Friday, 5 February 2010

Podcast No 2: Steve Gribbin on how to do comedy incredibly well

IN many ways the only reason I ever wanted to write comedy, or write about it, is because of Steve Gribbin.
When I first head or saw 'alternative comedy' on TV or on the radio it was people like Ben Elton or Will Durst who I was really into. They were political and funny and satiric and vitriolic and chimed with the kind of political atmosphere I lived in.
I bought Ben Elton albums from Golden Discs in Belfast and taped George Carlin and Richard Pryor records from the library in Craigavon and taped as much of Friday Night and Saturday Night Live as I could.
Soon after, during Rag Week 1991 ( I think), I bunked into a brilliant show at Queens University Students' Union in Belfast with Mark Thomas, Brenda Gilhooley and Skint Video on the bill. I was solid gone to quote Balloo the bear.
Skint Video were Steve Gribbin and Brian Mulligan and they played musical parodies and political songs and I thought they were brilliant. They were on the Mary Whitehouse Experience on Radio 1 and popped up a bit on whatever wee bits of network radio and TV we got in Northern Ireland. I taped all of it, unfortunately in a frenzy of nest building 10 years ago, before the age of MP3 conversion,  most of the cassettes went into Sefton Meadows tip in Maghull.
Then about eight years ago I was the de facto comedy writer for the Liverpool ECHO and saw Steve again at the Best of Liverpool gala show which traditionally finishes the Liverpool Comedy Festival. And he blew me away again doing political comedy to an audience which would have settled for girls in pyjamas gags.
In a bid to raise the profile of the brilliant Liverpool comedy club, Rawhide, I interviewed Steve prior to one of his regular headline sets. We hit it off and have been mates since.
Despite the narrowing of the stand-up canon in the clubs where comics can get away with tawdry observationalism, Steve still batters away with his angry, musical satire - blowing the roofs off clubs all across Britain and Ireland.
We've co-written a couple of his shows since and in writing with him you get a sense of what really works in a club. In this podcast we have talked about the nature of doing comedy, Steve's influences and why Elvis Costello and Alexei Sayle are his great idols.
It's 54 minutes long - but I am not going to make it easy for you - but it's all killer no filler and a couple of times it may be libellous.
Sorry about the levels on the songs, it distorts a bit, but this is a great insight into how a top comedian goes about his business.
Please leave a comment at the end tell us what you liked and disliked.


  1. Getting all misty-eyed listening to the Leaving of Liverpool reworking. "Fare thee well, the revolving tower that no longer revolves" Genius

  2. Hi Paddy.

    Fantastic podcast My cousin Steve Gribbin seems to get better and better. Fantastic rendition of the Leaving of Liverpool. It was also great to hear about my cousin/his uncle Theo. As a family we are indeed spread about. I am like Steve based down south. Once again thanks Paddy was lovely to be reminded about how funny Steve is.

  3. Excellent. Really enjoyable listen. Never thought I'd hear 'Miller's Bridge' referenced in a song. Have to try and catch Steve next time he’s on in Liverpool.