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Comedian Alasdair Beckett-King: ‘I reject the title King of the Nerds’

Comedian Alasdair Beckett-King, winner of the Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year in 2017 – who has performed across the UK, at Glastonbury, Citadel Fest, the Udderbelly Southbank and at the Fringe – will soon be coming to Cambridge.

Alasdair Beckett-King. Picture: Edward Moore
Alasdair Beckett-King. Picture: Edward Moore

With a raft of viral YouTube hits and multiple appearances on Mock the Week under his (vegan leather) belt, Alasdair is thrilled to return to his first love – stand-up comedy – as he takes his hit show The Interdimensional ABK on the road.

Here, Alasdair answers eight questions about superheroes, the secret to luscious locks, and why you should come and see his dimension-hopping show live at Cambridge Junction in May.

What is The Interdimensional ABK all about?

My name is Alasdair Beckett-King, and ABK are my initials. Basically, they don’t let you work in showbiz if your name is too long. That’s why Benedict Cumberbatch had to shorten his name, which was originally the entirety of Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky.

I’m an interdimensional comedian, and this show is about moving from the “A timeline” (freedom, optimism, adventure) to the “B timeline” (paper cuts, climate change, Noel Edmonds). If you’ve spent your whole life in the B timeline (AKA, the real world), you’ll know how hard it can be.

I come from the A timeline so I get to make jokes about all the best and worst things in our world, from an outsider’s perspective. So there’s silliness, whimsy, and absolutely several proper jokes. We’re talking double figures, easy.

What was the inspiration behind the show?

Schopenhauer said we live in the worst of all possible worlds. And he was right – but what a downer. I created this show because I wanted to spend some time in a better world. And I also wanted to make my own animated theme tune, in the style of a 1980s Saturday morning kids’ show. Which is the most self-indulgent thing anyone has ever done, but it turned out quite nicely.

Who should come and see The Interdimensional ABK?

I’m really on the lookout for a wealthy patron and/or secret benefactor who will bankroll more of this nonsense. If that’s you, please send your valet to my lodgings ASAP. As a struggling artist, I could die of consumption at a moment’s notice.

Apart from rich philanthropists, my target audience is people who notice misused apostrophes, but don’t make a fuss. People who are still boycotting Nestlé, but can’t remember why. People who would spend a night in a haunted house but would definitely be the first one to die. Normal people are welcome too.

Alasdair Beckett-King. Picture: Edward Moore
Alasdair Beckett-King. Picture: Edward Moore

If you could import one thing from happy, sunny timeline A what would it be?

In the A timeline, pubs are required to have their names on the premises: the Red Lion has to have a red lion, the Rose & Crown must have a rose and a crown. This is the rule I would import here to the B timeline.

So there could only be one King’s Head; blacksmiths would have to insure their arms against theft, and so forth. Eventually, all the animals would be taken and all the tradesmen and aristocrats dismembered. Then pubs would have to name themselves after things they already have. You’d have The Wasteman’s Arms, The Hole in the Toilet Wall. It’d be great.

Who is your favourite interdimensional superhero?

I’m a huge fan of the Green Man, who came to our dimension as a powerful demi-god representing nature and fertility. Now he’s just in charge of traffic crossings, locked in a timeless struggle against his nemesis the Red Man. You can help him by pressing the button every time you pass one of the crossings.

Side note: While writing this, I found out those crossings are called puffin crossings and now I’m furious. Pelican crossing – fine. Zebra crossing – no problem. Puffin crossing? No way.

Your comedy shows could be described as ‘nerdy’ in places? Are there niche references in The Interdimensional ABK?

I reject the title ‘King of the Nerds’ and accept only the humbler title ‘Lord Protectorate of the Nerds’. There are no intentionally niche references in my show. Most of the material is about regular stuff like Winston Churchill’s love of the band Queen, or why Hercule Poirot pretends he can’t speak English.

The only thing I’ve actually had to cut for being too niche was – quite surprisingly – a reference to Shaggy’s 2000 single It Wasn’t Me (feat RikRok). Spoiler: it was, in fact, him.

The world needs to know, how do you maintain your lustrous locks?

The truth is I have no secret haircare regimen. I just use normal, cheap shampoo and conditioner. But I’ve learned that this truth is unpalatable, so I’ve prepared a more interesting lie...

During my travels in lands of ancient mystery, I came upon this passage in a sacred grimoire: “For Locks that shyne as yf oyl’d and haire that curles a comlee Syghte, take thee Een of Catte ’twixte Leafes of Oliue and Willow and presse thee the Mylke thereof”. And the secret is to never put that stuff on your hair.

You’re set to visit Cambridge. Is there anything you’re looking forward to?

I’m very much looking forward to visiting Cambridge, famously the home of over 12 branches of Costa Coffee. I’m also looking forward to seeing Jesus Green, named by someone who was really surprised by the colour green.

Alasdair Becket-King will be performing at Cambridge Junction (J2) on Saturday, May 6. Tickets, priced £18, are available at junction.co.uk. For more on Alasdair, go to abeckettking.com.

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