Kev F. Sutherland is, sadly, not quite a household name yet. But if you are big into the live comedy scene, attend the Edinburgh Fringe and/or are in the right circles, he is a big name.
Not only is he arguably the man who gave Stephen Merchant and Miranda Hart their first break, but was also the inspiration behind Neil’s Dad The Inbetweeners (Kev’s old friends Damon Beesley and Iain Morris have never actually confirmed this, but we all know it’s true).
Disgustingly multi-talented as a comedian, comic artist, musician, caricaturist and writer among many others (he’s probably a professional bloody plate-spinner in his spare time for all I know…), you might have seen him on Points West, The Culture Show, Comedy Shuffle, Battle of The Books, The One Show and Upstaged.
2013 looks set to be the year of Kev (I’m sure he was just behind the Pig in the Chinese Zodiac) what with his YouTube blockbuster stars and constant Fringe sell-out staples The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre (imagine one of the better comedy double acts as sock puppets and you’re about there) on tour again, and his most enduring creation (well, the longest-running, anyway) The Sitcom Trials- a revolutionary live comedy format- poised to bounce back in the big, big way.
So, without further ado, I went to interview a dear old friend of mine who will be so stratospheric by this time next year I’ll probably end up interviewing ‘his people’. Such is showbiz…
So, Kev, explain to the uninitiated who you are and what you do/ have done?
You couldn’t just read Wikipedia? I’m been writing and drawing comics since the late 1980s, beginning in Oink comic and Viz, then producing Viz lookalike like UT, Gag & Kack, writing and drawing for everything from Red Dwarf Smegazine and Doctor Who Magazine to Marvel comics. In 2004 started producing the work for which I’m best known and of which I’m most proud, in The Beano.
Aside from comics i’ve worked as a stand up comedian since the 90s, which has spawned The Sitcom Trials, my show which puts sitcoms on the stage, and my comedy act The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre which is possibly the biggest part of the work I do. I also teach kids in schools how to write & draw comics.
What were your influences growing up- were they more comic-based, comedy-based, music-based…?
Marvel comics, lots of TV, lots of pop music. These are unshakeable influences that today’s kids are very unlucky to have missed out on. Except the TV, that’s better these days. But to be a kid during the heyday of Marvel comics and Top Of The Pops was brilliant, trust me.
Down to business- what is the concept of The Sitcom Trials?
Sitcoms compete head to head and the audience vote for their favourite. With each sitcom ending on a cliffhanger/ad-break moment, the audience then only sees the ending of the sitcom that wnsthe popular vote. It means they’re never more than 10 minutes away from something they might prefer, and we don’t waste their time with anything they don’t like.
Do you reckon with a push, this could revolutionise Comedy in the panel-obsessed, X-Factor world we live in?
I reckon, with a push, this could revolutionise Comedy in the panel-obsessed, X-Factor world we live in.
And what is currently happening with The Sitcom Trials that you can tell us about?
Big plans. Big Biiig plans. That I can’t tell you about. I can tell you there is a team in Bristol, a team in Manchester, and a team in London, who have been producing shows throughout 2012 and are primed to do even bigger and better things in 2013. You can see the fruits of their work at sitcomtrials.co.uk
Do you think this could leave an impact on British Comedy like Second City & The Upright Citizen’s Brigade have in The US?
I think this could leave an impact on British Comedy like Second City & The Upright Citizen’s Brigade have in The US. And I haven’t even heard of The Upright Citizen’s Brigade.
What advice would you give, if any, to all the budding comedians out there?
Get a job and stop stealing my gigs. And don’t say things like that out loud.
So, where will we next see your fine self, with or without The Sitcom Trials in tow? Youtube? On Tour? WHERE, DAMMIT?!?!?!
Sitcom Trials can be seen Feb 22 Bristol, other dates and venue to be announced.
The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre begin dates in Malta on Feb 2 & 3, then Leicester Comedy Festival Feb 8-10, then loads of dates, which I must update. They should be here: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/ScottishFalsettoSocks/app_141463972541141 (but that needs updating badly. I can do that.)
Check out Kev’s website for all your Sitcom Trial, Sock, Comic Art & Caricaturing needs- http://www.comicfestival.co.uk/ . As soon as there are updates on The Sitcom Trials, expect all the scoops to be posted here at WhatCulture!
This article was first posted on January 6, 2013