Comedy Spotlight: Peter Brush

Meet Peter Brush, 'a very serious man'

Feature by John Stansfield | 26 Feb 2014
  • Peter Brush

Late last year Peter Brush made it to the final of the BBC Radio New Comedy Award, a competition that has launched the careers of former winners Julian Barratt, Marcus Brigstocke and Josie Long. Unfortunately, Brush did not win and joins other also-rans such as Daniel Kitson, Chris Addison and Gary Delaney. Very good company, and one presumes Brush might be more comfortable being just out of the spotlight anyway; as a performer who lets his neuroses and awkwardness drive his performance, it may shatter him to be told he is the best at something.

Brush is a strange mix of introvert and extrovert, naïve youth and old soul, confident and terrified – a duality that extends to the kinds of gigs he plays. While he's comfortable on a straight stand-up bill, he excels when given more rein to do whatever he wants, i.e. strange theatre pieces that explore the nature of storytelling with the use of poorly rendered pictures and a dictaphone. A natural for comedy, he tells us how he’d much rather be a folk singer.

"From a comedy point of view, no one is better than Woody Allen, in my opinion, not only in terms of his substance, but his productivity is also quite inspiring. I’m coming to feel the same way about Daniel Kitson as well. I’m not just influenced by comedy sorts, of course. I sometimes wish I was Bob Dylan."

First gig:
"I’m not saying where this was, but I think I half blagged my way on to a pro line-up, and I really shouldn’t have been there. From a personal point of view I got one or two laughs, so I count that as a partial success, but that may not have been what everyone else thought."

Best gig:
"I don’t know really, but I like the ones where you have to work to win over difficult or sceptical crowds. It’s very satisfying to come out of a challenging gig with credit, whereas I sometimes feel like any idiot can do a ‘nice gig.'"

Worst gig:
"Any ‘nice gig.’"

Circuit favourites in the Northwest:
"I love the character comedy stuff that Lee Fenwick and Peter Slater do at SOS, it’s probably my favourite comedy night, I wish we had more of that type of thing. Also, Phil Ellis."

Favourite venue:
"Glasgow Stand. The room is shaped/sized very well, and the people that fill it have been worthy of that terrific club."

Best heckle:
"I don’t want to answer this question."

"Essentially, always writing and doing bigger and better things."

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing stand-up:
"I’d like to think I’d be doing something else that I have an overly romanticised idea of, like being a travelling folk singer or something. Although the realities of the ‘on the road’ lifestyle (especially from a hygiene point of view) mean that in all likelihood I’d probably not be cut out for it. I hope I’d be doing something else with my ‘creative energy’ though, that I had some kind of route of escapism."

Question from January's Spotlight, Gein’s Family Giftshop: Who do you think you are and where do you get off?
"I am a very serious man. I don’t know where I get off though, I’m like a stranger on a bus in an unfamiliar town."

Peter Brush is at SOS at 3 Minute Theatre, Manchester, on Wed 5 Mar