WitTank come to Fareham’s Ashcroft Arts Centre

Comedy troupe WitTank. Picture: Idil Sukan
Comedy troupe WitTank. Picture: Idil Sukan
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They have been described as ‘three of the most witty and talented sketch comedians of this decade’.

WitTank are Mark Cooper-Jones, Naz Osmanoglu and Kieran Boyd. They come to the Ashcroft Arts Centre in Fareham on Thursday, December 6, from 7.30pm. We caught up with the trio ahead of the show to find out more.

When did you first realise you were funny?

NO: I used to find myself very funny as a child then adolescence happened and, to be honest, that was difficult. I was quite unfunny and unpopular. However at university I started stand-up and sketch comedy and it all sort of worked out from there.

KB: I always enjoyed making my friends laugh at school, but I’d also recognised it as a handy tool for extricating myself from tricky situations and potential beatings, and to compensate for my deficiencies as a sportsman (a fatal combination of aggression and inaccuracy, I’m afraid).

MCJ: I think I first thought I was funny when doing a Noel Coward play at school. There was a line in which my character walked in at a moment of total chaos and foolishly cried ‘What’s going on? Is this a game?’. The audience laughed and I felt happy. Of course at the time I attributed it to my performance though it was much more likely to be down to Noel Coward than some mediocre schoolboy actor.

What would you be if you weren’t a comedian?

NO: I literally don’t think I could do anything else. I always wanted to be a scuba diver as a kid but when I tried that it was quite complicated and there lots of things to remember... Perhaps a pirate? I like swords and burying treasure quite a lot.

KB: A volatile athlete, I suppose.

MCJ: A Geography teacher. I happen to be qualified as one.

Name three things that make you laugh

NO: 1. People talking to their pets in silly voices.

2. The word ‘bollard’ tends to make me chuckle. Just say it out loud. ‘Bollard.’

3. My dad trying to do things. I find this funny because usually he can’t.

KB: 1. The laughter of a baby. One that’s properly losing it. The more innocuous the cause, the better. It’s very infectious.

2. News reporters smiling and nodding along during foreign language interviews they clearly don’t understand.

3. People falling over. I believe this to be hard-wired.

MCJ: Pessimism, idiocy, and other people’s misfortune. Pessimism because I just find the idea that some people insist on looking for the worst in every situation utterly tragic and comic at the same time. Really both idiocy and pessimism link to the third one: laughing at other people’s misfortune. I think I tend to laugh when I realise that my position is better than the person’s I’m watching. It makes me feel good about myself and I therefore laugh. Is that sadistic? Possibly.

What’s your favourite one-liner?

NO: People laughed at me when I said I wanted to be a comedian. Well they’re not laughing now... – Bob Monkhouse.

KB: It’s an unprintable one from Gary Delaney.

MCJ: I bought some Armageddon cheese today. It said on the packet ‘Best Before End’ – Tim Vine.

Who’s your biggest hero?

NO: My mum introduced me to Monty Python as a kid and I loved it. Then slightly later on my dad’s friend John played me Derek & Clive Live (with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore). I instantly adored Peter Cook and have loved pretty much anything he has ever done. Also, the first stand-up I ever saw was Richard Ayoade. I was 14 or 15. He has also greatly inspired me.

KB: I think Dylan Moran is brilliant. His turns of phrase are like poetry.

MCJ: Probably somebody like Harry Enfield. I Couldn’t get enough of him growing-up and I think a lot of what we do now is in that vein.

We’re big fans of big faces, stupid voices, and general silliness.

· Tickets to WitTank’s Ashcroft show cost £8 from 01329 223100 or ashcroft.org.uk