Comedian and cook George Egg uses power tools to whisk up dinner in new show
Comedy and cookery combine in a brand new show from the aptly named George Egg, who aims to raise a laugh by using unconventional methods and unexpected equipment in his unique stand-up show. Jenny Lee finds out more
STAND-UP comedy with real food, cooked live using power tools, and then the audience eats it at the end? It sounds like the perfect recipe for a good time.
Last year English comedian George Egg brought us his show Anarchist Cook, about cooking in hotel rooms. This year, in DIY Chef, following a health scare, Egg has been banished from the family kitchen, on doctor's orders. But relocated to the garden shed, his imagination and resourcefulness lead him to build an improvised kitchen there instead.
During the show George will prepare a breakfast, a lunch and a dinner using, among other things, a wallpaper stripper, a heat gun, a paper shredder, power tools, office equipment, hair-dressing appliances and gardening implements.
The show enjoyed a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Festival in August, and aims not only to raise a laugh, but inspire and instruct audience to think divergently and act resourcefully.
Who were your inspirations for this show?
Gosh, from the comedy world there's so many – Eddie Izzard, Morecambe and Wise, Tommy Cooper, Laurel and Hardy. And from the world of food – any chef who's genuinely passionate and loves what they do. Jamie Oliver of course is inspirational, as is his mentor Gennaro Contaldo (who's the most hilarious natural clown as well as a genius in the kitchen), Ray Mears and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. I'm also really into what cook and activist Jack Monroe does as her whole schtick is about repurposing and coming up with innovative solutions.
When did you first think about combining power tools and cooking?
Well I came up with this idea when, after the massive success that my first show, The Anarchist Cook, enjoyed. I realised I needed to do another cooking show in a new environment. I'm big on DIY in real life, so it just made sense to start raiding the tool cupboard.
Had you ambitions to be a chef when you were younger?
Not really. I was always into cooking, but my heart was set on being a performer. It's so nice to have been able to combine the two.
Do you cook like this at home?
You know what? In all honesty, yes I do. Well, to an extent. There's tools in the show which seem silly in the first instance, but actually they really make sense. You can't generate the concentrated heat you get from a blow torch with anything in the kitchen and equally a hot air gun does things that you can't recreate with conventional equipment.
What is your favourite dish to whisk up?
My favourite cook-at-home-with-tools recipe would be a toasted cheese and cauliflower sandwich, with pickled golden sultanas, made with a metal special edition CD box (Eurythmics, I Need A Man is ideal) and a blow torch.
What is the most versatile power tool in the kitchen?
The wallpaper stripper is pretty good. You can do a lot with steam.
How are your DIY skills at home?
Outstanding. Excuse me for blowing my own trumpet, but I'm very handy and have completely rebuilt my house from the inside out.
Favourite place to shop – DIY store or supermarket?
Oh, goodness. Supermarket. I'm always first to volunteer for food shopping. Last Christmas I think I visited four different supermarkets in one day leading up to the big one.
How do you use the hairdressing appliances to cook during your show?
I won't give anything away, but hair straighteners and curling tongs both get hot.
Can you sum up your show in five words?
Interesting, inspiring, innovative, funny and delicious.
As well as your shows in Belfast, I see you are also performing in Armagh as part of the Armagh Food Festival – will you will performing with their famous Bramley apples?
Ooh, I didn't know about them. I'll have to look into it. So perhaps.
:: George Egg: DIY will be performed at Belfast's MAC Theatre on September 22 and 23 at 8pm (Maclive.com) and Armagh's Market Place Theatre on September 23 at 2.30pm (Visitarmagh.com).