Ed Aczel: Comedy Spotlight
In Ed Aczel's latest show he's hoping to pin down the nature of existence. So we asked him some very serious spotlight questions...
If we could bend the nature of causality sufficiently to arrange it, and you were spending your time here in a caravan with a well-stocked drinks fridge, which philosopher would you want to share a bunk with and why?
"In my mind it’s got to be an existentialist – and further, someone who leans toward nihilism in some way. I've always avoided getting too bogged down in what your philosophers might call theory, preferring total ignorance as my own academic sword of choice. So it would have to be either Sartre or Camus – as long as they are told not to say, 'have you read X as I think you'd enjoy…' because I won't ever get round to reading X, and if I do I won't understand it.
"Anyway if they come armed with plenty of fags and ideally some food, that would be a bonus in my book."
You do a bit of dream analysis in your show. I had a dream that I was beaten in a 1990 Haven Holidays talent contest by Charlie Manson singing All About That Bass. Can you take me through the symbolism of this?
"So the key to dream analysis is breaking it down into separate parts. Do you secretly want to go on a Haven Holiday break (ideally still with their 1990's product offering)? It's possible – nostalgia is very big these days.
"Is there something about All About That Bass perhaps? From YouTube I can see it's a real thumper. I can also see why Charles Manson might choose this, particularly as it matches his unconventional image.
"Is the world morphing around you into a bizarre Haven talent contest, where the world chooses mad men with great haircuts and a 70s California vibe?
"Or do we just assume a very pungent cheese has been consumed the night before perhaps?"
Occam's razor stipulates that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. Applying this principle, what's your simplest explanation for the fact that I found my last unsuitable boyfriend in my nan's bed wearing nothing but a Bizzy Buzzy Bumblebee headband, sleeping off a bad K-hole with 'COMMUNISM WORKS' written on his chest in pink highlighter?
"He's a friend of the family and he's looking after your Nan's house while she's away. Which in my book bodes well for a long term relationship. Plus he sounds full of life, also good. Go for it."
Albert Camus once said, "To determine whether or not life is worth living is tantamount to answering the fundamental question of philosophy." In one paragraph only: is life worth living? No, really, is it though?
"Good point. According to Camus it was the big question – or the 'to be or not to be – what is the point?'
"I take a great deal of solace in my physical need to eat etc and desire to get a new phone – and whatever happens I know the dog is always going to think going for a walk is a good thing. Existentially that is my answer.
"So simple pleasures, because the universe is still going to deteriorate into just protons, at some point, regardless – with or without me.
"Bam!!! That'll shift a few tickets."
“Hell is other people,” said Satre in his play No Exit. It's wildly misinterpreted, but imagine you are trapped in a room for all eternity with three comedians. Name them, and why exactly have they made your afterlife hell?
"Eternity with three other comedians… the best comedians are confrontational (I am not).
"What about Robin Ince, Stewart Lee and Daniel Kitson? All great people and about the same age as me.
"Although we all have very different backgrounds, there's part of me that feels we could all be sitting in the same room, at the same time, in a parallel universe (a kind of eternal remedial maths class).
"I can't think of anything worse. I'd start out feeling inadequate in their company. Then try to humour them, reach out somehow. Then give up… possibly even foster certain aloofness and then try to think of ways of making a run for it."