He’s spent three years away from the Fringe but now Terry Alderton is back with a brand new show All Crazy Now, loosely based on his BBC Radio 4 series.
Ahead of his return to the Fringe, I caught up with Terry to discuss what it’s like to be coming back, what people can expect from All Crazy Now and whether or not he’d ever return to EastEnders.
You’re returning to the Fringe after three years away, what’s brought you back?
Several things really. Because I was in EastEnders and I came out of that and I was a bit lost. Once you say “I’m not doing stand-up anymore, I’m going to do a bit of acting.” you drop the ball or whatever the cliché would be.
Then of course I came out of EastEnders because Patsy Palmer left early and it caught me unawares and I came out feeling quite redundant with life. I felt a little bit lost. But it just so happened that Richard Melvin had pitched a show to BBC Radio 4 that they liked which he called Terry Alderton’s All Crazy Now which I was like “OK fine” then we went away and did it. Then we did a second series. And hopefully we’ll know soon if we’ll be doing a third.
It’s only because I said “Let’s go out and test the water now that the radio show’s been out” and it did really well. It was really well received and the ten shows we did that I said “Let’s go to Edinburgh” and within that time Richard had become my agent as well, not just my producer.
I thought, let’s turn it into a 55-minute show ands give it a bit more chaos and see how we go, which is why we’re going back.
Your Fringe show this year is also called All Crazy Now, is it based on the radio show?
It is loosely based on the radio show, there’s going to be bits of it. But not a lot characters because to do all the characters in my show I’d have to dress up and stuff and I quite simply don’t have the budget.
It is random like the radio show is but it’s still essentially me. There are characters in it and Johnny Spurling is in it with be and we’re doing ‘The Johns’ which is a double-act that we do as well. Crazy is a bit of a naff word to call yourself but I’m trying to be a little bit different doing what I do and just sticking to the game plan.
It’s going to go at a lick as well, it’s going to be really pacey. There’s loads and loads of stuff in it; the music, the gags... as we put it, there are only main courses. There are only dishes. There’s no bread. There’s no rice. There’s no potatoes!
Are you happy to be performing at the Cabaret Bar in the Pleasance Courtyard?
I love that room. This will be my fourth time in that room and for me, Edinburgh is the Pleasance. You now what it’s like, you get there and you go “I’ve got that show first, then we’ll go to see that show, we’ll grab a beer, we’ll grab some grub, then go home or carry on somewhere else.” It’s great there.
I’m pleased to be doing that venue.
How have the previews been going?
Well we’ve only done one really, but in a weird roundabout way, we’ve done ten. We haven’t, we did ten shows, but now they’ve ended up being previews. So we know where we’re at material wise. We know what’s strong. We know what’s not strong and I know what I’ve done in Edinburgh before and what I haven’t done in Edinburgh before.
It’s a lot more structured than pop realise. There actually is maths to the structure in my shows but at the moment it’s a little bit too rackety if you like. A little bit too rough around the edges. I just need to trim it in a little bit.
What’s the show about? Is it about anything?
Just leave everything you know at the door and come in.
The only criticism I get from people and it’s very rare, but it’s “I don’t get what you do.” and I go “Because there isn’t anything to get.” There isn’t. It’s just a ride, come on it. We’re not trying to make any political points here it’s just stupid for stupid’s sake because why not.
We spend our lives being told that someone’s driven a car into loads of people, or there’s this tower that’s now burnt down and as human beings we spend our lives going “Fucking hell” and I really want people to come in for an hour and go “This is mad. I have no idea what’s going on in here. This is great!” It’s a bit of numbing.
Who are you hoping will come and see the show?
The people I like the most are bright people who aren’t going to sit there judging. I like people who are bright but not snobby. They’re my favourite type of crowd. A professional crowd. People who come in and go “Alright. Go there. We’re prepared to go there."
What’s been the biggest thing you’ve learnt throughout your many years at the Fringe?
You’ve just got to do the show that you’re going to do. Once in Australia I really adapted to the room because I wasn’t thinking they were getting it and it was the worst thing I ever did. You just set your stall out and you do it.
Reviewers don’t have the power that they used to have because people will tweet now which is good and bad of course. But the power of the reviewer? Not a big deal anymore. It’s more about the people. It’s a bigger word of mouth than it used to be.
It’s a good place to express yourself and it’s the one place where you really can go and do that. It’s just 55 minutes to an hour where you can go “Here’s something for you."
Do you read those tweets? Will you be reading those comments?
I tend not to look at anything, and that’s not because I’m frightened in away it’s just that good or bad or indifferent, I think it’s easier to keep a clear mind and get on with what you’re doing. I’ve always said that.
Who are you most looking forward to seeing whilst you’re up there?
All the lunatics. Tony Law, Paul Foot and I’ll go and see Tim Vine because he’s my mate. People who want to do different things. I love that kind of thing. No disrespect to anyone else, but I’d rather see someone doing something different and die on their arse than see someone storming it but talking about Lidl and how cheap it is. I know Lidl is cheap because I’ve seen 300 other comedians tell me how cheap it is.
I’d rather see someone talk about the warbling of a duck. That’s what I w
Looking back on your time in EastEnders, do you miss it? Would you ever go back?
It’s ironic that four years ago I met Julia Crampsie up there and I took a spoon to the meeting after she called me there because she wanted me to join the show. She saw the spoon on the table and went “What’s that?” so I said “I’d rather poke my own eyes out with that than be in EastEnders.
Then she was like “Don’t be like that!” because i know her and then I spoke to Dominic Treadwell-Collins who was the boss at the time and I went “alright, I’ll omni and I’ll do it.”
And actually, I really quite enjoyed myself. It’s not something I ever really watched and I don’t watch and it wasn’t really from my way of thinking. So there would be times I’d look at the scripts and go “Really?!” but I did actually enjoy myself.
It’s not in a great place now.
Well it goes back and forth doesn’t it? One minute it’s really good and then it’s good, but what I always said that it should be called Tilbury. There’s too many white people in EastEnders. Also, none of these people can afford the houses in the area they’re supposed to be in.
The Queen Vic would be a bistro or flats. They all work on the market, I even ended up on the market working on the stay sometimes. All I ever used to say was “I’ll see you in the pub” or “I’ve got a pickup down the airport."
So no ambitions to return then?
Mate. You never say no because that’s a stupid thing and I’ve learnt that in my career but not at the moment no, because things are going swimmingly well. Hopefully we’ll be doing series three of Terry Alderton’s All Crazy Now.
Finally, how would you sum up this year’s show in just five words?
It is fucking pot house.