News & Insights 15 June 2008

Del Boy’s Funeral

Idiots of AntsToday I spent the day as a ‘supporting artist’ for my good friends Idiots of Ants, who were beginning ten days shooting for a collection of comedy sketches to be shown on E4 this August. Idiots of Ants are Ben Wilson, Elliott Tiney, James Wrighton and Andy Spears – most of whom I went to university with.

I remember a conversation I had with James when they first formed about 18 months ago, talking about the parallels between comedy and music. Having spent a number of years working as jobbing actors and putting up with the endless frustrations associated with it, I think part of the impetus for the guys was to have a little more control over their careers.

It’s something I’ve seen a number of my actor friends do to cope with the frustration of an overcrowded industry and, whilst comedy obviously won’t work for everyone, those who can do it and are so inclined at the very least get the satisfaction of writing their own material and booking their own gigs on their own terms. But, as with the music industry, the big challenge is to translate that passion and personal drive into something sustainable – something that can fulfill you and also make you money.

The Idiots discussing the sceneIn that sense Idiots of Ants are in a very strong position. They were the darlings of last year’s Edinburgh Fringe, selling out every one of their shows on the Pleasance Courtyard. Tickets are already on sale for this year’s run (also on the Pleasance Courtyard, at 6.20pm daily) and are available here. This year they’ve been featured on BBC’s The Wall as well as on Radio 4’s Loose Ends. Recently, their sketch Facebloke notched up more than a million views on YouTube.

Jimmy and me outside the pubSo, my day today was spent firstly in a pub in Stockwell filming reactions to the death of one Del Boy, who died tragically after falling through the hole in the bar and smashing his head on an ice machine. The scene featured outstanding beard acting from Jimmy as Uncle Albert.

This afternoon we were at a house filming a fancy dress party where all the guests have come in suits (as assassins, waiters, Blues Brothers, undertakers etc) – all except for Elliot…

Today’s sketches, together with five or six others can be seen on E4 as part of Funny Cuts in August.

In the meantime, here’s Facebloke:

Boys in black at the partyElliott Tiney is a weird naked indian.

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