Irish comedy trio Foil Arms and Hog kick off their latest tour in Dublin tomorrow and, as well as dates in Australia, the tour takes their fast-paced sketch show to Manchester and York over the next couple of months. Ahead of the dates, we sat down with the three lads to find out about the show, Rowan Atkinson and how they deal with things going wrong on stage.
1. Thanks for your time chaps. So, the new show, what can you tell about it?
“The show is a mix of all kinds of stuff. There is some new stuff, some old stuff, some stuff from the beginning, stuff from Edinburgh. It’s a whole mix of things really.”
2. Going back to the old stuff. How does it feel looking back over the old stuff compared to how you are now?
“Well, we’re less rubbish now that we were at the start [laughs]. Some of the stuff now looking back we couldn’t use but some of it is still really fun. The other difference now is that there are a lot less empty chairs and a lot more people at our shows. When we used to go out on tour and play shows we used to get a lot of empty chairs come to see us, now it’s more people coming to see us than empty chairs which is nice to see.”
3. How did it all start?
“It all started out at university at the Drama Society really. There was a whole load of us and ended up getting whittled down to just us three chumps and from there we did a few gigs for mates and stuff and it grew from there really.”
4. You’ve become a YouTube sensation with over 100 million views. How does that feel?
“The internet has been great and we’ve been putting stuff out there on YouTube for years, something every week. We started off and we’d be getting like 1500 to 2000 views and we thought that was pretty good. Then we started getting like a 100,000 views and, after a while, that becomes the norm to see. You log on expecting to see those figures.”
“The thing about the internet is that it’s a quick way to get to an audience. Unlike a live show, where you have to keep being funny for the duration of the show, with the internet, you can just put together a short clip and put it up there and people will see it straight away. The beauty of it as well is that they could be anywhere as we’ve found from looking at the demographics of our audience.”
6. What is your demographic ?
“It’s funny you should mention that, I took my nephew to school the other day and I was walking past this classroom and all these kids started waving at me. I couldn’t work out what they were going on about until one of them held up a sign saying “Selfie” – I thought “wow, this demographic?”, then I realised kids that age have no money so they’re no use to us [laughs]. I didn’t do a selfie because of that [laughs].”
7. You even have a fan in Rowan Atkinson. How did that come about?
“Yes, he came to one of the shows. The thing is, I could see this guy and I was thinking “wow, he really looks like Mr.Bean” then I found out it really was Rowan Atkinson rushed around telling everyone else that it really was Mr.Bean. We met him and he was really nice. He could see we were desperate to speak to him and, although he needed to get away, he spent some time talking to us before he was about to get mobbed by people who wanted to speak to him.”
8. You’ve toured the world, you’re internet sensations, what next? What about a TV show?
“A TV show? I don’t know about that, it works really well as quick sketches on the internet but I don’t think people want comedy like that on a TV show these days. They want everything really quick and instant which is one of the reasons I think why it’s been successful is because people can see a thumbnail and will instantly know whether they’re going to watch it or not. If we were to do a TV show I think it would be a sitcom rather than a sketch show.”
9. Has it ever gone wrong for you?
“Oh all the time but I don’t think you should say go wrong because you just have to improvise things and go with it. People have said one of the things they like is the dynamics between us. I remember once we had to redo this sketch because one of us was knackered and we had to keep doing it over and over and it ended up being just as funny because of that. When things go wrong on stage, you just have to go with it and make it as natural as possible. You can’t fake things going wrong.”
10. Brilliant, thank you for your time and good luck with the tour. Just to finish, do you want to sum up FAH in one sentence?
“Hmmm… Foil Arms and Hog – Live! Come and see the show!”
To get a full list of their tour dates visit their Official Website.