You’re halfway through your sixth Middle Eastern tour. How’s it going?
It’s been too good for words – the audiences have been fantastic, the line-up is beautifully varied... it’s hard to describe it without being pompous. Normally there’s one comic who doesn’t click, but on this tour we’ve all had stormers every night.
Should comedy be about more than making us laugh?
The worst piece of advice I’ve ever been given was ‘a laugh is a laugh’. It’s not. There’s belly laughs, jokes that make you think, you might be offended but not know why, challenging thoughts and emotions – it’s like saying ‘a meal is a meal’.
Buy The Laughter Factory tickets for August 12
How do you know when you’ve written a good joke?
If I’m walking down the street and I surprise myself laughing – and that’s a paradox, because I thought it – that’s a very good sign. My wife’s a good judge. She’s quite critical – there’s a theory that every comedian has a funnier best friend, and mine is my wife.
You recently made a documentary on pausing in comedy for the UK’s BBC Radio 4. Why?
A radio producer approached me and said ‘you’re a very fast talker, how about making a show about pausing?’ I interviewed some big names – Ricky Gervais, Matt Lucas, Ray Galton – who talked about pausing and why it’s important. Everyone had different reasons – in The Office it’s to explore Ricky Gervais’ face when no one laughs at a joke – the joke is the joke not working. Sometimes it allows the audience time to be misdirected – a pause allows the audience to get on the rug before you pull it out from under them.
Buy The Laughter Factory tickets for August 13
Quickly – the recent Monty Python live reunion?
In a nutshell – when something is classic, it’s probably best to leave it alone.
You’ve done the Edinburgh Fringe seven times, but you’ve stopped going lately. Huh?
Well observed – 2007 was the last time. Well, I got married in 2008, my wife was pregnant in 2009, we had a baby in 2010, I moved house in 2011, and we had a second baby in 2012. In 2013 I was very busy... I think this year and last year I had excuses for not going that weren’t good enough. It’s quite terrifying. In seven years there’s a new generation who were children when I was last there.
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Was the standard better or worse when you started?
That’s a difficult question, because I’ve become a better comedian in 20 years, so then there were people I thought were absolute masters. Now I look at people as equal to me. It’s possible the comedians doing well now are as good as when I started, but now the young people look up to me with respect, so it’s very hard for me to think they’re a genius. Even if they’re doing better than me.
What’s next for Adam Bloom?
I’m writing for seven people – six comedians and someone else in popular culture. Writing jokes for people is like being Julia Roberts’ leg double – you can’t give an interview and say ‘those were my legs getting out of the Ferrari in Pretty Woman’. It wouldn’t be right.
Catch Adam at The Laughter Factory, August 13-14, various locations. www.timeouttickets.com