'Work all over the country' Stand up comedian Lloyd Langford on comedy and his new Edinburgh show
Lloyd Langford is a stand up comedian described by The Guardian as “one of the sharpest comedic minds on the circuit,” and known for his appearances on QI, Never Mind the Buzzcocks and winning Celebrity Mastermind. Here he tells Mandy News about his new Edinburgh Festival Fringe show Why the Big Face?, how he started out and how to build a career in comedy.
Please introduce yourself and tell us how you got involved in comedy.
My name is Lloyd Langford. I am a comedian, writer and also an actor of incredibly limited range. I got into comedy through youth theatre (Port Talbot Amateur Operatic Society and West Glamorgan Youth Theatre) and also through watching live stand-up comedy when I was a student at Warwick University.
You are heading back to Edinburgh Fringe with a new show, having won Best Show at the Leicester Comedy Festival 2018 as well as Celebrity Mastermind. Tell us about Why the Big Face.
It's a stand-up show about the troubles I've gotten into since my last Fringe visit. I thought it was a funny, self-deprecating title. I don't understand these comedians who try to look sexy or handsome on their posters. You're a clown, don't get ideas above your station. Thankfully, James Acaster drew a quick, unflattering biro caricature of my face and I thought it was perfect for the poster image.
People who have seen you on tour will see what happens on stage, but perhaps not know what it takes to create and put a show on tour. How did you put the show together and what was the process of taking a show to Edinburgh Festival Fringe?
It's all about writing and refining stand-up routines and fitting them together and making them work over an hour. I use some new material nights in London (Old Rope & Outside the Box, mainly) to test and hone new ideas. I also had the chance to do an early version of the show at New Zealand Comedy Festival. Basically doing it every night for three weeks. It's a continual work in progress. I started working on it in July 2017.
You also write material for other shows and comedians. How does that come about and is it hard to write in the style of other comedians?
When I moved to London, I just wanted to write as much comedy as I could. I was given opportunities by Ed Morrish and Victoria Lloyd on BBC Radio 4 and then Simon Amstell asked me to write for him on Never Mind The Buzzcocks, and it just sort of snowballed from there. It's about adapting to their style, I guess. If a comic has a strong authorial voice, it's easier to write for them.
What are the plans for the show after Edinburgh?
I'll hopefully tour it. Or a version of it. I think, after Edinburgh, I'll want a holiday. And then I think I'll be writing on The Apprentice: You're Fired again in the autumn. Unless I get fired.
What advice do you have for young comedians and writers wanting to get into performing and writing comedy?
I think you need to be creative and to keep coming up with new jokes and ideas. Don't write 10 minutes of comedy and think that you're now a professional stand up. I would say, try to work all over the country, don't just stay in one specific area. Stand-up comedy scenes grounded in particular areas or cities can become insular and derivative. Move about.
I'd also say contact the BBC for new writer's schemes and also programmes like Newsjack that accept joke submissions. Entering comedy competitions is a good way for new comedians to meet their peers and practice gigging. I'm not a massive fan of competitions, but early on they can get you seen by producers and agents and give you a little fillip that you need. Also, don't do Yoda impressions.
Lloyd Langford's Why the Big Face? can be seen at Edinburgh Festival Fringe at Banshee Labyrinth Cinema Room (Venue 156) August 4-9 and 13-26.
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