The UK comedy scene is alive with new ideas, new styles and new stars right now, from the stand-up circuit to youtube and podcasts, and Alice Marshall is a name that crops up on pretty much everybody’s hot list for 2017.
If you don’t know her yet, her 2016 Edinburgh solo debut ran to packed houses and rave reviews, The Independent included her in their female comedians that will be dominating 2017 list, and Short Com said “she’s the one you’ll be glad you saw before she got big, see this show! ”. She’s also done a bunch of stuff on Radio 4 and on TV, including Very Important People (E4) and Skins. So now you do (you’re welcome)!
In-between sessions at the gym (yeah right), sell out Brighton Fringe shows and more UK touring, we grabbed a quiet moment on the edge of the bed to talk about tea, comedy heroes and her new show Blood.
Hi Alice, How are you?
Hello Beat Magazine! I’m very well thank you, how kind of you to ask.
What are you up to right now?
At this very moment I’m perched on the edge of my bed in my gym kit trying to invent new ways to avoid leaving the house and doing any exercise.
How would you describe your stage style?
I think what I do is a mix of lots of different styles really. I’m both an actor and a character comedian, and my characters are very varied so my shows are always a bit of a melting pot. There’s stand-up, storytelling, physical comedy, clowning, and a million other things - something for everyone.
Who or what made you want to get into comedy?
I was raised on comedy from a very young age, and my family are all very funny people so there was a lot of competition! I discovered the sitcoms that inspired me to perform through my parents’ old VHS collection. Probably wildly inappropriate for my age, but they did the job. Things like The Young Ones, Ab Fab, Bottom… I remember watching them all wide-eyed and thinking that this was absolutely what I wanted to do.
Describe your current show in 3 words?
Blood is silly, dark and uplifting all that the same time!
What is the easiest way to make you laugh?
Just do a good burp. I’m easy to please.
What comedy sketch do you wish you had written?
There’s a Smack The Pony sketch that makes me die every time I watch it! Sally Phillips and Doon Mackichan are factory workers having a tea break, and Can’t Live by Harry Nilsson comes on the radio. Sally Phillips starts casually singing along (badly), only to be interrupted by Doon Mackichan, who’s got a gorgeous operatic voice. It descends into a savage competition, and it’s so well timed and performed. It’s a perfect sketch.
What is the best gig you have ever been to?
I’d be tempted to say Eddie Izzard when I saw him in London in 2016, but I was so star struck I don’t think I took any of it in properly! I went to a few gigs in Edinburgh last year that shot to the top of my list; Colin Hoult as Anna Mann, Seymour Mace, and a clown act called Brickhead. There are lots of very, very funny people out there.
Tea or Coffee?
Tea, every time.
If there was a zombie outbreak and you could only take two things with you, what would you take?
I’d take my bed because it’s my favourite place, and some industrial strength wax earplugs - so I wouldn’t have to listen to the grizzly sounds of the end of humanity.
What’s your favourite movie of all time?
Withnail and I
Name 3 famous people - dead or alive - that you’d have over for a meal?
Rik Mayall, Britney Spears and Jesus of Nazareth. Can you imagine…
Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead?
Neither, sadly. I’m too busy watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race to allow any other shows into my life at the moment.
What comedians inspire you?
My heroes are quite a varied bunch, from stand ups like Eddie Izzard and Dylan Moran to comic actors like Tamsin Greig and Joanna Lumley. They’ve all inspired me in different ways. Watching Rik Mayall taught me the importance of being silly and vile without losing your likability.
I also owe a lot to the Smack the Pony girls, for proving that funny women aren’t just limited to material about their gender - they showed us that funny is funny, regardless of what’s in your underpants.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
I’d be able to stop time. I’m the slowest person on earth when it comes to things like getting dressed and leaving the house (still on the edge of my bed in my gym kit and we’re approaching the 2 hour mark now), so that would be super useful.
What song do you feel best describes your life?
There’s a song called Hang Out The Stars In Indiana by Al Bowlly which is featured in Withnail and I, and it’s all about going home and feeling safe - I’m always happiest when I’m at home.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
Disney World, Florida. Without a doubt. Anyone who says otherwise either hasn’t been, or is a liar.
If you were a Disney character, which one would you be?
This is probably quite an obscure one, but I’d be Ray the firefly from The Princess and the Frog. He’s a relentlessly positive and very funny New Orleans swamp-dweller; I often think about Ray when I need a pick me up (Yes I am obsessed with Disney, yes it is under control).
Bath or Shower?
Bath, hands down. They’re the best.
What’s a question you get asked a lot?
"What’s it like to be a woman in comedy?" (It’s great, FYI)