Danny Bhoy is probably known to many as the guy who says ‘Tiddleedeee potatoes!’ I was terrified I was going to get really nervous and blurt that out,and I’m very glad to say that I didn’t. I’ve been a fan of him for years, and I’m seeing him when he’s in Sydney in a couple of weeks, with his new show ‘Dear Epson’, as well as his new DVD Live at The Festival Theatre, which I also own.
They were, of course, the subject of my interview with him. which you can check out below:
Where did you get the idea for ‘Dear Epson?’
I wrote a letter last year to Epson to ask them why their ink was so expensive, and it was quite a long letter, and for some reason I decided to read it out on stage and it got a really big response, and people said ‘You should carry on doing that, that would be a really funny idea for a show’, sort of tongue-in-cheek complaint letters. So I started doing it, I started sitting down at a desk during the day and writing proper complaint letters. It’s an incredibly cathartic and enjoyable experience and above all it’s been getting a lot of laughs.
Is it just complaint letters to big corporations or is it people in your life as well?
No, the show starts that way, the first fifteen, twenty minutes is me hitting some of the big corporations and stuff and then it moves into slightly more personal territory, like little things that really irritate me, and then in the second half of the show I end up writing to, well, everyone, from old schoolteachers to politicians…yeah, it becomes a show that sort of takes a journey from the big to the small, if you like.
Have you had any complaints about your show from people you’ve written letters to?
Yeah, this is all kind of explained in the show- basically, there have been a couple of people who took issue…I mean, generally speaking the audience are behind it, but I make a point at the beginning of the show that because of the nature of the show there’s going to be at least one letter that sits uncomfortably with everyone in the room, you know? They’re different on an individual basis. But that’s the nature of the show, and that’s why…it’s always going to happen when you’re doing a show that’s broadly…when the letters are as broad as they are.
What’s been the general reaction to the tour so far?
Oh yeah. It’s a very funny show. It’s slightly different from what I’ve done in the past, yeah, it’s been a very fun show to do. Very kind of therapeutic as well which is funny.
I know you’ve got a new DVD coming out next month as well- is this the first one that you’ve ever done in Scotland?
Yeah, it’s the first one. I was kind of like, um…well, it’s the first worldwide DVD I’ve done. I recorded two in Australia and since then I’ve sort of been growing in markets in North America. The company in the UK said ‘We need to bring out a DVD that’s available to everyone’ and they said ‘Where would you want to film it?’ and I said ‘Well I’ve done two in Australia, so I’d rather just do one from my home town. I feel like I’ve kind of been ignoring Scotland a little bit for the last few years so it was really nice to do a show in front of a home crowd, I’ve got quite a lot of nice Scottish jokes in there as well and it felt very Scottish. But it’s available to everyone, and it’s a lot of universal jokes but with a kind of Scottish flavour to it.
You’ve done quite a few regional tours of Australia and people seem to be pretty big fans of you over here- what do you think it is that Australians like about you?
I think the sense of humour’s quite similar to the Scottish sense of humour… I mean the place is obviously completely different, couldn’t be more different this time of year! We both love a story, you walk into a pub in Australia it’s similar to walking into a pub in Scotland. People are telling each other stories about their day, whether it’s a farmer coming in or someone that works in the city, it’s not a kind of ‘cash and grab’ attitude that you get in some places, it’s more of a kind of relaxing, elongated, eloquent, storytelling element to a joke, a patient build-up that usually leads to a bigger payoff. People gut-wrenchingly laugh at the end of a story in pubs in Australia and Scotland as opposed to just quick-fire gags. It’s just a different mentality I think, and that’s the way I was brought up, I was brought up with stories so I kind of think it’s a good fit for here.
What do you think the secret is to doing a good Australian accent? I know a lot of people say it’s hard to get right.
I don’t know to be honest. People ask me about it and…I don’t practice any accent. I do lots and lots of different accents but I never actually practice…what happens is somewhere in my brain I log someone’s accent and when I’m retelling a story that involves that person I usually say what they said in their accent and people go ‘Wow, you sound just like that person’ so my Australian accent probably comes from the first person I met in Australia. I couldn’t tell you who it was or when that was but that’s the person I have in my head when I’m doing an Australian accent.
So it just comes to you really naturally? Kind of, I don’t even think about it on stage, it just kind of comes out and surprises me, that’s why I burst out laughing a lot!