Ten Big Questions… Noel Faulkner
Legendary stand-up venue the Comedy Café is 20 years old this summer. The club's promoter, Noel Faulkner answers our Ten Big Questions.
What can people expect from the Comedy Café's twentieth anniversary celebrations?
We have a great line up over the summer - Ed Byrne, Harry Hill, Ricky Grover, Bob Mills, Lee Mack, Tim Vine, Simon Brodkin and Paul Tonkinson amongst others are all dropping by. Then in the autumn, we have the great Daniel Kitson and friends, conjuring up a mad cap evening of his creation. All these comics have offered their support as this is one of the clubs they started earning their bread and butter in.
What was the comedy scene like when the club started?
There were only about eight clubs worth playing. Come to think of it, there are still only eight clubs worth playing. Comics just wanted to be good, they didn't care if they were on the telly. We had what we called the 'comedy police' who were women in sensible shoes who would shout 'SEXISTS!' whenever the word breast was mentioned. Also, we served cold beer which seemed to be a novelty twenty years ago and still is in some West End pubs.
What have been your favourite moments at the Comedy Café over the last two decades?
There was this gorgeous waitress and she said to me… no I can't go into that now! Let's see… ah yes, watching people like Harry Hill, Lee Evans and Daniel Kitson do their first gigs here. There was a little magic in the air.
What are the best and worst things about being a comedy promoter?
The best: I can't be fired from my own club.
The worst: 20,000 e-mails from comics that are not quite that funny, and drunk customers who you can't reason with.
When MCing the club, what gets you in the mood to be funny?
My anger! America spent a million dollars a minute on the Iraq war which we supported and it was just murder. With that kind of money we could have given every person in Iraq and Afghanistan a million each and a new donkey and ask them to behave but no, we want to beat them into submission. Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity!
What's the most memorable heckle you've ever received?
A girl once said 'He's not funny. He wrote all those jokes himself.'
Who or what makes you laugh?
Charlie Chaplin, the Wilson, Keppel & Betty sand dance and my bank manager.
What's your favourite children's joke?
Q: What kind of cheese do you use to get a bear out of a tree?
What are your biggest fears?
I once spent twenty two days on a sail boat with a broken mast in a hurricane, going from Panama to Key West, Florida… I have no fears.
Complete this sentence: 'A man walks into a bar…'
…and says to the barman 'Give me a double whisky. I haven't slept in 3 weeks.' The barman asks 'Why?' and the man replies 'It's my wife, she thinks she is a refrigerator.' 'What's wrong with that?' asks the barman. 'When she's asleep at night with her mouth open the little light keeps me awake.'
The Comedy Café's twentieth birthday celebrations continue over the summer months.