Comedian's Comedian podcaster Stuart Goldsmith is Belfast-bound
Attracting millions of downloads for each episode, the Comedian's Comedian Podcast finds host Stuart Goldsmith quizzing comics about their craft. David Roy speaks to the Bristol-born stand-up about recording a special live edition at the Belfast Comedy Festival
COMEDIANS discussing their comedy seems like an obvious idea for an interview show. However, stand-up Stuart Goldsmith started the Comedian's Comedian Podcast in 2012 because no-one was asking his peers the kind of questions he needed answers to.
A circus school-trained juggler and street performer with a degree in theatre, the Bristol-born performer was just a few years into his own stand-up career when he launched this in-depth inquest into the comic mind.
Now, some 219 episodes and 7.5 million downloads later, the Comedian's Comedian Podcast is one of the top-rated podcasts in Britain and the north, attracting big name guests including Jo Brand, Russell Brand, Stewart Lee, Sarah Millican, David O'Doherty, Bill Burr and Patton Oswalt while also highlighting new talents.
"I love learning things," explains Goldsmith of why he created the show.
"I'd been doing stand-up for about five years when I suddenly realised 'I've done all of this training throughout my life, but I've never even done a workshop for stand-up'.
"There was nothing out there for people who had already been doing comedy for a while, so I decided to create something of my own.
"I approached (veteran English comic) Simon Evans about giving a masterclass – and he said 'God, no!' But we ended up having this great chat for two hours about his craft and how he tells longer stories which include these very short, precise jokes.
"As I walked away afterwards, I was already wishing that I had taped it."
Thus, Stuart Goldsmith became the Comedian's Comedian, regularly interviewing his fellow funnymen and women about what they do and how and why they do it in an appealingly empathetic manner.
"I think the success of the podcast is due to the fact that I'm pursuing my own line of inquiry – there's no producer getting in the way of my goals," he offers.
"Of course, there's no-one there to improve them either!
"What I can't help but do on the podcast is to put myself in the other person's shoes and think to myself, 'what would I worry about if I was them?'
"So, I asked Russell Howard 'when you're playing the O2 in front of 16,000 people, what's it like to come off stage – because I'd be worrying if that was good enough?'
"He said, 'yeah, absolutely: you walk off and go 'ooh, was that all right, was that good?', which is a million miles away from what most people imagine happens after a big gig."
Impressively, Goldsmith has also managed to maintain his own award-winning stand-up career alongside the podcast (and indeed alongside recently becoming a father): his current comedy show Like I Mean It debuted at the Edinburgh Fringe last month, where he also performed a special one-off set.
Everyone's A Comedian consisted entirely of untested material submitted by his non-comedian podcast listeners.
"Oh man, it was so much fun – I genuinely think it was a 'world first'," he enthuses of the latter show, which was recorded for broadcast on an upcoming edition of the Comedian's Comedian.
"I got them to send in stuff that had never been performed and never would be performed otherwise. I got a friend to collate it all and it was handed to me literally just as I walked on stage.
"It was a whole hour of crowd-sourced comedy – and it was electric."
Having just wrapped up the British tour for Like I Mean It, next up Goldsmith will be visiting Belfast to record one of his occasional live audience podcasts, which will find him interviewing Hole in The Wall Gang leader Tim McGarry at Crescent Arts Centre Cube on October 4.
I asked the host how he selects which guests will get the live treatment:
"Between chucking out new episodes, researching the next ones, editing the show, writing my own jokes and trying to be a dad, the process by which I plan the live episodes is very much reactive rather than proactive," explains Goldsmith.
"I had got chatting to Tim when we did The Blame Game together last year. He's so lovely, he's so funny and he obviously knows such a lot about comedy that I thought it would be great to come back and interview him sometime.
"So, when the organiser of the Belfast Comedy Festival got in touch and asked us if we fancied doing a live interview, we immediately suggested Tim McGarry.
"I can't wait to talk to him."
The Comedian's Comedian Podcast Live is at Belfast Comedy Festival on October 4 at Crescent Arts Centre Cube. Tickets £8.50 via Belfastcomedyfestival.com.