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  • hello and welcome to ways to change the world.

  • I'm Christian Gary Murphy, and this is the podcast on which we talked to extraordinary people about the big ideas in their lives on the events that have helped shape them.

  • What do they believe?

  • What turns the morning?

  • How do they feel about the world around them?

  • On my guest today is a comedian, Ivo Graham.

  • Now I thought, We don't have many comedians on this show, and normally when we do, I'm able to say you know so and so from X or whatever it is.

  • But the world of comedy has changed so much.

  • I could just say Ivo Graham, and you may have seen you on YouTube or on TV or on podcasts.

  • That's exactly the sort of thing it just a bit of a random spread of stuff.

  • But not an extraordinary person would have to nip that in the bud immediately.

  • Find hope so.

  • I mean, it's it's very nice.

  • Is it a stable with you on be treated if my take on the world had a change is of any worth whatsoever.

  • But I'm 29 I'm a stand up comedian, and I think both of those things invalidate me quite a lot.

  • Oh, on the contrary, I mean the fact that your standup comedian most people want to know your take on things.

  • Well, yeah, increasingly, I'm not entirely sure I'm comfortable with that thing.

  • Sense that.

  • I mean, I do obviously see the value of ideas conveyed through jokes off being very subtle ways to get into people's heads on often far more effective than a slightly drier the discourse.

  • But I don't think that I Any of the stuff that I've done has really moved things along in any of the big areas.

  • But maybe maybe that's still to come.

  • I mean, what what is your comedy mean?

  • You know, you're not a political committee and I mean, what are you an observational comedian?

  • I'd have to say it's a mixture off, you know, lots of different things, but rooted essentially around, uh, autobiography.

  • It's always autobiography.

  • It's either the bravest or the laziest, I think former stuntman doing in my case, it is probably the latter because every year I trudge back up to the end of fringe Andi, I do another hour basically about what's been going on over the last year on how it's made me feel on dhe.

  • Uh, I enjoy that because it becomes a form of diary keeping almost and a form of self examination, and then other stuff comes off the back of it.

  • There's usually a bit of topical stuff that was happening in the world, and, you know, observational comedy is such a hard thing to do.

  • If you get even close to one of those, you know, you know what it's like when moments you know you've struck riel paydirt.

  • But I don't have too much of that.

  • I had a bit about wireless headphones, which I thought was quite relatable a couple of years ago, but they're few and far between.

  • But there's a lot more in your own life in which I find it extraordinary, actually, because you're very lucky then to find that much in your own life that you could write about because I'm constantly asked, not constantly, but regularly asked, you know, by publishers and things, you know, to write a book.

  • Yeah, and I'm I'm so scared of writing a bad book, and I kind of think my life isn't that interesting.

  • It's not interesting enough yet to write a book.

  • And I'm nearly 50 for you to be able to move my understanding, your point running, agreeing with you.

  • I would think that for you to be able to mind your own life on a pretty much daily basis come with new material is great.

  • Well, yeah, I suppose so, I think.

  • But the crucially, it's the fact that I've been able to make a now hours worth of it funny every year and then divided up into the tunnel 20 minute chunks on a you know, every night of the week.

  • That's the main thing.

  • It's not that my life is such an interesting story.

  • It has to be told it's that I've worked with these quite, uh, rudimentary raw materials and thought a lot about any sort of angle I can put on top of them.

  • I do think that I went to eat and freaks, for example.

  • We're not ready, for example.

  • It's the only example on the main thing.

  • Um, I went to Eton as a teenager for five years and that it became very obvious to me very early on that that was something quite potent to explore partly, I think teenagers in general are such a nostalgic thing to go over one self and also quite a nostalgia thing for people to listen to because it reminds maybe of their own formative, hormonal nightmares on DDE.

  • Uh, but particularly a teenager spent in this, uh, institution which has so much about it, which people find interesting or problematic or downright offensive, and and learning how to work with that.

  • I also then went to Oxford, which is obviously also somewhere an incredible privilege.

  • But actually after return, that's basically throw, you know, instead of people you don't talk about your university days ago.

  • Well, I've sort of, you know, even basically covers it in the hole.

  • You know, I'm a 20 scale, but you decided to sort of, you know, come out.

  • You know, it's an Eastern boy quite early on.

  • In fact, to be honest, the first time somebody draw drew my attention to you.

  • They said, you know, you know, he's he's really funny.

  • He does this whole thing about how he went to eat.

  • Yeah, well, I mean, that's that's very nice of whoever that waas please pass on her.

  • Thanks.

  • Um, for spreading the word and I think I did realize and you, you know it is, you know, ultimately not cynical.

  • But, you know, that's how it works.

  • You know, it's good if you're going to say anything about what your act about rather than just He's just another on particularly in the sort of young male stand up of which there are so many having any sort of us Piot all on being able to then explore the experts in answer to play with stereotypes.

  • And I certainly started off leading on quite lazy sort of boarding school stereotypes, some sort of rogue teachers.

  • It's set for it where it's actually a disappointingly sort of innocent time at school, actually, but you can you can ramp up that sort of thing.

  • I remember doing for about a year doing stand up where I talked about being posh because I knew I sounded passion.

  • If I had to acknowledge that, and then I'd say I went to an all boys boarding school because that immediately comes up a certain amount of stuff and say things like, I went to an all boys boarding school.

  • I'm not ashamed that it, you know, made me who I am today.

  • Insecure, repressed and very good election.

  • Greek on dhe, stuff like that.

  • It's come to quite easily to write on Dhe makes a lot of sense immediately to people.

  • But Eaton was the one that felt for a while, like well, but I couldn't actually say that because they people will laugh.

  • Well, boys boarding school Where Still Bill just hate eaten.

  • Did you actually learn to do comedy at school?

  • No, he's not at all.

  • I was I think that's where I developed a sort of fantasy about it because it was so attached, you know, bit being funny anywhere.

  • But particular school is so attached to be a popular and being confident.

  • And you're in the class clown.

  • No, not at all.

  • And there were some on DDE.

  • They're still, you know, a little bit like a sort of, you know, a boy was bigger than you.

  • A speech or two years old and he was a teenager.

  • Well, with summer always interview at the same school, somehow always be superior to you in your mind.

  • Similarly occasional bump into people who were those very dominant social figures and abundant now as adults And despite the fact that you know, I've got a bit of something of my own going on, I'm still absolutely deferring to them as well.

  • Less night.

  • Every everything I ever learned was from sitting silently in the back of a history class on watching you amusingly, you know, try to throw Mr Proctor off track.

  • There were there were funny people, and it was an environment that really turned that into a hierarchy.

  • Quick, quick, and a very surprised that you've become a grand feeling delightfully upfront about how utterly surprising they found it.

  • But then there are other people you know of a couple of friends, artist teenagers, actually, usually people outside of school with the ones I really started to try and like, make laugh.

  • Probably because it was outside of school.

  • Everything was, you know, it's set in stone at school if you you know, if you're popular, 13 you're popular and 18 and if you're popular, if you're unpopular, it's art in your apartment.

  • Is there's very little social mobility in between, whereas other friends I made sort of, you know, midway through that process secret.

  • Okay, maybe I'll try in a slightly different identity will be a bit bolder, and they boosted my confidence.

  • And I know it went to university, didn't know anyone, and that was where I started.

  • Stand up and then it's slightly snowballed from there.

  • And then he did the refrigerator full of times while I was a student, and by the time I'd finished it university, I was lucky enough to have an agent and a few gigs in the diary that I was getting paid for.

  • So I was just about a viable career opportunity from them.

  • When you started that sort of that first gig e mean you'd written it all, had you?

  • Yeah.

  • I mean, it was only five minutes, which obviously when you've never done it, is yeah.

  • On also, stand up.

  • Come.

  • It's It's amazing how quickly a funny comedy set can expand.

  • Andi, how much?

  • None for anyone.

  • Cancan contract time wise.

  • And you know, to this day, um, it's amazing how you're having a good time in the gig and maybe on anecdotes going well.

  • And so you're sort of throwing a little details I hadn't even planned to.

  • And your chip you're chatting to the audience and that sort of going well.

  • And suddenly you look at your watch.

  • Newman is it's it's time to go on Dhe.

  • You've, you know, even even harder for 1/3 of what you meant to or you are having a terrible time.

  • You're just rushing through your plan.

  • You're sort of mentally eliminating every, you know, in your in your head you've got you've got the old reliables on dhe, this sort of supporting materials you've got, you've got the big punch lines and you got the stuff that if people really like you, they might laugh about as well.

  • And as soon as you start dying, all of the small of it's just go immediately and so you're you're set, becomes goes from 10 minutes to five minutes, and then you and then you wonder Run, then that obviously creates its own problems.

  • Because you've been unprofessional in Yemen, don't promise you, but you have to get off when you're seven minutes is done.

  • I watched a couple of your videos on online and just striking.

  • That's quite often comedians would just stop by you.

  • Just tell a joke, then you go, and that's probably enough for me.

  • Goodbye.

  • And you can get that was a bit abrupt.

  • Yeah, well, I mean, the problem is you're often working within quite tight spaces and you're getting light flashed you and, uh I mean, it would be a beautiful thing if you could, uh, in the comedy set exactly at the point where everyone in the audience feels it should end.

  • Everyone, you know, like a dinner party.

  • Everyone said exactly the right amount of food, and they're all satar than delighted.

  • But the fact is, that will be some people who were quite enjoying it and feel it's a bit of corruption of some people who wanted you go about 10 minutes ago.

  • So you are, I suppose all you can really do is try and end on your best bit and your biggest laugh, because that creates a natural financially.

  • You'll often see people saying before the last bit saying, Oh, maybe, you know, and this is the, you know on.

  • I'll leave you with this or one last thing.

  • I'll tell you about this and that's, you know, one of these shameless little psychological tricks of essentially, uh, reassuring people either reassuring ones who are hating it, that where it'll be over soon.

  • So if anything, maybe try and enjoy this one because it's your last chance.

  • Or if people are enjoying it a great deal.

  • Just saying, Well, this is your last chance to really lean into it because the worst thing is to suddenly Russia or too suddenly fortune and disappear and then leave people with that slight sense of his.

  • He say, God, that was a bit weird.

  • Did he Did he get upset?

  • You?

  • No way did we do something wrong.

  • But then to do it in too much of a slick package, I think Han look just a tiny bit too rehearsed.

  • Have you had comedy mentors?

  • Every night you get a different mental, usually because you share a dressing room and often a car Jenny with different people.

  • There's four of you on a bill.

  • You know, three or four of you will go together to save on petrol on dhe.

  • So you get immediately thrust into these constantly rotating environments of people with totally different backgrounds and life stories, and particularly served.

  • The gig has bean, you know, well booked to reflect a range of life stories.

  • Otherwise, it's just me and my three other Oxbridge chums, but particularly starting and I was 18 or 19.

  • It wasn't just the introduction to the world of comedy.

  • It was the introduction.

  • Just tow.

  • I don't have in general that I was suddenly getting the wisdom, the optimism, the pessimism, the weariness of people who had worked and lived for 20 years more than me on dhe.

  • Some of them would lecture you in a slightly condescending or vicarious way.

  • Some of them wouldn't really talk to you at all.

  • Some of them would just enjoy that slightly avuncular role you be.

  • So it's it's It's an unbelievably supportive industry.

  • That's really what's one of the best things about it, I think, because that's not what you'd expect.

  • You know, people want it to be, uh, bitches, how I think there is resentment, jealousy, insecurity bubbling beneath the surface and not too far from it in a lot of cases.

  • And I think there is a backstabbing and picturing in some cases I've never, of course spoken in of a fellow professional, but I know it happens what's happens.

  • A dangerous, encrypted medium, Um, but broadly.