Skip to main content

No results found

Culture, Comedy

Tom Allen:

The World From His Shoes

divider
Sam Bennett
Tom Allen The World From His Shoes Main

Tom Allen is on the Scottish leg of his Absolutely tour when I speak to him. I perhaps unfairly associate comics with cynicism, so don’t really expect the level of excitement he shows for his present surroundings. “I'm in Ullapool looking out at the most fabulous view. The sun's out and it's absolutely incredible – stunning.”

He says that touring has its logistical challenges, “like when you're running to change trains at Doncaster – I don't know if anybody's good at that”, but he likes visiting the various locations.

He’s just enjoyed some “amazingly done” langoustine (with his support act Jake Lambert) from Ullapool’s Seafood Shack. “Things like that you just have to appreciate – the little moments. You have to be in the moment, I might spend all of next week on the motorway, but now it's lovely. And to be fair, I always enjoy going to different places, and audiences are always very lovely; so even if it's not as fabulous as today's journeying, it's still always worth it.”

A healthy wedge of his routine is about the fact he lives with his parents.

Apparently he is getting closer to moving out, though to do so could be perilous. “If I leave home, what am I going to talk about? Don't worry, Sam,” he adds, “I've got other material.” He’s also concerned about the company he might lack living elsewhere. “What am I going to do, live on my own? I'm always a bit scared of being a bit lonely.” Someone in his profession has days of the “strange, topsy-turvy” persuasion and works at night. “If I'm living on my own,” he asks, “who am I going to talk to all day?” As things stand, he can pop downstairs in the morning and chat to his mother “about the Food Network or whatever's on in the background”. All that said, “Maybe it would be healthier if I had a bit more space – I don't know.”

Bake Off

We talk about his recent gig presenting Bake Off: The Professionals, he was joined in hosting by former Great British Bake Off contestant Liam Charles. “Liam's so impressive – he's so young and he's done so much.” As a stand-up, he says, you always have a joke ready to dish out. So what was said by him on the show was possibly more planned than what was said by the “very natural” Charles. “He's got such a natural enthusiasm and warmth about him – and he knows so much about patisserie and baking, and yet was always keen to learn.” Regarding the chefs who competed, “hardworking and inspiring” are his choice words. “You want to gee them along,” he resumes, “and give them something to laugh about if they’re having a bad day. You want to get to know them as well. I think, for the people at home, it's more than just a cake show; it's about who these people are and why they’re so passionate about what they do. Some of the chefs had moved to the UK without speaking any English, and they'd got jobs in hotels and restaurants and just worked their way up to master craftspeople.”

Back to the live stage

I ask whether stand-up can get too political. “Stand-up is representing the world from your shoes,” he says. “If you feel you need to talk about the state of politics, I think people will connect with that. And if a comedian talks about it from their own perspective, how they experience something, I think that's very powerful.” However, he continues, he would be unlikely to encourage comedy of the illiberal kind. “Comedy is about being generous and learning to understand each other in a kind way, a human way.”

He wonders what I’d based that question on. I tell him I don’t know, before inarticulately pointing out that some big things have happened politically, and questioning whether there’s such a thing as overkill when it comes to comics talking about them. “Oh, I see,” he responds quite kindly. “Well, I suppose, yes, sometimes audiences can show a bit of fatigue with something. But I think it's our job to make whatever we're talking about accessible and enjoyable. Laughing always makes us take a step back from the situation, and look at the situation objectively.” In turbulent times such as these, he opines, it’s all the more important to talk about and explore certain subjects “in an open way – and hopefully we can learn to understand each other a bit more”.

Tom Allen: Absolutely is at London Palladium 23 November.

Tom Allen The World From His Shoes Red Tie

RECOMMENDED

Fri 22 Mar 2019

Educated Brewing

Oxford Beer Week 2019

Oxford’s Local Breweries produce a very wide range of beers from the traditional to highly innovative modern beers that compare with any in Britain today.  The primary aim of Oxford

Fri 22 Mar 2019

In October 2019, at Milton Keynes Theatre we will be celebrating our 20th birthday – we know, we don’t look a day over 18, do we…! It’s a landmark occasion, and we are inviting everyone to help us celebrate.

Thu 21 Mar 2019

Alexandra Burke

The Bodyguard Tour

Milton Keynes Theatre is delighted to announce that Alexandra Burke will return to the starring role of ‘Rachel Marron’ in the international smash hit production of the award-winning musical The Bodyguard. Since winning the fifth series of The X Factor in 2008 Alexandra Burke has sold more than one million copies of her debut single, Hallelujah, in the UK, played leading roles in the West End and, in 2017, reached the final of Strictly Come Dancing. Alexandra returns to the role of ‘Rachel Marron’ following her triumphant run in the show in both the West End and the subsequent sell out 2015/2016 tour. Read her interview, here.

Thu 21 Mar 2019

The Future’s Bright 

the Future’s Female

To be a woman with a pen in your hand has always been an act of daring. For these women, holding their pen was on a different level, as they began to pave the way to the literary landscape we see today.