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Glasgow International Comedy Festival Q&A: Joz Norris

Glasgow International Comedy Festival Q&A: Joz Norris

Tell us a bit about your show.

I don't know a huge amount about my show this year because I've outsourced most of the writing and performing of it to a figment of my imagination.

Don't get me wrong, it's definitely my show, I'm the sort of svengali-figure at the top of it all, but last year I went through a bit of a struggle with my mental health (couldn't leave the flat for months, kept falling on the floor and sobbing every time anybody mentioned a particular brand of sweets, that kind of thing) and stopped enjoying live performance so I had to invent a comedy character called Mr Fruit Salad in order to remain confident enough to go onstage. Absolutely dreadful character. Paper-thin, utterly stupid, zero consistency or logic to anything he does. He offends the meticulous writer in me and I wish I'd never made him up.

Anyway, he's come alive now and is putting on a show more or less without my consent, so I'm leaving it up to him. Good luck to him, I say. Apparently he's trying to make it not just an hour of him being an idiot but to sincerely reflect on anxiety and grief, but my confidence in his ability to do that is not high.

Do you have any top tips for anything else visitors should do while in Glasgow?

Do you know what I love? The Kelvingrove. I absolutely love the Kelvingrove. I've not been in the gallery itself, but I thought the park around it, and the building itself, are absolutely gangbusters. I also think Glasgow has an excellent botanical garden, and I'm a huge fan of a good botanical garden. I would rank Glasgow's botanics ahead of Kew, to be honest. I think last time I was there I put my phone on a big lilypad, then stood back and laughed at it. Sometimes all it takes to make you laugh is for something to be where it shouldn't.

Who would you recommend comes to see you at the festival?

Well the first preview of this show was basically half an hour of idiotic nonsense followed by half an hour of quite sincere, thoughtful stuff. People said "Fans of absurdism are gonna really love the first half, and fans of thoughtful introspective comedy are gonna love the second half," and I thought, "Oh, that's good," then realised they were actually pointing out a structural problem. I'm now bleeding the two halves of it into each other more, so the hope is that it appeals to fans of absurdism and fans of introspective gentle comedy, or ideally fans of both!

And who would you suggest maybe doesn't?

People who have already seen my work and decided they don't like it should probably keep away. I have not made many changes to my aesthetics, style or philosophy this year, so if you know my shtick and you hate my shtick, rest assured my shtick is probably still not for you. (I'm worried this makes me come across like loads of people hate my work. I actually don't think there's that many. There was a guy who saw me in 2015 who doesn't like me because I spent the whole show dripping little drops of water on his head. I feel bad about that).

What sets your show apart from others in the programme?

It is the only show in the programme written and performed entirely by somebody who doesn't exist. I actually think that's pretty huge. I mean, I'm genuinely not involved in this show. I don't appear in it. Nor am I playing a character in it, to the best of my knowledge. I don't really understand how it's happening. I've made no plans to go to Glasgow, and yet I know this show is happening there and it's being performed by someone I made up. It's bizarre. Interesting though, innit?

What's next for you after the Glasgow International Comedy Festival?

Well this show is going to a couple more festivals here and there, and previewing in London, then I'll take it up to Edinburgh for the Fringe in the summer. Myself and my comedy spirit animal, Ed Aczel, will also be doing a sketch double-act up there called Ed & Joz's Deleted Scenes. We've also got a sitcom pilot coming out soon in which we try to steal a vending machine, and I'm currently in pre-production for a big short film project I've written with my friend Emily Richards, which I'm hugely excited about. And a few other online shorts coming out soon. Busy busy! Gotta keep busy to get out of your head, you know?

Joz Norris Is Dead. Long Live Mr Fruit Salad.

ARG at The Vacant Space

Friday 29 March


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