Interview: Douglas Walker – 'Comedy and tragedy are the same thing seen from different perspectives'
Solo performer and member of improv group Racing Minds, comedian Douglas Walker explains his German show titles and why a popular yoghurt dessert might hold all the answers
This article is from 2016.
Last year's Fringe was a very good one for fresh Scottish talent such as Richard Gadd, Fern Brady and the Best Newcomer-nominated Larry Dean. Meanwhile, their compatriot Douglas Walker's success was the very epitome of flying under the radar. His Möglich (German for 'possible') featured him holding his head in a bucket of water to make a point about artistic sensitivity, delivering a routine on torture and producing some satire of the comedy industry in a show that was compelling or knockabout one moment, and uncomfortably icky the next. This year, he's giving us Komischer (German for 'strangely').
But first things first. Why has he chosen German as the source tongue for his solo show titles? 'I doubt I'll do more shows than there are words in the German language, but they have compound words too, so that's an avenue if it gets close. I like German because it has connotations of the uncanny and off-kilter, which suits my comedy: French for sophistication, Spanish for adventure, German for weird.'
Weird is certainly one word to describe his solo material (he's also part of the Racing Minds gang, doing their improv thing this year at the Pleasance Dome). Many acts weakly equate oddness with humour, and it's clear that delivering a strange show which hits the target is a lot harder than it looks. Walker hit the target time after time during Möglich.
'That show was sort of about how comedy and tragedy are the same thing, just seen from different perspectives. So there had to be some tragedy as well as some comedy, and I tried to slide from one to the other, in both directions, to play with how a tiny change could make you see it totally differently. Komischer is not as dark. I don't think so anyway. It asks the question, "why would you write a comedy show unless you think you're the funniest person around?" If you'll forgive the mild spoiler, the answer is mostly to do with Müller Corners.'
Douglas Walker: Komischer, Just the Tonic at the Caves, 6–28 Aug (not 15), 5pm, £5 in advance or Pay What You Want.