Interview with Al Pitcher
The comedian talks to Itchy about broccoli and electricians
Comedians can sometimes be quite repetitive. Itchy doesn't want to sound like a spoilt little brat – we struggle daily to come up with amusing material and usually end up with the comedic equivalent of frozen horse turd – but some comedy shows sound so rehearsed, so intricately scripted that it looks like someone reading an autocue.
Al Pitcher is not like that. His current show – the neatly titled Al Pitcher Picture Show – takes audience interaction to a new level; city interaction.
The brief is simple: he turns up at whichever town or city he's playing that night, wanders around during the day taking photos, then recounts the day's events on stage in the evening.
It is, he says, a ”lonely process“, but one that's very much worth it.
”I've got a lot of faith in this show. It seems to be going really well – the idea of it changing every day means you can take it to different towns and always have fresh material.“
Unlike other, possibly lazier comedy shows?
”Yeah, a lot of acts ask the manager before they go on stage what parts of town are particularly shitty or unpopular, and they then just insert that name into a gag. I can't do that - I don't have a set routine.“
Pitcher's Kiwi accent may be more familiar than many people realise - he was the voice of Fosters adverts a couple of years ago. But advertising Australian beer is certainly not the worst work he's had; after breaking onto the comedy scene in the 1999 'So You Think You're Funny' awards at the Edinburgh fringe, he went off to Ireland to pick broccoli.
”The idea was that I'd work during the day, then at night I'd sit on the balcony and write comedy.
”It didn't really work. I was so tired from vegetable picking that I was going to bed at 6pm. I look at broccoli in a different way now.“
Since returning from Ireland, his profile has steadily risen. He has played as far afield as Shanghai and Bahrain, and written and performed material for a Radio One comedy show. Of course, like any comedian, he has had his fair share of bad experiences on stage.
”I always shiver when I think of the word Norwich. I had a gig for a bunch of electricians – some corporate thing.
”Before they'd brought me on, for some reason the management had handed out loads of balloons - the ones you let go and they start squealing everywhere. 200 electricians decided this squealing noise was the best heckle ever. That wasn't much fun.“
The current show is going well. After this tour comes to an end in March he's taking it to Australia and New Zealand, before returning to the UK for a second run in October.
”There's also talk of putting it into a book - doing a map of Britain, with photos and little clips. And I'd love to get it onto the radio – some sort of interactive show. Don't know if the old folk would understand it though...“
A picture-based comedy show on the radio? Al Pitcher is certainly ambitious. Not only that; he's one of few comedians who provides fresh material on every single leg of his tour.
The Al Pitcher Picture Show comes to the Widcombe Social Club on Monday 6th April as part of the Bath Comedy Festival. Click here for more details.www.alpitcher.com