Jon Richardson,
Sunday the 13th January,
Fat Cat Comedy Club
Interview by Lydia

Jon Richardson, a comedian who doesn't let the big things in life get him down - what's the point when there are so many much smaller and more trivial things to get wound up about? And when I say wound up I don't mean quietly tutting to yourself when someone plays their music loudly on the bus, I'm talking measures that fit in slightly to the left of Hitler's grand ideas. In his radio show (which he co-hosts with Mock The Week's Russell Howard) he has talked about wanting the Government to issue him with a sterilisation gun to 'sort out' society. For those of you who have never heard of Jon Richardson, and are already midway through organizing an Anti-Nazi League troop to chuck eggs at him, then just back up - Jon would never actually act on any of his deeper, more sinister streams of consciousness. Firstly, because he's too scared - 'old people carry knives too!'. Secondly, because they are just that - the darker thoughts we all have as we queue up in our local Post Office for 5 minutes longer than necessary. Thirdly, this guy sponsors a dog. Hitler did not sponsor a dog. Jon is so laugh-out-loud funny because his comedy taps into the side of our brains that is so anal and petty that we have long suppressed it just so that we can function in society.

Jon did not disappoint when he performed to a 300+, sell out crowd at Bury St. Edmunds' Fat Cat Comedy Club. He had the audience in stitches, and afterwards took the time to talk to me about stopping time, nose-scratching and his perfect woman…


Lucy: Your band have been quite quiet for the last few months. Are you looking forward to playing gigs again?
Katie Jane Garside: I think I give very obtuse ans

Favourite Family Guy character?
Jon: Stewie, by an absolute mile, but then you have to say Stewie. It's like saying Homer for The Simpsons. I like Brian and I have a lot of time for Quagmire, and my favourite b-character would have to be Adam West.

What makes you go weak at the knees?
Jon: Wet bread. Stand-up makes me nervous, and conversation. I get really nervous if I have to talk to people - I don't really know what to say.

What gives away your guilt?
Jon: I tend to scratch my nose a lot if I'm lying; the end of my nose gets really itchy. Russell winds me up about it.
Lydia: That's a bit rich considering he lies pretty much all the time.
Jon: Yeah, he's made a living out of it.

Things your parents forgot to tell you:
Jon: I can't think of anything really.
Lydia: They've got you pretty prepared for life?
Jon: Yeah my Mum's brilliant, and I get to know my Dad more and more because he wasn't around much when I was growing up, but my Mum was brilliant. It was just me, my Mum and my sister, so we're all pretty close.
Lydia: From what I've heard from the radio, you seem like a pretty well rounded person and you're very hygienic!
Jon: Yeah! I suppose the cooking is down to my Mum not cooking much, but I think I chose from quite a young age to cook. I just always enjoyed it. I think it's one of those self-sufficiency things where if you can't, how are you ever going to get through life and have kids?
Lydia: I can cook pasta and few things, but I still live with my Mum who does the cooking.
Jon: It's best to get it before you leave, it amazed me at university just how many people could barely cook Super Noodles.

Russell has spent over a year trying to pimp you off to a listener, what are you looking for in a woman?
Jon: Erm, I don't think I am. I thought about this a lot, whether I need someone who's a bit O.C.D. like me, but I think we'd just argue. Or whether I need someone who's the opposite - I think I'd need someone who's the opposite, to challenge my O.C.D.
Lydia: So possibly the female version of Russell?
Jon: Possibly, possibly…
Lydia: That's a scary thought…
Jon: Yeah and I can't now stop my brain, I've put the tits on…
Lydia: He only needs to grow his hair a bit…
Jon: Yeah, I've put tits and lipstick on him and I'm stopping there.
Lydia: 'I've Put Tits and Lipstick on Russell' - I think we've got our headline there!
Jon: Feel free to Photoshop it and send it in to me.

Things you shouldn't experiment with:
Jon: I'm tempted to say drugs, but that's just a personal thing.
Lydia: I thought you would though.
Jon: Yeah, I don't take them but I don't have any qualms about other people taking them. I think it's dangerous. I'm really delicate about how I allow my reality to be pissed around with, 'cos I think if you get used to a world that isn't real it's not going to help you function in society.
Lydia: I'd agree.
Jon: But then I don't see why drugs can't help your grip of reality by showing you a different world. Taking time out from something often refocuses you attention. But for me I drink, and I know I need drink as a sort of crutch and if I want to switch my brain off I drink and I know I don't need more than that.

What things should there be a law against?
Jon: Mostly I think there are laws against the things that wind me up - but they're not enforced. Probably people putting their bags on train seats. I would have an instant train conductor charge you for the seat that your bag is on.
Lydia: You've never done it?
Jon: If there were two people on the train, but not on trains where there are people standing.

What things do men know more about than women?
Jon: Probably only being a man, that's about it, but then you'd expect that. I don't understand relationships, I really don't - I don't understand allying yourself to someone, but I don't know, maybe I'm advocating homosexuality?

What things about women frustrate you?
Jon: Only that I don't understand them well enough and that I tend to not be able to communicate with them as well as I can with men. Which is an issue - but that's incredibly deep!

Where's the best place to eat when you're on tour?
Jon: It's really difficult when you're on tour, I try and have food in my car or stay in my hotel and get something to eat there. Otherwise you get into eating sandwiches and bread, burgers and bread and lots of bread and you feel pretty rank.

Lost or 24?
Jon: I try not to get into them because they take up so much time; once you get into them you've got to watch all of them. I'd go for 24, because having watched Heroes that American way of writing where you watch a series of something and then it deliberately doesn't end. That pisses me off, at least 24 ends.
Lydia: I love Heroes.
Jon: I find myself boycotting it now because I watched the whole of the first series to find out what happens at the end and they didn't end it, they just said, 'there'll be some more out in a bit!'.
Lydia: You'll so end up watching the second series!
Jon: Yeah...

If you could have one Heroes power what would it be?
Jon: I suppose I'm not allowed to choose Peter Petrelli [who has the power to absorb and mimic the powers of other evolved humans] that would be stating the obvious. I wouldn't want to see into the future. Ah yes, stop time, that's pretty cool. I used to fantasise about that when I was a kid. I think everyone did - did you?
Lydia: I remember watching a program where this boy would stop time with his watch and I'd think, 'I could do with one of those'. I think it was called Bernard's Watch?
Jon: Ah yes, Saved By the Bell was my one. When Zack would do the time-out sign with his arms and say, 'Time-out!' and everything would stop and I'd think, 'that would be fucking brilliant!'
Lydia: I don't remember them doing that.
Jon: Yeah, every now and again Zack would do 'time-out' to the camera and then he'd talk to you, the viewer. I'd think, 'you wouldn't do that, you'd go and fiddle around with Kelly Kapowski'!

And finally, Marry, shoot, shag: Britney Spears, Amy Winehouse and Margaret Thatcher…
Jon: I think I would shag Amy Winehouse, get it out of the way. I'd marry Britney Spears because I could probably help her out, she's troubled, I'd give her some advice- take some time out. I'd shoot Margaret Thatcher, not for any political reason, she's the oldest and she's already had a few strokes, so it's probably the most euthanasic thing to do.

On that thought Jon had to leave for the three-hour drive home to Swindon. If he's gigging near you then go and see him, if he's not then hop on a train and travel, just don't put your bag on the seat.

Listen to BBC6 Music every Sunday 10:00-13:00 to hear Jon Richardson and Russell Howard muse over pretty much anything and then eventually fall out with each other over the 'News Quiz' [a feature involving amusing 'true or false' news stories where Russell frequently cheats, much to the frustration of Jon]. The two comedians bounce off each other like fat kids on a trampoline. Listen online here:

Jon Richardson Appreciation Society (contains gig dates):

Bury St. Edmunds' Fat Cat Comedy Club is a fantastic and fun night out. Every month they present three great comedians from the national and international comedy circuits. The shows are staged on the second Sunday of the month at the Corn Exchange, Bury St. Edmunds. On February 10th Phil Nichol returns to further entertain and corrupt the audience. For more information visit:

Lydia Schmidia



wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looking forward to it. (Laughs). It's difficult to say because the last few months have felt strange, it's felt like going down a plughole. I've got a real sense of vertigo at the moment. So I can't tell you that I'm looking forward to it. I will get through it and find where I land after that. That's what will happen.

Lucy: 'Taxidermy' and 'Drink Me' are quite drastically different in their musical styles, so what kind of sound can we expect from the 3rd album?
KJG: We don't know yet. We're playing a lot of new material tonight so you'll be able to judge that for yourself. When I'm this close up to it, it's really difficult to tell. I'm on a bit of a negative slant today, but usually with our music I can only hear the bits that have gone wrong rather
than anything that went right. When you reflect back on something it's very difficult to give an objective opinion, and I don't believe in objectivity anyway, I think everything's subjective. I just throw a deck of cards and
wherever they land, that's where she finds herself. I'm not really the one to explain my part in it, you must do that as the observer really, and of course that will reflect your part in the grand scheme of things.

Lucy: Do you enjoy playing live more than the creative process in the studio?
KJG: (Laughs) I don't enjoy any of it. It comes and it goes, ok? There's nothing like when you're writing and you manage to catch something by its
tail; when you're looking for those things underground that are skittering out of sight just when you're about to catch them. And when you catch them it is worth it, but it's a momentary pleasure. I've got so much noise upstairs, and I can hear things in my head that to me are absolutely devastatingly beautiful. I'm always trying to download them and get them
here, but they never get here in the right state, they're always very disabled and they don't even begin to imitate what I can hear in my head.
It's a frustrating process in the main.

Lucy: Your lyrics are simultaneously emotionally expressive and cryptic. Are you looking to be understood by your audience?
KJG: I'm always trying to understand myself, but it's like there's a point in the centre of the room, and there's a hundred windows to look at the same point from. All I can do is give you different angles on the same thing. God, you know, if I could find one conclusive thing in anything I would probably have something to put an anchor down on. But I cant, and I haven't met anyone that can. You can pick out anything you like in my lyrics, I don't seek to be cryptic. I love words for the sake of words, for me they're kind of free standing, and they don't really need to be explained. I think every word has its own character and colour and picture and the result you get with lyrics just depends how you put them together. You could just do it in a William Burroughs esque way, or throw the deck of cards, and you'd probably still find something that our tiny little minds would latch on to in order to gain some kind of emotional understanding. I don't think there's a constant, the only constant that there is for me is that there is no constant. I use myself as my canvas, I gut myself and fillet myself the whole fucking time, I'm always hooking myself out of the water, I'm always cutting my own head off and disembowelling myself, and as you can probably tell I'm quite angry about it at the moment. I'm very tired of it all, of my
process and how I find life, because it always seems to be about living and dying all in one breath. I'm getting pretty fucking tired of that.

Lucy: Do you think drugs stimulate or hinder creativity?
KJG: Well that depends on the drug, because I think most things arrive in the form of a drug really. I know in myself that if anything I am, much to my greater expense, an adrenalin junkie. My synapses don't work well enough to put pills in my mouth, I can't do that, despite popular opinion. I don't need any help breaking down, put it that way. There's not much holding it
together. If there was a drug that could put aline between two polar opposites and make them in to one thing I'm sure I would have it
intravenous, but I haven't found it. I think drugscan be a bit of a lazy way for creativity anyway, you're better off in the cold light of day in the mirror.

Lucy: As a band, you are distinguished by the extreme physicality of your live performances. Do you consciously make an effort to put on a show or do your performances just naturally come to you, and whatever happens, happens?
KJG: It's a bit of both, because you see, I think taking the stage is one of the most unnatural things anyone can do. In a way, just walking on stage actually creates an altered state - its not right, no one's meant to do that, unless you're a priest or a magician, or something like that. To put somebody who's very incapable in many ways in to that position creates a combustion reaction inside me. I know that, and I take the stage knowing that. Obviously there's all the usual things that affect my performance; if I'm on my 45th day of a tour I'm probably gonna be pretty fucking tired, so I'll be dictated by that. If I'm doing new material like tonight I don't
know what's going to happen, because we haven't built the train tracks yet. The beauty of playing live is when my drummer goes in to 5th gear or in to 10th gear, and for some reason there's something that hits me in the base of the spine and I'm gone, and that's Halleluiah for me. During the last few months a lot of strange things have been happening onstage, I think the process is changing. I don't know what's going to happen tonight, I've been having quite a tough time on stage, I feel like something's pulling me under, as if something's got me.

Lucy: So does the crowd influence your performances on stage?
KJG: Yes they do. I'm unkind enough to be pretty impersonal about how I do it, so I use them for me to kick against in effect, or to surf on, (I don't
mean physically surf). If you're in an empty roomand there's a couple of people at the back, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll have a bad show -
they might get the show of their lives. And then again when something's really heaving and going off, I get quite a distorted view of it, because I
can feel quite overwhelmed lose my sense of place in the situation. I lose control of myself. I don't know, I probably wasn't meant to do this, I
wasn't built for this. It wasn't a career option, I didn't start there and go there, I didn't pick up the things on the way. I've sort of gone round
and round.

Lucy: As the lead singer of the band, most media interest is focused on you. Do you feel pressurised by your position or do you enjoy being the centre of attention?
KJG: I've been here on this wheel long enough,(and I say this with a little bit of trepidation because I think you have to be really careful with this kind of thing, because the motivation to do it in itself I think is usually pretty corrupt) I'm not doing it for anyone else, I need a cheque through the door like anybody else does, you have to keep eating, you have to keep living. I'm looking for some sense of going home on my own terms, and people's critique of me is not relevant, whether it's positive of negative.
I do need a cheque through the door though, otherwise I'll have to go and be a butcher or something.

Lucy: What is the religious meaning behind the song "For I am the way"?
KJG: If you use the word religion in its truest sense, all it means is communion, it hasn't got any of the attachments to any written word. My
understanding of the word communion is loss of the sense. Another way of looking at it is you've got to get in to get out, and the only thing that I
know to be true is me, is this tiny little dot in the centre of the universe. It's the only thing that I know feels pain; I can see other people's pain and I can feel it in an emotional way, but not in a physical way. I find myself in the unfortunate position of feeling like I am the
centre of the universe and that everything is a projection, made by me - i.e. you two don't exist, you're something that I created. I don't wish that
sense upon anybody because it's not a good one. Through 'For I am the way' I'm saying that you've got to get in, because the only thing one knows to be true is oneself. And on a good day, if you stand on top of a mountain or go to the desert or stand in the ocean, and become completely inconsequential, linear time stops and you become everything and nothing. That for me is
communion, that's how I define religion. I thinkthere's a line in there which goes "Today the only bridge I have I burn" which sums it up really, because it is about cutting all lines of communication in order to really truly commune.

Lucy: Do you think that in the future your creativity will move from the sphere of music in to literature for example?
KJG: It's real hard to say. In a way, that sounds like a much easier life. But for all I know I'm deluding myself. I'm looking for someone to help me frame something at the moment, and someone is actually, someone's being really good to me. I would love to write, but I don't know if I'm good
enough to do it.