William Andrews: 'You're just another comedy primate fussing about'

This article is from 2018

William Andrews: 'You're just another comedy primate fussing about'

William Andrews returns to the Fringe in a giddy state but with a determination to take it all in his stride

Having emerged as cult character Tony Carter as the 21st century dawned before going solo as himself, William Andrews took time away from comedy to do other things including becoming a father. As he returns with a new show, Willy, we wonder what a good Fringe will look like to him and ask whether he reflects on the old days with fondness or with some other rather more negative emotion.

What have you missed most about the Fringe? And what element of the Fringe are you hoping to avoid?
I convinced myself that I didn't miss it at all but, honestly, now I'm coming back I've been as giddy as a man trying to come up with a giddy analogy other than 'goose'. I'm hoping not to spend quite as much time hungover now I'm a proper grown-up.

Hamish MacDougall has worked with Joseph Morpurgo and Abandoman, and he's now directing your show: what qualities has he brought to Willy?
He's sort of like a Great Dane crossed with a shrink. Does that paint a picture? He questions everything, forces you to calm down and think about intentions. He's incredible; they should make a statue of him. Although he'd make sure you knew why.

When are you at your most William-ness and at what point does Willy kick in?
William is prig, Willy is a prick. Well, not a prick, an idiot maybe but a happy and accepting one. I think we should all look for the Willy inside us and embrace it. Not inside us: our inner Willy … I'm just going to stop now.

How has fatherhood altered your opinion of the comedy world?
Immeasurably. It's not about you anymore. Having a kid is like watching your youth go up in a house fire, but in a nice way. It's freeing. You're just another comedy primate fussing about. You're just as important as all the other funny chimps. And that's great, the pressure goes and the work gets better.

What is your fondest memory of the Tony Carter days?
The Stand clubs. Like kindergarten if they gave toddlers beer and cigarettes. Playschool for the mentally distressed. They were so accepting. Carter was sort of an odd act: he was an unemployed guy who was forced to do stand-up to get his benefits. The fact that this character worked in Glasgow with a weekend crowd is testament to the culture that The Stand fostered and I will always be grateful.

Come the end of August, what would a successful Fringe look like to you?
Ask not what the Fringe can do for you, as what you can do for the Fringe. And don't ever ask if there are reviewers in.

William Andrews: Willy, Pleasance Courtyard, 1–26 August.

William Andrews: Willy

  • 3 stars

Man in a hat makes noise with mouth. Good things happen. As seen on Broadchurch and Peaky Blinders. Hi, It's been a while. I wrote a new show and it's good - at least I think it is. There is always a chance I'm completely deluded and should just give up and get a job making kitchen doors - because I'm good at making…