What happens when an Englishman (Barry Castognola), an Irishman (Andrew Stanley) and a Scotmsman (Mark Nelson) try to topple each other for laughs? Hilarity in the last Punchline Comedy tour that brings top comics from the UK on Asian tours that stops off in Beijing on November 22-23 and Shanghai from November 24-26. We chat with the Irishman about bombing Edinburgh Fringe and why the English and Scots envy the Irish.
Welcome back to China. How was your past visit and what are your plans for this trip?
It was great fun! I always have a wonderful time when I get to visit China and do these shows. Not only are they great crowds but the cities are great places to hang out!
For people who might not know you, how would you describe your stand-up style?
Very interactive and high paced. If you sit in the front row you'll definitely have a story to tell the next day!
How did you get started doing stand-up and who were some of your comedic inspirations?
I went to Edinburgh Fringe and thought I could do that and so spent months and months building up to my first five minute spot where I was terrible! At the time I loved Billy Connolly, Eddie Murphy and Brendan O'Carroll who is now best know as Mrs Brown!
The show is being dubbed as “An Englishman, An Irishman and A Scotsman.” As the Irishman of the three, what would you say are some funny trueisms about the Scots and the English?
How much they think they are as funny as Irish people! Realistically I think they just both secretly wanna be Irish!
You’re the MC at Dublin’s Comedy Cellar. Over the past year, have you had any memorable interactions with the crowds and how do you handle hecklers?
It's such an interactive night that usually people who get involved want to and so they come up on stage, they dance if they can, they do songs/raps whatever takes their fancy!
Has Brexit affected your stand-up at all and do you find the issue has infiltrated the comedy scene at all?
No not at all! They'll never truly get rid of us from their country!
Besides stand up, what are some of your other projects that you’re working on?
I'm currently doing a big campaign with Coca Cola with regards to their fantastic designated driver campaign and then I go to tour Oz for a couple of months in the new year for the comedy fests there.
China has a budding stand-up scene, what advice do you have for those starting out?
Just keep working and writing. Eventually you'll find the voice you need to develop into who you want to be!
Speaking of those early days, do you remember the first time you bombed? How did you react to it?
Yup. First gig! I was so naive that I didn't even realise it had gone badly!
Following the China tour, what are your plans?
Head home for some Xmas shows in my favourite clubs and enjoy some down time. It's been a busy year so good to unwind!
Is there anything you would like to add?
Just come out and see the shows! These two comics are not only great comedians but also really good friends of mine so you're guaranteed a great night!
Beijing: Nov 22,8.30pm, RMB240. The Garage.
Beijing: Nov 23, 8.30pm, RMB240. The Hilton Hotel.
Shanghai: Nov 24, 8.30pm, RMB290. The Exchange, see tickets.
Shanghai: Nov 25, 8pm, RMB290. The Camel, tickets.
Shanghai: Nov 26, 8pm, RMB290. Blossoms, 2/F, Kerry Hotel Pudong, tickets.