A New Zealander who has settled on these shores, and a ballsy sociopolitical comedian, Benjamin Crellin is also the support act on Tom Stade’s UK tour this year. Here’s an introduction …
The east end. Like a rat in a hole. If rats paid council tax.
How long have you been gigging for?
I’ve just entered my 17th year as a pro comic.
What do we need to know about you?
I’m a lone wolf, ronin comic-of-fortune with a satirical, sociopolitical style of dark, intelligent stand-up. I consider myself a global citizen, a member of a species on a planet with no allegiance to any nation, ideology or creed. I’m also pasty white and bald as a cue ball.
What do we not need to know about you, but you’re going to tell us anyway?
I started in musical theatre. I was one of the workhouse boys/Fagan’s gang in Oliver and had my own line in the opening number Food, Glorious Food! My line was: “Fabulous foooood!” Still proud of that.
Who makes you laugh?
Those who genuinely think that rape can’t be funny. These people have such a flawed understanding of comedy that to me they become comedy. The limitations of humor are defined by silence not opinion. I laugh in the face of those who try to tell me what I can’t laugh at.
How big a deal is getting the Tom Stade tour support slot?
It’s an honour. I’ve been mates with Tom for years so to be part of his success and the vibe of the tour is pretty epic. It’s gonna be as much fun doing the gigs as it will be hanging out. Stade is superb company as many a comic will tell you. The timing of the work is a big deal because the paying of my rent is a big deal.
How has your act changed over the years?
I was pretty young when I started, so the growth and evolution of my comedy is a reflection of my growth and evolution as a person. I’m much less afraid now. I feel I have a clarity that maybe comes with age and experience. I’m uncompromising with my angles and don’t pander to the insecurities of a crowd like I used to. I’ve stopped looking for validation and as a result, for the first time in my career, I think i may have found my voice.
Do you aim to inform audiences as well as entertain them?
My only aim is to be funny. If people feel informed by my comedy then that’s a bonus, but achieving that reaction will never be my priority. I am nothing more than a comedian.
What’s your favourite bit of current material?
I have a piece that uses comedic logic to expose circumcision as paedophilia. It has me creating a religion purely for the sadistic fetish of cutting pieces off babies’ genitals. There are so many different types of gags in the bit that are so technically difficult to get right that when I do it just soars. I wont be doing it opening for Tom that’s for sure.
Where are your favourite parts of London?
I’m still finding them. There are so many. I do love walking the canals. I find them very calming and creatively stimulating.
Do you have a secret talent?
Are you funnier off or onstage?
Depends on the audience. Around my family, for example, my brothers are much funnier than me. And taller.With hair. Damn it.
If you’d like to take your interest in Benjamin to the next level, check out his websitebencrellin.com or find him on Twitter at twitter.com/benjamincrellin. And here’s a (slightly fuzzy) clip of Crellin in action …