Ahead of his upcoming UK tour, Carl Marsh quizzes Welsh standup, Glee Club resident promoter and Buzz interviewer of yore Robin Morgan about going from comedy journalism to comedy star.
As well as a blossoming standup career, you’ve also done scriptwriting for radio and TV – and you also act, most recently onscreen in Kenneth Branagh’s This England. Which of those was your route into the entertainment world?
Robin Morgan: It started with standup. I was always a standup fan. In 2007, I went to the Glee Club in Cardiff to watch Russell Howard, who was doing some new material; they had a sign saying “bar staff needed”, and I got a job working behind the bar. At uni, I did Politics and History, but all my friends were doing Journalism, so I wanted to do some journalism as there was a student newspaper there. So I then did work experience at Buzz.
Did you? I didn’t know that ahead of this interview. Let’s come back to this bombshell in a few moments…
Robin Morgan: I did comedy reviews and interviews [for Buzz] for like a year and a half around 2010. Then in 2010, I did my first gig – because I met someone at the Glee who ran Drones at Chapter Arts Centre. So, that was my first gig. A couple of years later, I saw an audition for panellists for a Radio Wales show that Ruth Jones’ company did, What’s The Story?, and then I ended up writing on that. I then slowly started writing for Radio Four and then for TV.
Standup is like my pure one love – that’s what I got into it for – I do a lot of writing, which sometimes takes over the standup side of it. I often wonder whether standup will soon have to be put on the back burner, but I’d miss it too much.
So was working at Buzz your stepping stone into this world via those comedy interviews and reviews?
Robin Morgan: Yeah! Honestly, I did work experience because I was applying for Cardiff University’s journalism postgrad thing, that I then deferred as I thought I would give standup one year and see how it goes. Then, I convinced the editor at the time that I could continue doing what I was doing whilst also becoming the comedy editor. He just said, “whatever, do what you want” [laughter].
I remember calling Sean Lock in my parents’ bedroom, just shit-scared – I could not believe I had his number. This was insane. As a comedy nerd, which I think deep down is what I am, I feel very lucky doing what I am doing.
And doing what you are doing now, have you ever met any of the guys you interviewed through Buzz?
Robin Morgan: Yes – one of my first reviews, and what got me into doing longer form shows, was a standup called Tom Wrigglesworth; weirdly, we’re both on the same bill at the Glee this Thursday [at the time of the interview]! He’d taken his Edinburgh show on tour, I think it was called Open Letter To Richard Branson. It was this true story of how he’d been on a train journey and had seen a little old lady get fined for having the wrong ticket, so did a whip-round and got arrested for begging on this train. It was this beautiful thing that made me cry – so funny, warm, and heartfelt.
I wrote a review for it, and then the next time he was down, he was reading a copy of Buzz whilst I was doing some tech in the directors’ box at Glee. He saw my name and said, “oh – that was really nice.” Imagine if I’d properly slated it! [Laughs] It would have been awful.
So, I’ve met a couple of them through that sort of thing. Russell Howard was the first person I’d ever brought tickets to see, and then during lockdown I supported him on one of his up-and-coming gigs because he was getting stuff ready. It feels like there are lots of bits and bobs now, as well as being interviewed for Buzz. It really is a nice full-circle moment!
Robin Morgan: Snip Snip, Bitch, The Perch, Swansea, Wed 15 Feb; Glee Club, Cardiff Bay, Wed 19 Apr. Tickets: £12/£10. Info: here
Robin also hosts All In Comedy every Thursday at the Glee Club. Info: here
words CARL MARSH
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