Connect 4: Will Mars interview

Stand-up Will Mars chats to The Skinny about both his established and new routines

Feature by Ben Venables | 07 Aug 2015
  • Will Mars

Comedian Will Mars is not one for a quiet life. It's not so long since he relocated to New York, but now he's coming back for the Fringe with a total of four shows. Speaking to The Skinny he says: "It's not because I wanted to be that busy, it's because they are all shows I want to do."

Mars is perhaps best known as the creator of the huge hit show Joke Thieves, where comedians are paired up by the audience to perform – or steal – each other’s comedy routines. Such has been its success that it has now a sibling show based on the same premise: Sketch Thieves, which debuts at this year's Fringe.

Alongside a solo show, the quartet is completed by something of a "hybrid of stand-up and improvisation" called Routines with Mars, starring alongside Dana Alexander, Stephen Carlin and Matt Roper.

"Routines is something that has been at my brain for a while," says Mars, "It's my new idea on how to show an audience how comedy works."

"I'm nervous because it has a lot to live up to in terms of my expectations of how well things can go, as they have with Joke Thieves. Routines is improvised theatre and has a lot more in common with a show such as [Jane Austen improv show] Austentatious, albeit we're not in costume. In Routines we show stand-ups backstage before, during and after the show, and scenes that revolve round the crossover between the host and the act as they come off stage. You get to see the comics talk about other comics; things stand-ups say about the audience backstage.

"The other thing with Routines is there’s only so much we can rehearse because the key to the show is that it will change every day, and that's our idea to keep it fresh. It's improv that won't fall on crutches. There will always be something different.”

Joke Thieves, The Counting House, 10.15pm, 6-27 & 29-30 Aug, 10.15pm, free
Routines, The Free Sisters, 6-17 & 19-30 Aug, 3.45pm, free
Sketch Thieves, City Cafe, 6-17 & 19-30 Aug, 1.45pm, free
Will Mars: Outspoken White Guy, City Cafe, 6-17 & 19-30 Aug, 6.45pm, free

Backstage interviews with artists following their appearances at Joke Thieves and Sketch Thieves will also be available at