Tom Allen: The smartest comedian on the circuit? Absolutely!
Tom Allen’s unique style of sharp, acerbic wit and camp, riotous storytelling has seen him sell out shows all over the country. Due to phenomenal demand his ‘Absolutely’ tour has now been extended with a performance at the Wiltshire Music Centre on December 7th.
Here, Tom talks to Craig Maplesden about his career, supporting the likes of Michael McIntyre and Sarah Millican as well as his choice in attire.
Hi Tom, many thanks for taking the time ou to chat to us. You’ve just started your new 34 date ‘Absolutely’ Tour which comes to the Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon on Dec 7, tell us about what audiences can expect from the show?
Well actually I’ve been on this tour since last year so it’s actually a 150 date tour but I am over the moon that it keeps getting extended and this has meant I get to come to Bath! It’s a show about me trying to be fabulous but still having to live with my parents. It’s about the pressures of modern living but it also covers getting invited to a hen party, experiencing road rage and a mis adventure on a water slide.
I understand that you started your stand-up career at the age of 22. Was this always the dream or did you have alternative aspirations when you were younger?
I used to think I wanted to be an actor but I didn’t like having to wait around for someone to ask you to be in something. I guess I’ve always really loved telling stories and I love it when someone has a good anecdote. But when I was growing up it felt like stand up was full of straight men in smokey bars and I thought I wouldn’t fit in with that. But thanks to role models like Victoria Wood and Jo Brand and Alan Carr it felt like that started to change.
You made your breakthrough winning ‘So You Think Your Funny’ in Edinburgh and the BBC New Comedy Awards. Did you need any convincing to put yourself forward for these competitions?
Yes absolutely. I didn’t think I was a stand up I just talked a lot and told stories and said what I thought was funny. I wasn’t telling one liner jokes or whatever. But I’ve learnt that if you can connect with people and make them laugh that’s all that matters really.
You’ve supported the likes of Michael McIntyre, Sarah Millican and Romesh Ranganathan to name a few. This has taken you all over the world. How do audiences differ in different countries and do you have to tailor your shows at all?
My tailor is the same for all of my shows. Is that what you meant? Oh I see – sorry – no I think it’s important to talk sincerely about how you see the world from your shoes. If you tailor it to different audiences then I’d say there’s a risk that you don’t offer anything from yourself. You are the best dressed comic on the circuit.
How many suits do you own and was the look created or do you prefer more formal attire?
Well that’s a very kind thing to say. I’ve always really liked wearing suits since I was a kid. Which I think my parents always found kind of strange. Wearing a dinner jacket to the supermarket isn’t always welcomed in Bromley when you’re 9. I think in a way it’s a form of drag. I always want to seem like I’m a grown up. So I wear grown up clothes. I own about 15 suits. I’ve always been inspired by clothes from the 1920s and 30s I think because I watched a lot of black and white films growing up. I was an unusual child.
As a teenager, you were the youngest member of the Noel Coward Society.Have you modelled yourself a little on him?
Well I think as a creative person he managed to step outside of the norm and sum up a version of the world at the time. I guess that’s what a lot of creative people want to do. I admire that he had such a distinct style and worked hard all the time. A life lived to the full – wouldn’t that be something?
How are you taking to touring, have you found out anything interesting about yourself?
Oh certainly! I’ve found out that some motorway service stations are better than others. That one in Gloucester, Oh my goodness it’s like some sort of paradise. I still think about their chocolate and oat cookies.
If you could ‘style’ a fellow comedian, who would it be an why?
I wouldn’t dream of changing anyone. They are who they are – that’s what style is.
You’ve had a busy 2018, culminating in the tour. What does 2019 have in store?
A short holiday and then back to writing a new show!