Markus Birdman has thundered back into comedy fresh from a recent Edinburgh Fringe run and he has been nominated for a 2023 Chortle Award. He has also recently written for Jayde Adams and supported Jason Manford at the Palladium. We got the chance to speak with him, see what he had to say here ….
1. Hi Markus, thanks for your time, the tour kicked off earlier this month, how has it been going?
It’s been great fun. I’d been told touring can be lonely. As you’re now on your own. But I’ve been doing it all with my partner Malinda Mukuma, who is my support and we’re having a right laugh. Sometimes it’s a little stressful to get an audience, but it’s so lovely to deliver my show (which is v personal) and for it to be well received.
2. You’ve been a comedian for 20 years, what are the differences you’ve seen touring now given your success on BGT?
Numbers wise, I actually wouldn’t say BGT has made any difference at all. But it has given me a boot up the backside to get on with it! And also for some people to have faith in me. People definitely look at you differently. But in terms of bums on seats, hardly anyone is coming because of the show, and I always ask. I’m pleased about, as I don’t think it’s my audience.
3. Did you learn anything new about yourself the comedian, performing, comedy or just the entertainment industry in general from your time on BGT?
YES. Don’t compromise what you do. Don’t let the criticism get to you (you should read some of the horrible things people said about me talking about my own stroke!!!) Believe in yourself. And never do a show that Mr. Blobby is getting applause on!
4. Visuals and animations are also a big part of your show/life, what led you to incorporate that into your work?
Well I went to Art College and was working for a sculptor as his assistant before I did stand-up, and fully thought that would be the course of my life and creativity. Then I started stand-up and became so obsessed that I threw myself fully into that. Then after about 10 years I suddenly realised I was missing a trick here! I could combine the two! It’s just more ways to communicate an idea and express yourself. I see it as all part of the same thing really.
5. You collaborated with Norwegian musician, Ole Maa, to produce animations for Ole’s live show. Any plans to do anything like that again? Are there any artists you would really like to collaborate with?
I really hope so. That was such a rewarding thing to do. It was nothing to do with comedy and was in fact a very serious show about mental illness so it really stretched me. And it was an honour to work with such a talented musician, who really made me think in a different way. I’d love to do more yes. And Ole and I have discussed it, so watch this space. Also I’ve a great admiration for the DJ and producer Wrongtom. He recently suffered some health issues that I think we could relate to each other on. I would love to work with him – IF YOU’RE LISTENING MATE!?
6. In your personal life you suffered two strokes, how did they change your outlook on life?
Well I permanently lost 50 percent my eyesight, so when people say do you see things differently now, I say yes, about half of it! But seriously, it changes everything and also changes nothing. I’m v lucky I was able to keep working at a job I love and that defines me. Indeed I was able to make a feature out of it. And I know full well, many are nowhere near as lucky. It makes you appreciate the small things too, which I knows a cliche, but is true. Appreciate the people around you, a nice meal, a swim in the sea, a walk with the dog.
7. You seem comfortable talking about that in your live show. Has that caused any issues for you though in terms of people not appreciating joking about the subject?
OH HELL YES! As I suggested above, I got a lot of criticism for talking about my stroke. – “you deserve a stroke.”, “I hope your daughter is ashamed of you” etc. Really horrible things. But I noted, none from people who’ve actually had a stroke. However, I get far more love and good wishes from people who stroke actually has effected which makes me very proud. So I listen to them.
8. What else can we expect from the live show Platinum?
Well, the backbone of the show is about stroke and the recovery. If that doesn’t sound that hilarious, then I promise you it really is! And I’ve made every effort to handle the subject with great respect. But there is also plenty of tangents about plenty of nonsense, from feeding a fussy child to sitting on a blind man on a toilet. So there’s something for everyone!
9. Just for fun now, Which would you prefer to have as your roommate? A goat or a bird? And why?
Well goats really smell and I’m quite fastidious about tidiness and not living like a bachelor! I always fancied an owl. It would appeal to the Goth in me, and would look. Good perched on my shoulder. Or perhaps a parrot that I could teach loads of extremely offensive things to say to my guests.
10. We’ve talked about the past, so what about the future, just to wrap up, what does 2024 and beyond hold in store for Markus Birdman the comedian?
Hmm… Well I’ve loved the tour, so I’m really keen to do another one next year. In fact I’ve written about half of it already. Plus I’m getting very into doing comedy stuff online. I’m keen to do some of that with Malinda. She makes me laugh more than anyone I know, so we’re hoping to translate that into BIG BUCKS on the socials! There’s lots up already, so please do check them out and give me a follow.
Tickets are on sale now for the tour now and are available from https://www.markusbirdmantour.com.