BIG INTERVIEW Tom Stade: ‘I don’t care if my feelings get hurt. You can say what you like to me’

Tom Stade. Photo by Trudy Stade.
Tom Stade. Photo by Trudy Stade.
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If you’re a millennial, it might be wise to stay away from Tom Stade’s latest show, unless you’re something of a masochist.

The no-nonsense straight-talking Canadian stand-up comic is back with his new show, I Swear, where nothing is taboo.

He’s appeared on Live at the Apollo, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, and Dave’s One Night Stand, but on the stage with the TV cameras off is where Tom can really let rip.

Once you start Tom off, it’s hard to stop him – and yes, he swears. A lot. (Imagine this liberally peppered with various words we can’t use in a family paper if you want).

Predictably he has no love for Donald Trump: ‘He may not be able to unite the United States, but he sure does a good job of uniting the rest of us. It’s crazy. It’s amazing how hate can unite people. Now we’ve got one thing in common for the rest of the world to unite about – I think he’s the perfect president for the perfect time because we needed to see how bad it would get before we needed to fix it.

‘But a lot of people are getting good material out of this guy and that’s the only thing that’s important to a comedian.’

A bunch of spoilt brats has given birth to a generation of even more spoilt brats

Tom Stade

Then we’re on to his home country’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau and how he compares to the main party leaders here in his adoptive home of the past decade.

‘He’s sexy. If Jeremy Corbyn could look like Justin Trudeau, he’d win this thing, no problem, but unfortunately we’ve got two uglies running here and we don’t know which one to pick.’

Now we’re on to the meat of the matter: ‘Welcome to the world of reality TV. This is the world we’re living in – the millennial world we’ve created. This is all the millennials’ fault as far as I’m concerned – they could have changed things. This is what happens when you think TV is reality – but now it’s coming true.’

The millennial generation was born from around 1980 to 2000 and has come under increased flak for its entitled, and some might say, selfish, outlook on the world.

‘This would never have happened 20 or 40 years ago, and I don’t really like it. I’m a Generation X guy (the generation born from the mid’60s to late ’70s), I don’t care if my feelings get hurt – say what you like to me.’

This is where I Swear, the title of his show comes in: ‘We all love a double entendre, and it works for me. Yes, I do swear, everybody who’s ever met me knows that. My kids know I swear, I taught them to swear! They swear at me, I’m fine with that.

‘But it also creates a little bit of honesty about how I feel about this world. I feel like I’m a time traveller, but I move through the world in real time. My world is the ’90s and I’m staying there. I’m only visiting this world and I don’t like it.

‘I’m not saying they’re all a bunch of weenies (millennials), but they’re changing words on me, technology is moving too fast. We live in a world of Snapchat. What even is that? Or seven seconds of entertainment and then it’s gone – you guys are like goldfish to me.

‘And the worst part about it is that we created them. Millennials are the creation of Generation X – we were the first properly spoilt generation. The baby boomers came before us, but they were slapped around by the war babies, they actually knew what violence was. Then the baby boomers came along and said: “We’re never going to do that to our children”, and they raised us, so we never got hit and we never got grounded. And what’s happened is a bunch of spoilt brats has given birth to a generation of even more spoilt brats.’

One gets the impression Tom has little time for political correctness or safe spaces.

‘Now I’m in this battle – I’m not going to worry about your feelings any more. I may not be able to hit you, but I am going to call you what I want.

‘Tell me when life has ever worried about your feelings? I’m not out to purposefully hurt your feelings, but I’m not going to hold back either.

‘Generation X was the first generation to pretty much say “screw you” to everything. We used words that were funny, we didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings, they were the words we used, and now I’m in battles with other comedians, saying “You can’t talk about that”, or say this, “It’s too dangerous – you’ll really scar somebody if you say something like that”.

‘The real battle now is that we’re living in a world now where there’s freedom from speech, which I don’t like because as soon as you say you can’t say one thing, it will lead to the next thing, and the next and the next... And then all of a sudden you’ve got North Korea and you’ve got to watch what you say everywhere.’

For Tom any kind of censorship is a slippery slope. ‘For comedians trying to deal with sensitive topics, you can’t censor that. This world is made up of light and dark, and to deny your dark side means you’ll become a victim. That’s not what life’s about – good things are going to happen to you and terrible things, and if you can’t laugh at the terrible things that happen to you – and I mean really horrible things, you become a victim, and then you’re in support groups and then you create this righteous brigade that’s going to come over the hill and tell us all what to do.

‘There’s heroes and villains and I’m a bit of both – I’m like Batman, I can be good but I also know I can be a total...’ You get the idea.

* Tom Stade, I Swear is at New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth on Thursday, October 5 at 8pm. Tickets £17.50. Go to newtheatreroyal.com.