Mitch Benn – Interview

Published On January 16, 2014 | By Tom Sayer | Music & Nightlife Reviews & Previews

We caught up with Mitch Benn, musical comedian, radio contributor and science-fiction author, ahead of his new show, Mitch Benn – Is the 37th Beatle at Brighton Komedia on Friday 21st February, to ask him about his influences, aspirations and unusual twitter pages.
When you were a child which job did you want to do when you grew up?

Doctor Who.  And I’m MADE UP that Capaldi’s got the job if only because he’s 12 years older than me.  Back in the game baby!

Who is the funniest person you have ever met and why?

Probably my old pal Andrew Walker.  We met doing improv at University; he dabbled in stand-up in the 90s but these days he’s one of the country’s top web designers and STILL funnier than any comedian I know.

Do you think that embracing the social media, for example through your twitter pages such as “Things Greta Says”, has had a big impact on your success over your career?

I’m sure it’s helped; anything which connects you with your “base” and lets them be a part of what you do can only be a good thing.  Greta should probably start doing her own tweets now…

You are clearly a man with a wide range of talents. What new things are you looking to get involved with over the next few years?

I’m not sure there ARE many more “new things” available… I’m already doing pretty much everything I know how to do.  I’m enjoying being a science fiction author right now if only because it’s great being the New Boy again.  My first book (Terra) comes out in paperback in May. the sequel (Terra’s World) comes out in July and at SOME point I have to start writing book three…

Does Edinburgh feel more like a second hometown, being where you started your act and where you studied at University?

If anything it feels more like home than Liverpool does, possibly because Edinburgh never really changes and Liverpool’s changed A LOT since I were a lad.  Mainly for the better, I should point out.

What was your favourite thing about university?

The Bedlam Theatre.  It’s the university theatre and the students run every aspect of it, from the artistic side to the technical to the admin and building upkeep.  FANTASTIC training ground for life in the arts.  So many of my contemporaries have gone on to do great things.  I was SUPPOSED to be studying Spanish & French but I spent more or less my whole time at Edinburgh in the Bedlam.  Amazing place.

Do you have a specific place that you like to work on new material and do you have a tester who you try out new stuff with before going public?

The thing is most of my stuff is written under crippling deadlines so I write wherever and whenever I have to…  And a lot of it is written for the radio so the first time anyone hears it is when it’s broadcast to three million people…

Who were your big inspirations for musical comedy and do you try to keep up to date with what your contemporaries are doing in order to keep things fresh/ avoid any repetition?

My initial inspiration was Tom Lehrer (look him up); I help to run a thing called The Distraction Club in London which is a musical comedy night, so I’m getting to see a lot of musical acts now which is great as previously I hardly got to see any.  They don’t tend to book more than one musical comic on the same bill.

Are there any other music comedians that you would like to collaborate with in the near future?At The Distraction Club my band and I (Mitch Benn & The Distractions, hence the name) do one-off collaborations with our headline acts which are some of my favourite moments on stage.  We’ve had almost everybody we want on now… Still a couple on the wish list…
What is your new show about and why should people come and see it?

It’s called “Mitch Benn is the 37th Beatle”; I grew up in Liverpool in the 70s, sort of during the fall out from the Beatles era and I have all sorts of vague connections to the Beatles myself; the show’s about the Beatles, the people who were NEARLY Beatles or extra Beatles and it looks at just why the Beatles are still as important as they are.  Oh, and it’s funny.

Tickets available here

About The Writer

Tom Sayer is a Music and Creative Writing graduate from Bangor University, born and raised in Hove. After completing an MA in Composition for Film he returned to his hometown and dived back into the local music scene, seeking out the best and freshest music to write about for welovebrighton. Tom's musical interests range from Acoustic and Indie to Film Music and Jazz and he hopes to one day write for a music magazine, so feel free to send in your job offers!