5 Minutes With Simon Brodkin

You might know Simon Brodkin best as the creator of iconic characters such as Jason Bent and Lee Nelson or the serial prankster with former FIFA President Sepp Blatter and former Prime Minister Theresa May amongst his victims - but with latest stand up tour 'Screwed Up' currently making its way across the UK, prepare to enter a world of personal anecdotes and self-pointing comedy.

We caught up with the legendary comedian as he was preparing for a run of intimate shows as part of this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival and announcing a huge headline performance at Hammersmith Apollo in March 2024, to discuss social media, the pressures of keeping his show refreshing and much more.

Check out the full interview below.

Firstly – how does it feel coming off the back of a huge tour and heading straight into the Edinburgh Fringe Festival?

Like you say, I am currently at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and it is going really well. The tour has led to loads of extra dates – I think because people know me for the stunts and the characters from over the years like Jason Bent and Lee Nelson, but this time it is me just being me. Whether I’m touring or playing shows up here in Edinburgh, the goal is to make people laugh and luckily we’ve had some good reviews for both.

Is there a difference between how you approach a headline show on a tour and how you approach something like the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, or is it just business as usual?

For tour shows I’d say there are a lot more people that buy tickets off the back of seeing clips on TikTok, as well as bringing their friends along which is nice because I get to try and win over some new fans. I know that the main focus of their whole night is coming to see me when it is my name on the ticket, but at the Fringe there’s an element that people are here for comedy and that’s a subjective topic. Some people might come to the Fringe show and leave a brilliant review and some might leave thinking it wasn’t for them – but luckily I have a big cross-section of fans that are open minded. What I love about the Fringe is that one night you could be playing a 300 seater theatre to a crowd full of old people with anoraks and the next be playing in someone’s cupboard. Everyone brings their A game to Edinburgh so there’s definitely a bit more pressure to stand out from the rest.

In terms of pressure – do you think as an established comedian there is more or less expected from you?

The pressure for me is to make people laugh. If you start overthinking it you can get bogged down pretty quickly – I know I’ve written the best possible show that I’ve worked hard for and I’ve practiced it around the country, but I’ve still got to keep it fresh and exciting. When you break the tour down into legs it helps a bit because you can read reviews and hear people’s thoughts before going back on the road and know if you need to adapt any areas. I’ve spoken to people that have discovered me from different eras, some know me as Jason Bent, some have seen me throw Swastika golf balls at the President of the United States and some used to watch Lee Nelson’s Well Good Show – so it takes the pressure off a bit when you see that people already have an idea of what to expect.

You’re the most viewed British comedian on TikTok – are you conscious about not being too obsessed with numbers or trying to get that 30 second sound-bite?

I think being able to upload shorter clips has added a load of new fans, and reminded some of the older fans of my earlier antics. It is difficult to fully gauge because we don’t hand out questionnaires at the end of a show like ‘Where did you hear about Simon Brodkin?’ so it is a bit of guess work really. You can definitely drive yourself mad looking at figures, but I’m lucky that we had so much content from over the years to fill my Tik Tok and Facebook channels, and thankfully the followers and views seem to have snowballed into people filling the theatres!

Are there any venues or locations that you particularly enjoy playing?

It is always a joy how every town's got a theatre and I love how different they all are. There are some old school tiered ones like the Corn Exchange to some super cold modern theatres, and I just find it cool that people all over the country can go out and enjoy a show. For me, it is the bigger the better – the shows at the Apollo always have a special buzz to them. I’ve played there three times before as part of Live At The Apollo, but I am really looking forward to it being my names on the lights outside.

Does playing all of these weird and wonderful places keep you on your toes when it comes to social commentary?

I’m unashamedly wanting to make as many people laugh as possible, so I’m always trying to find common ground. I think most people will be aware of Harry and Meghan or Vladmir Putin, and equally I don’t think many people will jump to Matt Hancock’s defence so it is easy to rip into these people without needing to give a back story. Some of the crowd might disagree with what I’m saying, but that’s what makes comedy fun and interesting. I think most comic audiences know that the night isn’t a political rally, but more of just a place to take the piss out of others. I do it to myself – that’s why the show is called ‘Screwed Up’ – and point the finger at myself struggling with the every day.

Tickets for Simon Brodkin - Screwed Up are on sale now.

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Hey - I'm Callum. Fan of The National, collector of vinyl, season ticket holder at Leeds United, owner of Dougal the cat.

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