Edinburgh intros #11: Ahead of his new show, ‘tough luvvie’ Hal Cruttenden speaks openly and candidly about his ego issues, and his regret at not killing a young George Osborne
1. Hello Hal! Tell us a bit about the new one.
The show’s called ‘Straight Outta Cruttenden’ but it’s not about gangsta rap – don’t worry. It’s me doing my usual mix of “catty, hilarious, brilliant, but ultimately life-affirming stand up” (that’s a quote I’ve just invented about myself).
2. What’s your favourite bit?
My favourite part of the show is a joke that makes the audience laugh, wince “oooo”, and applaud all at the same time. I think it’s the best joke I’ve written. It comes about half way through the show but I promise you it’s worth sticking around until the end. Having said that, I’d pay the entrance fee just for that joke. No I’m not going to tell it here or you won’t come.
3. What’s your walk-on music going to be?
I walk onto Straight Outta Compton by NWA. I have to start talking over it very early into the track because, like most NWA songs, it quickly descends into misogyny and extreme violence. If it’s not available I like coming onto How Soon is Now by The Smiths. My music tastes are stuck in the 80s – as is my fashion sense.
4. Who will you be living with and how do you expect that to go?
I’m living by myself this year with intermittent visits from family and friends. I’m having ego issues at the moment (as you can probably tell) so it’s best for me to be alone.
5. What will your Edinburgh daily routine be?
I’m planning to live a wild hedonistic lifestyle. To be out drinking alcohol and doing drugs until 4 in the morning. Most nights I’ll end up in a police cell with another extraordinary story that will become part of Edinburgh folklore. In reality, I’ll get up early. Sometimes I’ll go to the gym (that means twice in a month). I’ll work on my show for two to three hours. Then following an afternoon nap and another hour of staring at myself in the mirror screaming “Don’t screw up you bastard!”, I’ll do the show and will be tucked up in bed with an Ovaltine by 10pm.
6. Do you enjoy the Fringe?
I enjoy doing my show. I can’t say I enjoy being away from home for so long. I love Edinburgh but it’s ruined a lot of family summers. Even when the family’s with me it’s not much of a summer holiday. It’s hard for my wife and kids to relax when I’m running about screaming, “My numbers aren’t good for Monday. My career is dying,” or “I’ve got a five star review! At last the world has recognised my genius!” Having said that, the sunny disposition of Scottish people and their obvious love for the English always makes it a great place to be in August.
7. Do you miss the days of doing 4 or 5 shows in the clubs on a Saturday night?
I loved having that reputation of being the hardest working man in comedy. I remember one comic saying to me, “I’ve never seen you not sweating. It’s amazing that you don’t lose any weight.” I’m pleased to say their career is still languishing in the smaller clubs.
8. Did you have any inkling that Tough Luvvie would be such an unstoppable beast?
Of course. It was just a matter of time. Joking aside, every comic dreams of that show that’s a hit. It’s lovely when it happens.
9. Come on then, what was Gideon like at school [Hal went to school with Gideon “George” Osborne]?
He was the year below me so I just have vague memories of a smug, chubby little junior with a sense of entitlement. It’s a bit like knowing Hitler before he got power. I have an overwhelming sense of guilt. If I’d known what he was going to be become, I could have killed him.
10. Vis-a-vis your father being big in advertising – does this mean having the gift of the gab is in the family?
Yes I suppose it is. My wife was also an advertising copywriter when I met her. There’s a long and admirable tradition in the family of developing our imagination and creativity and using it to sell stuff!
• Hal Cruttenden: Striaght Outta Cruttenden is at the Pleasance Courtyard at 8pm, follow him on Twitter at @halcruttenden