Weirdos parody Harry Potter: Comedy Spotlight

London's alternative comedy collective Weirdos bring an unofficial Harry Potter parody to the Fringe – under our special Potter-themed spotlight is the collective's chief Auror Adam Larter

Feature by Ben Venables | 01 Jul 2016
  • Weirdos

In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Hagrid informs the young hero, “You're a wizard, Harry.” How might the arc of the story have changed had he actually said, “You're a Weirdo, Harry”?

Harry was a weirdo! Obviously he's a wizard too but he's first and foremost a weirdo. That's why we love and relate to him so much – he's full of repressed emotions and badly articulated frustration. He's the perfect British hero… though if he was part of our comedy gang I suppose the main difference would be that he'd be poorer. We don't have vast reserves of galleons (Wizard dollar – Fantasy Finance Ed.) so we do things on a budget (Jon Brittain's Hagrid costume is two metal buckets and a large brown carpet).

Having been killed by the direct stare of a Basilisk in a Ladies' bathroom, you are left to live in one of the toilets forever. If you had the choice, which Edinburgh toilet would you choose to haunt for all eternity, and why that particular chamber?

That's too easy. Clearly I'd be hiding out in the ladies toilet in the The Elephant House – that's where all Potter fans go and there's Potter graffiti all over it, and a good chance of spotting Rowling in fact. It's where I'm responding to this question right now…

It turns out your beloved pet rat is actually a fully grown man who has been sharing your bed and sitting on your crotch during long train journeys. Explaining your reasons, which comedian would you cast in this role?

This actually happened to me once. Les Dawson was my pet rat for six years as a child – I probably wouldn't have noticed if he didn't play the piano so well. In answer to your question, though, it would be Amy Poehler because she does all the good things.

It's August, and top journo Rita Skeeter is furious to find herself tasked with reviewing comedy shows. Adopting her style, what does she write in her poison-pen review of Harry Potter and the Disappointing Aftermath?

'Pathetic cardboard props, lazy and unbelievable acting. It looks like they're often making it up as they go along. But why do I find myself so attracted to the comedian playing Harry Potter?'

Professor Trelawney was famously part of the student revue who won the first Perrier Award in 1981. What is the exact prophecy she makes about this year's Last Minute Award?

I feel sad for Professor Trelawney; not only did she get a lot of abuse in the HP series but The Sun yelled at her for something to do with cake...?!?! Her prophecy about the Last Minute Award is that the same six comics we expect to get nominated, get nominated. There will also be some great 'newcomers' who have been working on that hour slowly and with dull attention to detail for the last five years.

Harry rips off Snape's notes from the old Potions textbook in The Half-Blood Prince and passes off the work as his own, yet he learns a lot in the process. Is it possible Keith Chegwin can ever improve as a comedian?

The thing that a lot of people don't realise about Keith Chegwin is that he went to school with my mum and dad. It was there that he really learned his craft as a comedian. Obviously my parents were great comedians too – he took a particular shine to my mother. She tried to steer him away from his dark practises but it was too late.

Later, when my parents moved from Essex to Somerset he affiliated himself with some bad comedians (Bobby Davro, Jim Bowen and the dark lord Joe Pasquale). They told him how to steal jokes and he turned his back on my mother. Years later he saw me rising through the ranks on the alternative comedy scene and though he was actually working as a double agent for Pasquale he treated me with great confusion (I have my mother's eyes, you see).

Which dark comedic mentor do you suspect has had a secret life-long crush on your mum, and explain his Snape-like layers of internal conflict?

See above.

More from our Comedy Spotlight:

Shaved Dog Liverpool's own weirdo collective: Shaved Dog

Chris Cantrill A grilling for Delighted Sausage's Chris Cantrill

Harry Potter and the Disappointing Aftermath (An Unofficial Sequel), Laughing Horse @ Ghillie Dhu (Auditorium), 9 & 16 Aug, 11pm, £4-5/PWYW