Tell us about you/your act.
My act is very anecdotal laced with gags and one liners. It never used to be this way but over time I managed to develop a very natural and loose presence and learned that my stories were actually interesting to people. (Most … not the people of Rochdale.)
My style is very basic/mainstreamy though, I must admit. I myself am quite against the grain but the foundations of my act are familiar. Less Vanilla more Salted Caramel.
How did you get into comedy?
I got into comedy at a super young age as my dad used to watch a lot of panel shows and Lee Evans DVDs. I was hooked straight away as the idea of making people laugh as a job just seemed insane. I am super shy too so it seemed like more of a challenge I wanted to face.
I first stepped on stage to DO comedy when I was 15. I begged my English teacher to let me do a set as part of the school’s presentation evening. I can’t remember my material, which I’m thankful for.
What’s the best gig you’ve ever had?
The first Blizzard show was a personal highlight (and im not just saying that!) Its hard to choose a ‘Best’.
There’s one at the Glasgow Stand, like 300 students in on a Tuesday and they were the nicest people but energetic as *insert appropriate word here*.
Performing my first ever solo show too, I’ve never felt so free on stage, I had a sit down wee to celebrate.
You last performed at Blizzard nearly a year ago. What have you been up to since then?
Since my last appearance at Blizzard, I have done a whole lot of eating, drinking and sleeping.
I’ve put together a hour long show too which has always been a dream.
Other than that continuing to work, travel and upset middle aged men in villages all over the country.
How did you get into sketch comedy?
University. I was always a big fan of sketches but it wasn’t until uni that I found friends who wanted to make sketches and motivated me to create content with them.
How do you decide which of your ideas are going to become a sketch and which are going into your stand up sets?
This is pretty easy for me as the sketches I write are way more adventurous and abstract than my stand up work. With stand up my material is designed to appeal to as many people as possible but with sketches, I’m purely in it for myself.
What’s your favourite thing about working in comedy?
The money. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Who is your favourite comedian we’ve never heard of?
What challenges have you faced working in comedy?
You have to put a lot in and get virtually nothing back for a long time. Giving up all my time and money to pursuing this has been really hard on my mental health, but I’m now starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel which is great.
Oh and racist crowds (see: Rochdale).
How do you think that comedy as an industry can better address these issues?
I’m not sure if it can? It’s pretty clear as a nation that we just want to make things worse so like let’s burn it all to the ground, I guess?
You don’t shy away from talking about personal topics on stage. What is your trick to finding the funny side of serious stories?
I think how I’ve made it work is that I only talk about stuff I already see the funny side to. I never try to find the funny in something that to me doesn’t seem funny. A lot of the personal things I talk about are things that I know are kinda deep but I’ve always felt okay to make light of in my normal life because I just don’t care about it enough… Maybe I will one day and I’m just delaying a serious crisis I’ll get aged 34, but for now let’s just laugh at the brown kid!
What appealed to you about being part of a show like Blizzard?
I knew it was run by lovely people with good heart and intention. I’ll never turn down a gig where the promoters go above and beyond to make nights really nice and comfortable for everyone in attendance, act and audience.
Aside from appearing at Blizzard, what have you got coming up that we should look out for?
Always check out the YouTube channel Somali & Me for sketch content.
And I’m taking my show The Untickable Box to the Edinburgh Fringe 2020… It’ll be at 3:30pm at Gilded Balloon at the Museum every day!
Come see me at my day job too if you want? I could always use the company.
Tony is performing at Blizzard on March 30th.