Focus on: Comedy Club 4 Kids

Comedy Club 4 Kids turns 10 this year and resident MC Tiernan Douieb tells us all about it

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Comedy Club 4 Kids
Published 03 Aug 2015

Hi Tiernan, how are you?

Good thanks. Apart from being trapped indoors by pollen. As in hayfever. I'm not super weak and weighed down by plant gametes. How are you?

In a sentence, what’s Comedy Club 4 Kids?

What it says on the tin, a comedy club, that's for kids, and isn't in a tin.  

What’s the point in that? Children don’t ‘get’ comedy, right?

They definitely do. Children laugh at more things than adults do on a daily basis. We're proper grumps in comparison. Often people presume kids only laugh at slapstick things or physical comedy but that's mainly because that's what they're fed on TV. They very much get wordplay, punchlines, etc. as long as the subject matter is in their field of understanding. From my experience they usually understand a lot more than some adults! 

A wise man once said, ‘Kids say the funniest things’. Is that true?

Yeah to an extent. Children usually, effortlessly, come out with brilliantly funny things, but it's not always on purpose to be funny. Either way you can still spend ages crafting a joke and then a small boy will tell you he'd 'like to invade Finland, because his brother is called Finn' and you'll wonder what the point of trying is.

Are you smarter than a 10-year-old?

Yeah,  but it depends what on. On driving a car? Yep. On maths? Probably not. On drinking? Yep. On the complexities of human existence? Probably not. 

Do you ever get heckled by kids, or are they more polite than their parents?

All the time but it's not really heckling, as it's rarely malicious. It's usually just something in their brain they need to shout out. Like when a little girl held her hand up for 20 minutes just to tell Nick Doody he looked like a "half dinosaur, half fish".

You’ve had quite a cache of talent performing with you over the years. Are comedians particularly good at communicating with children, and can we read anything into this?

Not all of them are, but there are a good amount that are naturals. Some because they have kids. Some, like me, because we're hugely immature and have never really grown up. You should totally read things into this. We have a job where we have to look at things differently to everyone else. Kids already look at things differently anyway as they haven't been indoctrinated into society yet. We're essentially the same. Just that they don't have beards. Yet. 

How did you get into performing comedy for kids? And do you prefer it to performing for adults?

I got asked to do it by James Campbell (original founder of CC4K) as he'd seen my adult material and thought it'd work for children. Which I took as a compliment at the time, oddly. Turns out he was sort of right, but it took a little while not to be terrified of doing the shows. Kids make no qualms about letting you know if they're bored. Not sure I prefer it to performing to adults. It's just nice to have a different outlet for material. Kids get all my silly jokes about snot and pets. Adults get all my grumpy stuff about the world being a mess, and lots of swearing. Having the two types of audience keeps me almost sane. Almost. 

Imagine you’re 10-years-old. How would you make the most of the Fringe?

Firstly I'd wonder where my parents were and how it came to be that I was allowed to run amok by myself at the world's biggest arts festival. Then I'd watch Comedy Club 4 Kids every day at 4.15pm because even at 10-years-old, kids are much more savvier at PR opportunities than you think. Oh, and watch the penguin parade at Edinburgh Zoo as often as possible. 

Imagine you had a 10-year-old (do you?!). How would you make the most of the Fringe?

I don't have kids, yet. But if I did, the Fringe is an amazing place for children's entertainment. This year there are tonnes of good comedy shows for kids: Abigoliah's Go Pro Comedy Show, Comedy Sportz, Martin Mor, Lee Kyle, Funz and Gamez Tooz, Jay Foreman and James Campbell. There's magic from Morgan and West, circus shows, theatre, and I've even seen kids flamenco lessons in the programme. I'd take them to loads of shows so when they returned to school their 'What I Did in the Holidays' presentation totally ruled over all their classmates.