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Tim Renkow: A very brief history of him

By | Published on Tuesday 16 August 2016


US import Tim Renkow has been making quite a name for himself in recent years. He’s won the title of Leicester Square New Comedian Of The Year, been nominated for Best Newcomer at the Chortle Awards and won the Amused Moose Laugh Off Award. And, as his publicity notes, he has also been awarded severe cerebral palsy, by God.
Given all this attention he’s been getting – and with him in town with his show ‘King Of The Tramps’ – we thought it was about time we had a very quick chat with him.

CM: So, Tim, that’s an interesting name for a show. Where did it come from? Is this title official?
TR: Two of the major themes in this show are homelessness and falling in love. ‘King Of The Tramps ‘is what my girlfriend started to call me as she watched countless strangers walk up to me and hand me money. So, I felt it had a nice double meaning. Also, my agent wouldn’t let me use my original title, ‘Jesus Was Only In It For The Pussy’.

CM: I know this is probably quite a difficult question to answer, but for those who haven’t seen you perform yet, can you describe your style of comedy?
TR: Life is silly, the more serious people find a subject, the sillier I find it. I try to show you why what you believe in is ridiculous. As a consequence, I get labelled as ‘dark’.

CM: This isn’t your first time performing at the Fringe, is it? What do you like about it? What made you want to come back?
TR: I like doing an hour long show every day. And I’m good at it.

CM: It seems like you’ve been doing quite a lot of TV appearances of late – how does that compare to doing live shows every day?
TR: They’re both fun. TV is more exciting at the moment, because I’ve never done it before.

CM: Can you tell us a bit about this upcoming BBC Comedy Feed show you have in the pipeline?
TR: It’s a fifteen minute sitcom called ‘A Brief History Of Tim’. It’s about someone who needs to get a job, but he can’t stop being a smart-ass for long enough to pass a job interview. Basically, a millennial trying to make it as an adult for the first time and failing.

CM: Can we go back to the beginning for a moment? What made you become a comedian? Did you always want to be a performer?
TR: I was studying art and could not sell anything because I couldn’t stop making fun of the pretentious clients. So I thought, “I’ll just make fun of people for a living”. It has seemed to work out so far.

CM: You are originally from Memphis in Tennessee. How did you end up living and working in the UK?
TR: I don’t know. I was only supposed to be here for six months. Now it’s been five years.

CM: What’s coming up next for you?
TR: I’ve got a couple things in the pipeline. Unfortunately, I can’t say anything about most of them! But ‘A Brief History Of Tim’ comes out September 1st on BBC 3.

‘King Of The Tramps’ was performed at Heroes @ The Hive at Edinburgh Festival 2016.

photo: Bruce Hayden