Interview: Darren Connell On His Bringing His Comedy Special to Glasgow's Pavilion Theatre

Darren Connell will be at the Pavilion Theatre on 27 September

By: Feb. 26, 2024
Interview: Darren Connell On His Bringing His Comedy Special to Glasgow's Pavilion Theatre
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BroadwayWorld caught up with stand-up comedian, podcaster and actor Darren Connell to chat about his upcoming special and regular comedy night.

Where would people know you from? 

Well, I started off as a stand-up comedian and over the course of many years I've been lucky enough to get some acting work and panto stuff and now I've got my own podcast. You and I know each other from social media probably going back about ten years. My social media has gone through periods of being very strange because I kind of use it as a blank canvas for my material.

What's your podcast?

It's called Straight White Whale so try and tell that to a taxi driver in Glasgow. I kind of just stumbled into it. I sort of quit stand-up and I was supposed to start a podcast with someone else and it was just after lockdown and I had really bad stress and depression. My producer Paul suggested I start my own podcast. I was like, "I've got nothing to talk about!" But he said I should talk about myself and my stress. It started off me just talking about myself but it clicked into place. My producer is a therapist and he said I should get therapy so its kind of been a journey of getting better. It's going well.

And you're back doing stand-up?

I've been back doing stand-up for a couple of years now. I run my own night every month- Darren Connell and the Funny Bunch at Blackfriars Basement. Which is the original Glasgow comedy club I believe. I'm the host and I book four comedians a month. I set it up for more established comedians to do new material and I also give people that are new a chance as well. It's a multi-billed stand-up comedy night. 

What are the pros and cons of putting out your own content?

It's quite strange. I felt like there's not a lot of work in Scotland so I felt like I had to start all this stuff. Because I am absolutely riddled with ADHD I overshare and forget there are a thousand people listening to my podcast each week. I feel like I'm just talking to a therapist. I'm in a very happy place in my life and I'm sober but I'll be talking about depression and drug stuff and then I'm like oh that's why the BBC won't give me a job! 

No no, I'm kidding on. They've been very very nice to me. I think the pros and cons are on my behalf because I can't filter myself. I'm certainly not stupid, I know how to be professional when I'm asked. But most of the time I have unfiltered opinions and not everyone realises right away that I'm actually a funny comedian and not just unhinged on Twitter. 

Do you get recognised much from your role in Scot Squad?

Not with my glasses off. If I put them on I get recognised everywhere but that's nice.

Do you ever put your glasses on just for a wee boost?

When I'm having a bad day! I always get cuddled off grannies. Or someone will come up and be like "My kid loves you!" so that's really nice. My stand-up is so dark and absolutely for over 18s so it's nice when a gran comes up with her grandkids and says they love Scot Squad. That makes my black heart very warm.

Do you feel the pressure to put out TikTok content or do you do it for fun?

Doing it for fun, absolutely. If I ever treat it like a job I'll just lose interest. It's benefited my career and I enjoy it. I've got plenty of content to put up and I'm just putting it up to amuse myself and I think that's why I'm doing well. If it ever becomes negative I'll just delete it, I don't really play the game like that. 

How supportive are other comics on the comedy scene?

I've never had a problem, I've always treated people as I want to be treated. I've got some close friends in comedy and it's really changed now and it is more supportive. The Some Laugh boys are very kind and Christopher Macarthur-Boyd is a great guy. It was bad back in the day with bullying and green room talks but I've never changed how I am. The good people always hang around. I feel like if you're a bad person it doesn't last very long. A lot of the bad people have been cancelled and rightly so. Regardless of their talent, if I'm booking a night I want to sit in a green room with a good bunch of people. 

And you're doing a special at the Pavilion?

With lockdown, I did fall out of love with comedy and that terrified me. I've always had stand-up as my comfort blanket. I thought "I can't believe I hate this now" and then my performance was bad and I just quit. Now that I'm back into it I've found this love of performing again and running nights. I've been doing this since I was 18 and I'm 36 now. I've got all this material and I love the Pavilion- it's always been my bucket list. Why not? Ticket sales have gone really well so far and I'm quite confident I might sell it out because there's not even a poster up yet. 

I've got access to a real, professional stage with props. I don't want to give too much away but it's the first time I've had an actual blank canvas. There will be a really good support act who might not be a comedian, they might be something completely different. I'm going to go up and I'll do new stuff, some stuff regarding the Pavilion and some really old stuff that I haven't done in years. Then I'll try and edit it into the best hour and walk away from that material. I've got no agent or PR team or anything like that so I think, why not?