Dominic Holland: '˜There's worse in life than being Spider-Man's dad'

By his own admission Dominic Holland knows this is an unusual situation.

Monday, 17th July 2017, 3:18 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:04 am
Dominic Holland
Dominic Holland

As a successful comic, he won the 1993 Perrier Best Newcomer Award in Edinburgh, and was a TV regular for the next decade or so.

He’s now bringing a preview of his new Edinburgh show, Eclipsed, to the Spinnaker Comedy Club.

The show’s backbone is about Dominic’s relatively new role as father of one of the world’s hottest film stars. His son is Tom Holland, the titular star of Spider-Man: Homecoming, the latest blockbuster addition to the Marvel universe.

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‘It’s kind of based on my book which was also called Eclipsed, which is all about how a kid inadvertently became a movie star,’ says Dominic. ‘I use Tom as a spine to the show, to kind of put my life into context.

‘The reality is I’m a 50-something comic, father of four. I’m a certain comic of a certain demographic and it’s harder and harder to make a living, but I have this incredibly illustrious son who puts it all into perspective.

‘I’m a successful stand-up, but the reality is I’ve not done comedy on TV in 15 years. I’ve not been booked as a funny person for TV for 15 years, and that’s tough, when you are able to do comedy, but you’re not allowed to do comedy.

‘But there’s no rancour on my part, that’s just how things go – the industry moves young. So I sort of present my show with where I am in the world, but underpinned by this piece of good fortune that my little boy Tom has become this very successful showbiz person.’

The book the show is in part based on was originally published in 2013, but Dominic says he won’t be continually updating it.

‘I haven’t accounted for how Tom got the part of Spider-Man in the book. The book takes you up to The Impossible, which was where Tom was really launched in Hollywood.

‘I wouldn’t be comfortable if I said to Tom and the rest of my family “right, I’m chronicling you for the rest of your life”, because I don’t think that would be attractive and let’s face it, it would become a bit one note.’

Dominic’s no big fan of superhero and fantasy epics either – he’s not a Marvel fan and he’s never seen Star Wars.

‘I don’t really get these high concept films. I really enjoyed Iron Man though, I thought that was very clever, and I really liked Robert Downey Jr’s comedy, I thought that was very funny, but when I watched the big Avengers film with all the crashing and banging and walloping, and the buildings falling down, I tend to go “no no no no!”

‘But I’m loving my little boy being in it, and he’s loving it, and I can understand how kids are completely captivated by it, but I’m less understanding of how adults are so obsessed by it.’

Last week Dominic appeared on the current affairs show The Right Stuff, where he was billed as ‘Spider-Man’s dad.’

‘I’m going to have to get used to that. In the show in Edinburgh, I think it’s going to be easier for me because more people will know already. At the moment I have to do it as a reveal. At the moment I can’t come on and go “my son is Spider-Man”, they’ll just think it’s another joke.

‘I’m old enough and bright enough to know it’s something I can’t control – I will be Spider-Man’s dad, and I’m all right with that, it’s a great thing. In showbusiness, it’s worse than having no hook at all.

‘The worst thing you can do is just be a funny bloke going to Edinburgh, because there’s lots of funny blokes out there.’

While Dominic was an Edinburgh regular early in his career it’s now been a decade since he last took a show there.

‘I do feel it’s been a long time coming – I’d been wanting to do it for a while. But now the timing’s been perfect, with Tom’s movie coming out, the stars have aligned and it’s a really obvious time to do it, and I’m getting a bit of attention because of Tom.

‘You can definitely say I’m getting more publicity because of Tom than I would normally, but if I smash the room, then you can say that I’m worth it.

‘I’ve just got to make sure that my show delivers on the promise – it’s definitely a unique show, and I’m not ready to give up on stand-up.’

Angela Barnes will also be presenting a preview of her Edinburgh show on the same night.


Spinnaker Cafe, Gunwharf Quays

Thursday, July 20