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This Glorious Monster: Glorious wrong uns

By | Published on Tuesday 9 August 2016

This Glorious Monster

There’s a very high chance you’ve seen sketches from This Glorious Monster on YouTube, where their great comedy creations and high production values grabbed plenty of attention, not least from production company Hat Trick whose chief has dubbed the group “the next League Of Gentlemen”.
As they perform their debut Edinburgh show ‘Wrong Uns’, we spoke to the group’s Martin Collins about the characters, the show, the telly projects and making it on YouTube.

CC: Let’s start at the start, how did you guys come together to perform sketch comedy goodness?
MC: Alex Finch and I met through a sketch group called Broken Biscuits. We wanted to start writing ourselves, to see the way we viewed the world really come to life. Daniel Hoffmann-Gill and Adam Loxley were two brilliant actors we really admired and we were chuffed when they liked the writing and came on board to form the troupe. So often sketch comedy can be about the ‘live show’ – sketches that are observational or based around ‘wouldn’t it be funny if…’ – which, of course, is great. But we want to present a world of three dimensional characters that are alive, relatable and sometimes even weirdly loveable.

CC: What can we expect from ‘Wrong Uns’?
MC: We’re a sketch show that delves in to the dark side of humanity. We want to explore the nooks and the crannies of every day life. The Wrong Uns are the people you come across that give us the stories that start with “you’ll never guess who I met…” From a driving instructor who wants a go on your ‘gear stick’ to the world’s most sadistic HR ladies – from a coma nurse who uses her patients as a stand for her iPad to the dysfunctional family life of a ‘closet’ clown – it’s a deliciously twisted world.

CC: Many people may have previously seen your sketches on YouTube. How does the live show compare? Do the characters seen online appear?
MC: Lots of those characters come up in the show, alongside a load of new ones. With ‘Wrong Uns’ we’ve tried to add to this by giving some of our favourites a narrative arc. We love the idea of a story slowly building, adding meat to the characters and jokes over time – which people seem to love.

CC: Things seem to be moving very fast for you guys. And it all seemed to begin with the YouTube channel?
MC: Yes, we started with the idea of ‘let’s just make it’ and make it to the best of our ability. The production values of the sketches – along with what we hope is strong writing and performance – has been the thing that gained us attention. After the first ones went live, a producer at Hat Trick messaged us on Facebook asking to meet up and things moved on quickly from there. We made a taster for the BBC and now we’re here, doing our Edinburgh debut!

CC: Ah yes, I heard about the Hat Trick tie up. What are you doing with them?
MC: We’ve got a couple of sketch show projects and a sitcom in development with them at the moment – which is great!

CC: The boss there, Jimmy Mulville, has called you “the next League Of Gentlemen”. That’s probably a lot to live up to! How do you think your work compares to theirs? Do they inspire your comedy?
MC: We love The League of Gentlemen – as so many do – and of course they’re an influence. We love character and the idea of creating a real world for people to invest in. But we’re also careful to add a great deal of our own voice to our characters. We hope there’s a sweetness and vulnerability to many of them, beneath all the various layers of wrong.

CC: Are there any other sketch comedy groups past or present who influence your work?
MC: Although there are loads, it’s more about tone than explicitly sketch that’s the influence. From Mike Leigh to Vic And Bob, from ‘Big Train’ to the Goons, we’re open to that peculiar world of British eccentricity in all its forms!

CC: As you said, it’s your first Edinburgh as This Glorious Monster. Have any of you performed here before?
MC: Most of us have been up quite a few times, but never for the full run. This is Daniel’s fifth Edinburgh, his first dates back to the heady days of 1998 and a famous breakdown in a phone box on Dalkeith Road!

CC: Aside from performing the show, what else have you got planned while you are in Edinburgh this month?
MC: Seeing as much cool stuff as possible, of course, from Palestinian comedy to Korean masked performance, there is so much here that you’d never get a chance to see otherwise. And should we fall out, we’ll draw a chalk circle on the Royal Mile and wrestle it out in front of a braying crowd whilst one of us flyers.

CC: An increasing number of performers are launching their careers with a YouTube channel. Any tips for aspiring comedy types hoping to make content for and build an audience on YouTube?
MC: For us, it was and is always about making it as beautiful as possible. We spend a great deal of time on planning the detail and how we might shoot things – sets, costumes, characters etc. We worked with a great director in Stephen Pipe, who helped us get the best out of our limited resources. That said, the most important thing is to just keep making stuff! Never wait for ‘THE’ idea. Make something, learn, then make something else. It’s all about getting better, taking notes from people you trust, and keeping the fun alive. Saying that, try not to make your YouTube videos too long – three minutes is a good target!

This Glorious Monster performed at Pleasance Courtyard at Edinburgh Festival 2016.

Photo by David P Scott