Interview: Andrew Lawrence

Comedian Andrew Lawrence named his latest tour with a claim he doesn't have a face for television - only problem is that he's now a regular on the box. ABIGAIL SALTMARSH reports.

Andrew Lawrence is too ugly for television — at least that is what the name of his tour proclaims. The slight problem is that the comedian is now becoming known for his appearances on the small screen.

'People are going to look at the poster and say: 'Haven't I seen him on TV?'' he points out. 'I decided to call the tour that because I wasn't doing much television at the time — and then as soon as the posters were printed I got the call to do Michael McIntyre's Roadshow!'

What is and isn't appealing to TV audiences is a subject he has mused on even writing an article about why some faces make it while others as dubbed as being 'a good face for radio'.

'Being physically unattractive has never been a bar to being on television,' he mused. 'A plethora of household celebrities leap into my mind at this point. To name names would be unpleasant, but you know who I mean.

'The majority of successful comedians are odd-looking, short, fat men. The reason they become comedians is because women often claim to find a good sense of humour attractive in a man. What they mean is that when they find a man attractive, they'll laugh at any old nonsense that comes out of his mouth.

'Odd-looking, short, fat men endure years of frustration, forever dropping hilarious, ingenious bon mots into everyday conversation only to have women stare blankly at them as if they're speaking Arabic. So they get up on stage and prove to the world how funny they are.'

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'Occasionally a conventionally attractive comedian will become enormously successful. This is because witless TV commissioners think the comedian's good looks will secure impressive ratings for their TV show and bring in a lot of tasty advertising revenue.'

'The whole thing is rank and unethical and stinks to high heaven. Although I would say that, of course, given that I've got the sort of face you'd normally only find carved in stone on a door knocker to an old haunted house. Not that I'm bitter...'

You think he protests too much. Andrew may only recently have broken into mainstream television but he has, in fact, been doing stand-up for some eight years now.

He's visited Norwich on several occasions, performing at Carrow Road with the Red Card Comedy Club, and appearing at the Arts Centre with other comedians as part of the travelling Leicester Comedy Festival.

'I do like coming to Norwich. I get usually get a good response from the audience,' he says.

Andrew's comedy career started to take off after he left university, when he was a finalist of So You Think You're Funny in 2003.

The following year he won the BBC New Act of the Year, the Amused Moose Starsearch and the York Comedy Festival New Act of the Year competition.

He has taken his show to Edinburgh since 2006, when he was nominated for best newcomer for his amazingly titled show How To Butcher Your Loved Ones.

And his 2007 show, Social Leprosy For Beginners and Improvers, was also nominated, this time for the main Edinburgh prize.

Andrew went on to make a Radio 4 show and was nominated for a Sony Award for The Milk Run on Radio 1 in 2006. He also had his own series on Radio 2 called Andrew Lawrence's Cultural Radio Odyssey in 2007.

His appearance on Michael McIntyre's Roadshow has been a highlight in his career, however, he admits, not least because he had to audition for it.

'They auditioned about 100 comedians and so I was delighted to be chosen,' he says. 'It was fun to be working with Michael McIntyre. He is a great host and makes it very easy for you to come on after him. He is also a very inclusive comedian and I like his act.'

The appearance has lead to more TV work and - despite the issue with the title of his tour - Andrew says he is definitely not complaining.

'Doing live stand up is what I really love,' he says. 'But the TV and radio work is an excellent way of building up awareness and getting out there so that people do come along and see the shows.'

He goes on: 'This is the first time I have done a tour on my own and it is wonderful to see it selling so well.'

And he adds: 'The show is a bit like a 'greatest hits' tour with bits from my Edinburgh performances. This is the first time I have been to Norwich with my own show so if you come along, it really will be all me this time.'

? Andrew Lawrence appears at the Norwich Arts Centre on March 3, �10 (�8 cons), 01603 660352,