ED2023 Caro Meets ED2023 Comedy ED2023 Interviews

Mad Ron: Crime School

By | Published on Saturday 19 August 2023

We like character comedians here at TW Towers, and you might have noticed we like to talk to them, whether we’re speaking to them in character or we’re interviewing the performers behind the personae. 

The latest to catch our eye is Mad Ron, star of ‘Crime School’, a show I’ve been hearing rather good things about. 

Mad Ron is something of a dodgy type (as you might well have guessed from the title of the show) and is the creation of comedian Steve Lee. 

I was interested to find out more about both Ron and Steve, so I arranged a quick chat. 

CM: Can you start by telling us about Mad Ron? Who is he? What does he do?
SL: Mad Ron is a man out of time, born in the West of London he cast envious eyes on the East End villains and very much talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk. Every pub has a Mad Ron, the man with an uninformed opinion about everything.

CM: How did he come into being? What inspired the creation of this character? Is he based on anyone in particular?
SL: I wrote some material about how tuition fees were wrong and you might as well just rob a Post Office. If you got away with it you could pay for your education. If you didn’t you could sit a degree in the prison library instead.

Someone suggested that it might be good to perform it as a character, as I look like Phil Mitchell from EastEnders. I started with an impression of him and it went from there.

CM: Does he share any traits with you? Is there anything of Steve Lee in Mad Ron?
SL: I’m probably the most law abiding person you could meet and I’m pretty relaxed, but I occasionally have a brain fart and invent a weird way of looking at things. I suppose Mad Ron is my vent for those.

CM: So, he is the star of the show: what kind of material can we expect him to be delivering?
SL: This is stand-up, he has opinions about absolutely everything from cats to global warming – not everything is better now than it was.

CM: You’ve been to the Fringe before – what made you decide to come again this year?
SL: This is boot camp for comedy. If you want to get better you need to do it.

I can do my show and up to five other shorter spots a day. You get to perform in front of all types of audience, tired / drunk / loud / hungover / small numbers / rammed rooms and you can learn to perform to them all.

There is nothing like Edinburgh for improving your skills.

CM: What are your favourite things about being in Edinburgh for the Festival?
SL: I love seeing other shows, and discovering something new and unexpected. Two really great shows are Harun Musho’d’s ‘Why I Don’t Talk To People About Terrorism’ and ‘Born In A Wheelchair’. Both shows that I wouldn’t normally look at but absolutely loved this year.

CM: What do you do in Edinburgh when you are not performing?
SL: I try and get some down time, catch up with friends and rest. Maybe watch a film.

CM: Can we go back a bit now and talk about how you got into performing? Did you always want to work in comedy?
SL: I have always watched comedy. I didn’t miss a Thursday night at my local comedy night for around ten years, absolutely loved it and saw hundreds of comedians. Then I came up to Edinburgh in 2001/2002 with a friend and watched around eight to ten shows a day for a week.

I never thought I’d be able to perform but I did fancy having a go at writing comedy, so I signed up for Tring Comedy Festival’s ‘Roving Comedy Night’ thinking it was a writing course, but it was actually writing and performing.

There were four showcases on the same night in four different pubs around Tring and the reward for watching amateur comedians was to see top end acts too. I was paired with Silky, and Mandy Knight and Richard Herring were there as well. Arthur Smith regularly does it.

The performances went well and I started going to the London open mic scene and was hooked by what I saw.

There are some crazies out there but I loved watching as much as performing. I suppose secretly I would have loved to work in comedy but felt it was out of my reach – I feel lucky that I’m now giving it a go.

CM: What have been the highlights of your performing life thus far?
SL: There is nothing better than a comedian you respect that quotes one of your jokes to you and says “I wish I’d written that” and that’s happened a few times.

The other thing I’m shocked at is performing with people that I used to go and watch. I’m constantly pinching myself that I’m mixing with these brilliant acts. 

CM: What aims and ambitions do you have for the future?
SL: To improve all the time, next step is to close pro gigs regularly.

CM: What’s coming up next for you after this?
SL: Lots of gigs already in the diary for the autumn and I need to do a big writing session to come up with something for next year’s Edinburgh.

‘Mad Ron: Crime School’ was performed at Assembly George Square at Edinburgh Festival 2023.

LINKS: www.madroncomedy.com | twitter.com/MadRonSpanners 

Photo: Simon Cross