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Larry Dean: ‘I find nothing funnier than hearing an English person attempt a Scottish accent’

As has been the case with a number of comedians, I first became aware of Scottish comic Larry Dean on BBC’s Live at the Apollo, and the likeable star has seen his career go from strength to strength ever since he was crowned Scottish Comedian of the Year at the age of 23.

Out Now! and Farcissist, his 2015 and 2017 offerings to the Edinburgh Fringe, were nominated for a Foster’s Comedy Award for Best Newcomer and Amused Moose Comedy Award for Best Show respectively, while Larry’s 2018 show Bampot was nominated for the biggest award at the Fringe: the Edinburgh Comedy Award for Best Show.

Comedian Larry Dean. Picture: Matt Crockett
Comedian Larry Dean. Picture: Matt Crockett

As well as Live at the Apollo, Larry has appeared on popular programmes such as BBC2’s Mock the Week, ITV2’s The Stand Up Sketch Show and BBC1’s Michael McIntyre’s Big Show. He will take to the stage at the Junction, presenting his latest offering, Fudnut, on February 24.

“Confessional storytelling at its funniest,” enthused The Herald, but what does Larry himself have to say about it?

“The main thing about the show is it’s two years late!” he laughs. “The show originally was to do with relationship-y break-up stuff, but it was coming from me when I was single – I’m not single any more.

“So right now the show is really just all the funniest bits that I’ve come up with over the past couple of years. It’s difficult to go, ‘Oh, the show is about this, or it’s about this...’ because it’s not a film, it’s a comedy show – so there’ll be jokes.”

Does Larry add bits in each night, depending on, for example, audience reaction and what’s happening in the news?

“Yeah, I do have a kind of set list of what I’ll talk about,” he says, “but I’ve just gone through videos on my computer – I’ve been videoing every gig – and I never stick to it because I always get distracted by something in the room, or somebody in the front row and end up having a chat with them. I know some comedians are mean to the front row, I tend to just try and have a laugh with them...

“That’s the thing that you always remember from gigs anyway; if you go from one gig to another and ask me what’s the difference, I won’t be saying about what I’ve said, I’ll be saying about the people I’ve met or the audience interactions I’ve had.”

Our interview took place on the same day that legendary Cornish comedian Jethro passed away.

Comedian Larry Dean. Picture: Matt Crockett
Comedian Larry Dean. Picture: Matt Crockett

“I wouldn’t say he was one of my influences – I don’t think I’m anything like him at all – but he was the king of the one-liner that you would go, ‘Right, I need to remember that. I’ll tell my mates that when I see them’,” says Larry, who cites Richard Pryor, Robin Williams, Billy Connolly and Jim Carrey as his main influences.

“When I started comedy I was living down south and he [Jethro] used to gig quite a lot in the Devon and Cornwall area, and he’s obviously a legend there.”

On the subject of ‘down south’, one of Larry’s talents is voices and he does a very funny southern English accent – much like fellow comedian/countryman, Kevin Bridges.

“I’ve always been good at doing voices,” he notes, “but I didn’t really do it on stage, mainly because I always feel it takes a bit of extra guts to start doing voices on stage sometimes.

“It’s not just a thing of getting a joke wrong, because a voice is not the joke – it’s to add to the joke – so say if I did an impression and it was rubbish and I told a joke with that impression, then it would make the joke bad as well. If someone hears a joke in a bad accent, they’re too busy going ‘What the hell is that accent all about?’”

Larry, 32, adds: “I’ve a few English mates that have said to me that they find nothing funnier than a Scottish person doing an English accent. It works both ways though because I find nothing funnier than hearing an English person attempt a Scottish accent. It’s so rare that they’re any good at it.

“I think though that it’s easier for a Scottish person to do an English accent because more people on the TV and on the radio are English so you’re more used to hearing that accent... I mean I’m better at doing an American accent than I am at doing a Norwegian accent because I definitely hear a lot more Americans than Norwegians...”

Larry Dean will be bringing his latest show Fudnut to the Junction’s J2 on Thursday, February 24. Visit junction.co.uk. For more on Larry, go to larrydeancomedy.com.

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