Performer: Simon Jablonski Photograph by: Rob Baker Show: Love Venue: Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters Wee Room Promoter: Indie Online: Box Office
Tell me about your Edinburgh show.
It’s a journey through the warm, fecund fields of love that begins in a public toilet. I’m basically trying to evaluate my failings by talking about love. But with jokes.
Tell me about your first gig.
Jesus. It was an open mic night where they don’t tell you when you’re on. It starts at 8pm and I eventually went on at 10:40pm. So I was shitting it for the entire night. Every time the MC said “next up is…” I crapped myself. So that for the entire night. I also got really drunk so don’t actually remember very much.
Do you have any rituals before going on stage?
If I’m doing a lot of new stuff, then chain smoking and muttering to myself. I once tried a sort of meditation technique, but I realised just before I want on the fragility of the ego and the futility of stand up comedy. So now I just have glass of Pinot.
Tell me about your best and worst review.
When I was in a band we were reviewed by Monster Magnet in Kerrang. They said “These guys need to know what it feels like to be fucked up the ass.” Which was charming.
During this Edinburgh run, do you plan to read reviews of your show?
Yes, sure. People come up to you after shows and tell you what they think, so it’s just that, but written down.
How do you feel about reviewers generally?
Good reviewers have seen a shed load of acts so are well placed to tell their readers if your act is worth the bum ache. But publications don’t usually have sufficient budgets to pay these sorts of reviewers. In principle reviewing is an important part of getting your show talked about. In practice, I’m not sure comedy publications have the finances to support the next Kenneth Tynan.
In April 2018, YouTube comedian, Markus Meechan (aka Count Dankula) was fined £800 for training his girlfriend’s pug dog to do a Nazi salute with its paw, in response to the phrase ‘Gas the Jews’. Do you believe Meechan committed a criminal offence, and why?
I don’t really know enough about the law. If saying ‘gas the Jews’ is a criminal offence, then yes (and he was saying it, not his dog). If it isn’t, then no. There’s a lot of misguided talk in comedy at the moment about free speech that uses a notion of freedom adopted from an American libertarian tradition rather than from a British liberal tradition – which is fine, so long as you understand that when you talk about freedom you’re using a very specific understanding of freedom. This right wing use of the term freedom is usually just a thinly-veiled means to give value to hate speech. Freedom is as much about protecting people from the tyranny of others as it is about protecting your right to open your mouth. And that Count Dankula is chummy with Tommy Robinson suggests the defence of “it’s just a joke” is utter bullshit anyway.
Are there any subjects that are not suitable for comedy?
I always say “don’t punch down”. I reckon you can do a joke about anything or anyone so long as you stick to that. Otherwise it’s bullying.
Have you ever gone too far?
I’ve had a couple of complaints from audience members. But I’m pretty sure I haven’t. You got to tread the line.
Looking back over your time as a comedian, tell me about the best gig of your career.
My first gig. I can’t remember all my mistakes.