Interview - Imran Yusuf
The comedian brings the thunder to our questionnaire
This article is from 2011.
The former games designer is now one of the UK’s biggest comedians, though he’s still enough of a video game nut to want the Super Mario Bros theme tune at his wedding
First record you ever bought
Single - ‘Sesame Street Remix’ (1992). Album - Wu-Tang Forever (1997).
Last extravagant purchase you made
My leather jacket which is a somewhat modest £150. I’m not into extravagant things, as long as I have my video games, I’m usually OK.
First film you saw that really moved you
Armour of God, in which Jackie Chan plays an international kung-fu treasure hunter. There is a scene in the film where he says, ‘When I was a kid, I dreamt of being a hero, saving people, doing good deeds.’ As an 8-year-old, I felt that was my dream too.
Last lie you told
Probably something to do with why I hadn’t done my homework when I was in school.
First movie you ever went on a date to
I’ve never been to the movies on a date, it’s not a good idea. What’s the point of staring away from each other when you’re trying to get to know one another?
Last time you cried
When my cousin mysteriously passed away in his sleep a few years ago. He was only 26 and had so much to look forward to.
First thing you do when you’ve got time off work
Plan other projects, play video games, go on holiday.
Last great meal you cooked
Vegetable pasta, it’s all I know how to cook!
When I was 20, I was totally infatuated with, and was convinced I was going to marry, Natalie Portman. She was interviewed in Marie Claire and I bought it and hid the magazine in my bag in case someone saw me reading a woman’s magazine and made other assumptions!
Last book you read
Belching Out the Devil by Mark Thomas. I’m currently reading his book on the arms trade.
First great piece of advice you were given
When I was 14, my history teacher, Mr Wright, said, ‘information is power’ and it left an impression on me. Later I would learn that ‘information is potential power’ and that it is taking action that counts the most. Either way, he was right, and it was probably the most valuable thing I learnt at school.
Last time you were star struck
I get a little funny when I meet comics I grew up watching and now get to work with because they were part of the inspiration that helped me become a comic. But I remember being a bit star struck when I met Mark Thomas, not because he’s famous, but because of how important his work is.
First thing you’d do if you ran the country
Reinvent the mechanism of civilisation by focusing on what we can achieve by sharing rather than being greedy. That or give everyone free ice cream.
Last meal on earth - what would it be
First song you’ll sing at karaoke
‘You Can’t Touch This’ - MC Hammer.
Last time you exploited your position to get something
When I was 22, I tried to quit my job because there was no future for me at the company I was working at. I handed in my notice and they offered me a promotion instantly.
First time you realised you were famous
I don’t really feel famous, but after I got onto TV people starting stopping me in the street and asking for a photograph, which is always a little embarrassing. I still feel like I’m a new open spot who’s trying to make it.
Last time someone criticised your work
All the time, sometimes it’s constructive criticism, sometimes it’s just pure hate. I love what I do and my life is pretty awesome these days, so I take it in my stride and smile.
First three words your friends would use to describe you
Persistent, creative, no-nonsense.
Last time you made an impulse buy and regretted it
When I was 15 years old, I swore that I would one day own the Killer Instinct arcade machine. When I was 21, I worked for Midway Games who published the game in the arcades, so I bought the guts to the machine from the San Diego office, had it rebuilt into a giant home console all for about £700, played it five times and put it in the attic.
First concert you ever attended
Video Games Live at The Hammersmith Apollo in 2007.
Last time you bought someone flowers
I sent flowers to a fan of mine who underwent a liver transplant, however they did not permit flowers to be delivered to the hospital and so her mum had to take them home until she was well enough to be discharged.
First object you’d save from your burning home
Last funny thing you saw online
Probably a video of someone falling off something.
Stock movement at Debenhams at a pre-minimum wage of £3.26 an hour when I was 16.
Last person in the world you’d sleep with
Are we actually talking about actually sleeping? Because if we are then it’d have to be someone who snores too much or takes up too much space.
First word you spoke
I’d imagine it was something like ‘ma’.
Last crime you committed
Probably a heart I stole …
First song at your (potential) wedding
The end theme to Super Mario 64.
Last song at your funeral
Probably something from Naruto [a Japanese manga series].
First person you’d thank in an award acceptance speech
To all those who believed in me.
Last thing you recommended to someone
My friend’s new ethically-sourced and vegetarian pizza business - Karma Free Pizza in Rayner’s Lane, Harrow.
First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning
What time is it?
Last thing you think of before you go to sleep
How much sleep can I get tonight before I have to wake up?
Imran Yusuf – Bring the Thunder, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 3-28 Aug, 7pm. Previews 3-5 Aug, £5.