ED2022 Comedy ED2022 Interviews ED2022 Preview Edition

Tom Ward: Anthem

By | Published on Friday 27 May 2022

Comedian Tom Ward returns to Edinburgh this year with a brand new show, and a much celebrated ‘Live At The Apollo’ debut behind him, so – naturally – we are all expecting rather good – and typically offbeat and whimsical – things.

If you’ve somehow managed to miss his work so far, let us fill you in a bit on his achievements of the last few years: he’s done three critically acclaimed solo shows at the Fringe, won the Best Newcomer gong at the 2017 Chortle Awards, and supported the likes of Jack Whitehall, Joe Lycett, Jason Manford and Sindhu Vee on tour.

I wanted to talk to Tom about what we can expect from this year’s show ‘Anthem’, how he feels about the Fringe, and his hopes for the future, so I arranged a quick chat to find out more.

CM: Can you start by telling us a bit about the content of your Edinburgh show? What themes can we expect to see you focusing on?
TW: Well it seems to be about love, class and mental health mainly, and all the stuff that goes with those juicy little numbers – sex, loss, identity, getting older… and some climate stuff too, though not too much, cos that just makes me want to cry, which isn’t the show I’m going for.

CM: Why did you want to focus on these particular themes?
TW: I’ve always been partial to a bit of love, have battled with the black dog – and its various other animal friends – since 1992, and think class fills a hilarious amount of disk space in this country so it’s fun to prod at. Plus the climate has to be mentioned otherwise you look psychotic.

CM: How do you go about putting together an hour long show? What’s the creative process like?
TW: Oh god, just gigs gigs gigs, day after day trawling through notes, chatting to mates, chatting to my girlfriend, doubting the whole thing, feeling amazing about the whole thing, and just willing August to start so I can’t worry any more.

CM: When did you last perform in Edinburgh? What made you want to come back?
TW: 2018. It was more of a psychiatric episode than a Fringe. So I guess I’d like to put that to bed and prove to myself that I am able to live within the bizarre bubble of narcissism and collective angst for 27 days.

CM: Ah yes, doing the Fringe can be quite tough, can’t it? It’s a long haul. How does performing at it compare to performing the rest of the year?
TW: The rest of the year is WAY MORE FUN. Edinburgh is essentially the high altitude training you do to build your fitness. Any pleasure is soon followed by total agony, so you start to doubt anything you feel, and spend the whole time furious at other people’s success and convinced that there’s a conspiracy. The rest of the year is the garden of fucking Eden by comparison.

CM: What do you a) love most and b) love least about the Edinburgh experience?
TW: a) The gigs that go well. b) The inevitable flatness of the next show.

CM: Can we delve into your history a bit, now? How did you end up going into stand-up comedy? Did you always want to perform?
TW: I was a singer first in a post-punk band called Church Of The Drive Thru Elvis – catchy I know! – but that didn’t work out. Partly cos the band kicked me out. Then I started doing some open mic comedy gigs and went from there….very very slowly.

CM: Were the comedy competitions you did, and the Chortle Award, helpful in advancing your career, do you think?
TW: It’s hard to know what causes what, but it gave me massive confidence, and with the Chortle being audience vote made me feel really supported, which can never be a bad thing can it?

CM: What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
TW: ‘Live At The Apollo’… was the greatest night of my life.

CM: What aims/hopes/ambitions do you have for the future?
TW: To do Apollo again! Also to go on tour and combine my love of comedy and charity shops somewhere.

CM: Aside from performing, what are you most looking forward to doing in Edinburgh this summer?
TW: Endless party nights in bars; lofts; gardens; hangovers; swims. Smooching my girlfriend on a bench late at night.

CM: And what’s coming up next for you, after the Fringe I mean?
TW: My first ever tour starts on 23 Nov!

Tom Ward performed ‘Anthem’ at Monkey Barrel Comedy at Edinburgh Festival 2022.

LINKS: www.tomwardvoice.com/ | www.instagram.com/tomwardcomedian

Photo: Matt Crockett