The Tab sits down with Liam Williams

Because the Cambridge University Jugglers’ society is a thing…


Cambridge graduate, writer, comedian, and actor, Liam Williams, sat down with The Tab ahead of his appearance at the Cambridge Union. We spoke about his time here, lad culture, and his favourite pubs in Cambridge.

Having heard him speak at a Northern Society event, I was keen to ask about his experience as a student here. Despite joking that he was “that person who signed up to everything at Fresher’s Fair” and was “still receiving emails from the juggling society” by the time he left, Liam’s main interests were in his endeavours as part of the Footlights, a member of the Union, and occasionally writing for Varsity (clearly not cut out for The Tab).

(Image Credits: Tobia Nava)

Reflecting on his time in Footlights, Liam talked about “how privileged an experience it was” for him, mainly because of the “great resources you get to learn your craft” and the experience of “having a great venue, having an audience who turn up for the Smokers every fortnight.”

He highlights the Pantomime as “an experience unlike any other,” especially for a “young comedian in their late 20s.” While he conceded that they probably took themselves a little too seriously at the time, he maintained that it was nonetheless an enjoyable part of his time here.

Due to the large amount of time Liam spent around the theatre, the Maypole became his “local” – as well as the ADC theatre bar, of course. All the pub talk got us on to the topic of lad culture. Liam’s hit BBC Three show, Ladhoodis being written and finalised currently. Liam said that it should be airing this summer, so there’s plenty of time to catch up on series one and two if you have not already seen it!

I wanted to know whether the Cambridge lad culture had any influence on the show, especially in comparison to the lad culture of Liam’s hometown in Leeds. Liam said that both places were very much influential and that it was “interesting to try and find commonality” but suggested that the word lad was something that got him “riffing off the concept.”

Liam talked about the different status the word “lad” has in Cambridge as opposed to Leeds. Liam suggested that back home, the word was almost a “term of endearment between men.” In Cambridge, though, he thought it had a different status of an “adoptive assumed identity you had to earn by behaving in specific ways that now seem reconstituted and, in some way, problematic.”

I tried to ask Liam to pick which project he was most proud of, and, in a “diplomatic and boring” answer (his words, not mine), he said it was like “having to pick a favourite child” – understandable when there is a plethora to choose from. Ladhood is obviously a firm fan favourite, but his book Homes and Experiences is also out now in hardback and paperback, as well as Pls Like, a BBC satirical mockumentary, and Sheeps, a comedy sketch web series.

(Image Credits: Tobia Nava)

You can find all of Liam’s work on his blog or follow him on Twitter.

Feature image credits: Tobia Nava

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