Ed Gamble promises you’ll learn nothing and leave ‘feeling like you’re a less intelligent person overall’
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20.04.2023

Ed Gamble promises you’ll learn nothing and leave ‘feeling like you’re a less intelligent person overall’

Ed Gamble
Words by Joanne Brookfield

Stand up comedians will often joke about how hard they work, perhaps it’s a good ten to fifteen minutes if you catch them in a line-up gig, or maybe they brag about being flat-out for one entire hour if you see them in a festival context.

While the audience has rocked up for a good laugh at the end of their workday, the stage is indeed a comedian’s job site. However, if you’ve ever wondered what the rest of their day might involve, training to “have the shit kicked out of me” might not be the first thing that springs to mind.

However, for Ed Gamble, that’s what he spent his day doing ahead of his chat with Beat, about his nationally touring stand-up show Electric. Preparing to take on professional wrestlers just another day in the life for this high-profile British stand-up. “I’ve spent the first part of the day being thrown around a ring,” he says of being a part of sketch comedian’s Max & Ivan’s wildly popular The Wrestling event, which has performed in Melbourne, Edinburgh and made it’s Just For Laugh’s London debut last month.

Explore Melbourne’s latest arts and stage news, features, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2C16Vv7muw&pp=ygUJZWQgZ2FtYmxl

He’s now in Australia, wrapping up his Melbourne International Comedy Festival debut at the Athenaeum Theatre this week ahead of a national tour of his show Electric, which has been a sold-out hit throughout the UK. Time Out magazine gave his “hysterical contradictions” four stars, which heads to Perth’s Comedy Festival later this month before seasons as part of the Sydney Comedy Festival and then the Brisbane Comedy Festival in May.

“It’s weird that I’ve never been to Australia, given how long I’ve been doing this for,” admits Gamble, who was obsessed with comedy as a teen,  took up stand-up when at university (“as a hobby to indulge a passion”) and basically hasn’t looked back. “It slowly became my job without me really noticing, which is I think the best way to go into things.”

Frequent television appearances, on shows such as Mock the Week, Live At the Apollo, The Russell Howard Hour, QI, Would I Lie To You, plus being a Taskmaster Champion (while the concept has just landed on Australian TV this year, the comedy game show has been on-air in the UK for almost  a decade)  have helped build his profile to the point those sold-out shows in the UK include London’s iconic Hackney Empire and the Hammersmith Apollo.

He’s also a prolific podcaster. Since 2008, Gamble has co-hosted the award-winning mega-hit podcast Off Menu with James Acaster, and this love of good food has seen him become a new judge on Great British Menu.

Gamble’s own streaming special, Blood Sugar, is available worldwide on Amazon Prime. While that show takes it’s name after the fact he discusses his Type-1 diabetes as part of that, is there a theme with Electric? “No, I am not one of those guys. I’m a very self-centred comic, so it’s about my life, and the things that have happened over the last couple of years. But there’s also, you know, a lot of stuff about breakfast,” he says.

Electric also covers his recent marriage, which happened after an extended engagement, thanks to covid lockdowns. “We had three weddings cancelled on us. So I’m talking about that and the joys of trying to have a hen and stag do, having to have those in our house, alone, just us two.”

“I like to attack shows by just writing the funniest things that I can think of at the time, rather than sticking to the theme. No one will learn anything from the show, you’ll actually come out of the show feeling like you’re a less intelligent person overall, I’d say,” he quips.

When he wasn’t performing comedy in his university days, Gamble was studying philosophy. While he jokes that “certainly all the sort of surface level facts have completely deleted from my brain, unless someone brings up philosophy in sort of a casual conversation, at which point I will grab for the two things that I remember, and then try and show off as if I’m clever” Gamble knows that learning to interrogate ideas and formulating responses has aided him in the writing of material.

“It’s a degree that lends itself to stand up because part of it is formulating arguments, albeit with punch lines. So I definitely think I unknowingly draw from a lot of that, if it’s not in the most sort of bookish and literary way,” he says.

So if philosophy is about developing an idea about the world, what’s his?  “I’m a very silly man. I’m fairly light hearted, but I’m also, being British, I’m a sort of natural pessimist because it’s in our blood. I’m also a bit of a stickler for the rules as well, and I’m quite petty. So a lot of the show, I do tend to get quite angry and het up about things that nobody really should do. There’s a lot of big topics flying around in the world that everyone should be angry about. I’m not talking about any of those!”

Ed Gamble performs Electric at The Athenaeum Theatre until April 23. Tickets available here.