recommended several ‘ones to watch’ and sure enough, when I encountered them on the circuit, they were as good as described. I knew he had a policy of writing about everyone he had seen on a night, even the newbies, so I dutifully waited for my first ever ‘write up’ Looking at his take on all the acts that night, each one was very positive and supportive and it was clear he considered his job to praise the good rather than focus on any negatives.
We talked about this when I was lucky enough to spend nearly an hour in his company on Instagram Live last week. From watching club acts on holiday in the 70s to repeat shifts as audience in some of the biggest comedy shows on TV, he has seen them all and got a story for every single one.
He was interesting, insightful and passionate, covering trends that have come and gone in comedy, the all-time legends, how Victoria Wood could command a room within seconds like an alchemist, and the craftsmanship of comics who tailor their set to the local audience they are performing for. Whilst he lamented the incredible skill of grabbing an audience from the moment you step to the mic, reassuringly he also had examples of where comics had started on the wrong foot but still pulled it back to riotous applause. He really has seen it all.
His comedy favourites? A rich mix of old, established and new. He called out an equal sprinkling of men and women and I asked him if he thought there was a difference between Male and female comics; he is emphatic in his response – quipping in that fabulous Carlisle accent that ‘if you’re funny, you’re funny.’
His ultimate ambition is to set up a club in his hometown of Carlisle – not that there isn’t a great club there already, he was at pains to mention. For my part, I hope he achieves this, with the goodwill he has generated in the industry through his unwavering, enthusiastic support of the craft, the line ups will no doubt always be exceptional and I would be privileged to be on one.
So, what next for Richard? He has just submitted the first draft of his book to be published – part biography, part living archive of the industry through the decades and how it has changed. I cannot wait to read it. And he really does want you to see ‘Always Be Comedy’ (not just because he occasionally does a turn singing Bon Jovi).
I asked some of the comedians I gig with to give me the thoughts and memories they had of Richard and they were quick to chip in. So, Richard, for once, you are the subject but, true to your blog, it is all overwhelmingly positive. We love you.
Jen Smith said: ‘Rich gave me my first and second ever reviews. He is just the best audience member. It’s so lovely to see someone there just because they love comedy. And we all know that laugh anywhere! Whenever I’m having a confidence wobble, I just remember that Rich once described me as a Welsh Victoria Wood, and it genuinely helps me keep going!’
Nathan ‘Kyle Woolf’ Gibbons: ‘He called me “Lively and Energetic” which i will treasure forever and will put on all posters/promo stuff from here on.’
Colleen Cheetham – Gerrard said: ‘It’s *always* a good night with Richard in the audience! He’s always ready to give the nervous acts a kind word, he’s always willing to unleash that unmistakable laugh and he has an absolutely phenomenal memory for all the comedians he’s ever seen. He gave me my first review and made me feel like a real comedian! A proper proper gentleman.’
Lisa Ronaghan noted: ‘Richard does have the most infectious laugh and is incredibly encouraging of new talent and seasoned folk alike.’
Sherry Fuller: ‘Rich was at the second ever little gig I performed. I’m still so new to this and I was hugely encouraged by his smiling face and generous laughter. He congratulated me afterwards and gave me a nice write up. That sort of thing really does mean the world when you’re starting out. I’ll always be grateful to him.’
Ilayda Arden said: ‘He is an absolute lad. He was present for the first ever full 10mins I did and chuckled heartily the whole way through, making me feel so at ease even though I’d been cacking myself about it. His ability to care about fresh young talent AND established comics is what makes him special – he gets that everyone starts somewhere – and is more than happy to come along for the ride!’
Tracy Kashi: ‘I just love him’