© Colin Hoult / Dawn Sedgwick Management
Twelve months ago, many of our readers outside regular Edinburgh Festival goers and devotees of the London live comedy scene had never heard of Colin Hoult. The star had critical acclaim aplenty – TimeOut had claimed his comedy was a blend of Lewis Caroll & The League Of Gentlemen, and he had won the highly prestigious Writers Guild Award for Comedy. Those who had seen his live performances would attest to his immense talents, in double act Colin & Fergus, and his own live shows including Zimbani, Carnival Of Monsters and Enemy Of The World.
A stint on Russell Howard’s Good News had greatly enhanced his profile, but it was Zimbani – the pilot he made with David McNeill and Julian Barratt – which really thrust him onto The Velvet Onion’s radar. After catching his Edinburgh run last Summer, TVO had a bit of a dilemma: here was an immensely talented comic actor whom we wanted to shout from the rooftops about, but whose connection to Booshdom appeared somewhat tenuous. Was he, for all his talents, outside our ‘remit’, like so many other comics we could mention but not really embrace?
Then came a memorable appearance at November’s Fulchfest, and as we dug deeper, we realised his connections to TVO’s other subjects were far deeper than we had first noticed. Above all else, he was, and is, ridiculously entertaining, charming in person and hilarious on stage – more than worthy of an honorary place in Booshdom. Now involved with an upcoming television sketch-show which will include a familiar face or two from these parts, and on the eve of launching a new regular London club night which may include still further familiars, its clear that Colin has established himself as an active part of The Wider World Of Booshdom, as we dubbed it… and his increasing profile in his own right makes him a guaranteed star to watch.
As his audiences grow, and critics continue to take note of his talents, we were lucky enough to talk to Colin in advance of his forthcoming shows, including the final run of Enemy Of The World later this month.
Hi, Colin. Welcome back to TVO. For the benefit of those who haven’t seen Enemy Of The World, what can newcomers expect to see?
Well, it’s a character show, as you can probably tell. It’s very funny, it’s very dark, very strange and different. Aesthetically, it’s a sort of Weimar Republic Cabaret Show: a Kurt Weil/Burtolt Brech type show. It’s basically about villains, so we enter a spooky cabaret world, and within that world are all sorts of different characters.
My trademark, if you like, is mixing the fantastical with the real. What we’ve tried to create is very designed and cool, and a quite fantastical world, and then the characters within it are very real, believable and recognisable. Also, on top of that we’ve got lots of songs, with fun audience interaction and games.
You do seem to love playing with the audience. Do you prefer it when the crowd’s up for it?
Oh, definitely. It’s funny, really, but when you start out I think you’re scared and a bit nervous of what you imagine comedy audiences are going to be like… rabid dogs with fangs and claws, throwing things at you and screaming at you. I must say I’ve never had an audience of rabid dogs, I’m not sure how that’d work…
But when you get an audience that’s up for it, it’s a lot better! I try to encourage that sense of rabidity within my crowds. Sometimes the room is very gentile and nice and the audience just nods, and you feel like you’re doing it for your aunties. Continue reading