Spotlight – Fergus Leathem, President of the Durham Revue

Two snowmen are standing in a field. One turns to the other and says “you know what, I can smell carrots too!”

Assembly Rooms Comedy Durham Revue

 Fergus, you are president of the Durham Revue,

That’s what everyone keeps telling me…

How do you come up with sketches?
Sketches normally come about in two ways; either people bring them to the table fully formed, and we generally just tweak bits here and there, or we basically build it from the ground up, by saying something like ‘lets do a sketch about a train’. Sometimes it works sometimes it falls flat. It’s a process you get better at over time, but however you get there you’ve just got to make it funny. Choosing silly scenarios helps. Nobody wants to see an hour of sketches about fiscal policy. Having said that…

Does anyone decide what is funny or not?

There’s no ‘Lord High Arbiter of Funny’ if that’s what you mean! It’s basically a group effort, and if it’s not funny, we just go right ahead and tell each other. I think most people instinctively know when something is and isn’t funny, especially in the Durham bubble, we’ve got incredibly niche humour up here. Not that that’s a bad thing! Having said that, you never really know if it’s genuinely funny until the audience laughs at it. So, I guess they’re the ones who decide really!

It is mostly a new Revue this year? Are they any good?
All but two of us are new this year; we’ve got five newbies, all bringing something different to the party. It’s interesting to get to work with a whole new team really, and it’s amazing to see the levels of continuity between the new revue and the old revue, in terms of comedic style and the strength of writing. Are they any good? You’ll have to come along to the Christmas show and see for yourself!

How would you describe this year's Revue?
Whimsical, side-splittingly funny and inappropriately attractive.

Could you sum up the revue’s members in one word?
David Knowles: Blondy
Megan Brownrigg: Underage
Jack Harris: Striding
Stefanie Jones: Rotund
Elgan Alderman: Shorts
Suz Temko: Prompt
Fergus Leathem: All round legend and comic god. (I’ll let someone else do me shall I?)

Was it difficult to choose or, during the audition process, is it quickly obvious whose funny and who is not?

It’s always difficult to choose, especially considering that we were filling only four/five slots from an initial audition group of about 50 people. Some people do stand out, but it’s the writing that’s really the key; if you can write funny stuff, that’ll almost always come across in the acting.

What kind of humour are you aiming for in the show?

It's always very light-hearted stuff, we’re not going for any biting political satire, or Frankie Boyle-esque stuff. Don’t get me wrong, that kind of humour does work, but we always feel that keeping it whimsical is the way to go. We’ve got to appeal to a broad audience, and so jokes about rather risqué things are not really the way to go. If it works for Macintyre, why not us?

The Show is called the Christmas Feast, is that the theme? What can we look forward to?

We started off with a loose idea about an opening and closing sketch of a Christmas dinner, but as the term’s progressed and everyone’s brought different sketches to the table, it seemed like we had a lot of Jesus themed sketches. So we decided to make these a sort of backbone to the show, with lots of other sketches around them too. It’s not a Life of Brian type thing, but we thought it would be nice to have something that sort of brings it all together. Aside from that, we’ve got sketches about crazed park rangers, what really happens when you graduate and the goings on in Britain’s worst shoe shop. Something for everyone really!

Tell a joke!

Two snowmen are standing in a field. One turns to the other and says “you know what, I can smell carrots too!”

Festive and humorous, just like our show!