My Comedy Hero: Burnistoun duo pick their faves
The pair pick John Candy and Vic & Bob
Ahead of their Fringe dates, Scottish sketch pair Robert Florence and Iain Connell tell Brian Donaldson about the comics who inspire them.
When I think of my comedy heroes, I can make quite a long list. My dad was a big comedy fan, so I grew up watching comedy all the time, and loved many of his favourites: The Marx Brothers, Laurel & Hardy, Spike Milligan, Alexei Sayle. But the reason I've picked out John Candy is for one beautiful performance in particular, for Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
I’ve always felt that John Candy was the master of comedic vulnerability; and comedy without any vulnerability leaves me cold. This doesn’t necessarily mean I love all my comedy to be soft or nice. You can often feel compassion shot through some of the most hard-hitting and brutal lines. I just don’t much go for comedy that is all structure and intellect. I don’t love comedy by strict design.
So, yes. John Candy in Planes, Trains and Automobiles. An acting performance worthy of an Oscar. Funny, charming, full of heart, and absolutely rooted in truth. We spend some time just with Candy’s face in that film, and he does the work of 50 of today’s improv comedy blockbusters in the space of a few seconds. Watch it again, if it’s been a while. Talent like that doesn’t come along too often.
Vic and Bob are my comedy heroes. I was a teenager when Big Night Out first showed up on Channel 4 and I didn’t just love their comedy, I wanted to be them. I wanted to be Vic Reeves. I wanted to be Bob Mortimer. Me and my pals were always acting out bits from the show, coming up with our own Man With The Stick drawings and would spend endless hours pissing about in the way we imagined that Vic and Bob might piss about when they were together.
I spent a lot of time thinking about what they might be getting up to next and what hilarious shenanigans they were doing right there and then. There is a small number of comedians who I love just as much as Vic and Bob but the fact that Big Night Out came along during those teenage years when I was eagerly looking for new things to get into, stuff that hadn’t been discovered by previous generations, stuff that me and my best pals could call our own, means that they hold a special place in my very beautiful heart.
Burnistoun, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 6–14 Aug, 9pm, £12.50–£15 (£10–£12.50. Previews 4 & 5 Aug, £7.