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28 September 2010

Andy Kind - Comedian

Andy Kind - Comedian

Andy Kind is a comedian. He is originally from Stoke-on-Trent and he has a degree in French from Warwick. He has been doing comedy as a living for five years, and won the Anything for Laffs award. He splits his time between comedy clubs and churches.

Andy featured recently in the 4Thought TV series. 

As a child what did you want to be when you grew up? 

I wanted to be a comedian. I've always found magic in laughter. We're still afraid of laughter in the church.

How did you get involved in comedy?

I came out of university and went into a series of boring sales jobs. Something was nagging me that there was more to my life than trying and failing to sell property on golf resorts. I decided to give comedy a go, so I attended some open mic nights, performing 10 minutes of material at each, and slowly built up a decent reputation.

What is the best and worst thing about this craft?

The best thing is meeting thousands of new people every year and getting a chance to bless them through laughter. Seeing people lifted by what I do is a massive delight. Aside from that, knowing that God has led me into this business and that the gifts he gave me were intentional and for His purpose.

The worst thing is those occasions where the gifts He gave me don't work, and people don't laugh. It doesn't happen that often, but it still hurts when it does.

What makes you angry?

Not spending enough time on my craft; putting in a lazy performance on stage; selfishness and arrogance in myself and others. And Alex Ferguson.

Which comedy character do you most relate to?

I think there are aspects of so many of them in so many of us - that's why we relate to them, of course. I'm tempted to say Homer Simpson, but everyone says that. Tim from the Office strikes a lot of chords, as does Reggie Perrin (the original and best).

My favourite comedy character would be Tobias from Arrested Development.

Gig of the year so far?

I did a gig for Platt Church in Manchester. It was held in a bar as part of the Passion for Life series, and it was packed - close to 200 people. From minute one, the crowd were well up for it. In those circumstances, you can actually sit back and enjoy it with them. You can also experiment a little bit and just have a lot of fun. I heard a few days later that a lady who suffered from insomnia had such a good laugh, she slept all the way through the night. It's stories like that that make the whole enterprise worthwhile.

In the 4Thought TV feature you spoke about a moral responsibility towards the audience.
What about it?

Comedians, some would say, are like modern-day prophets. If that's true, we have to be aware of what we're prophesying. When people come to comedy, they come to be entertained - not to be pistol-whipped with your own personal agenda. My view is that comedy should be unifying, not divisive. When you're on-stage, holding a mic, you have power. You also have a room full of people with their own back-stories, issues, problems and breaking-points. You're never going to please everyone all of the time, but I think if a comedian goes on-stage with a genuine desire to bless the other people in the room, that's a pretty good start.

What's the best recent comedy about the Christian community?

To be honest, I don't know. I think we need to be careful when we write stuff solely for Christians. I don't write comedy for Christians. I write stuff about life in general that, hopefully, everyone can tap into. I liked Rev on the BBC, though. With anything, I think comedy needs to be about laughing with, not at. 

What is the main gist in your forthcoming book?

My forthcoming book Stand Up and Deliver is intended to be a funny reflection on the highs and lows of my first year in comedy. What's most exciting is that it is very different from anything a Christian publisher has put out previously - at least, that's the intention. Adrian Plass is now 130 years old, and nobody has tried successfully to build upon what he has done with his books....until now!! (Dramatic drumbeat, then fade to black).

How can the arts bring wellbeing in society in this next decade? 

I think simply that the arts will always be - hopefully - a way of getting people to engage with their own hearts and souls in unexpected ways, and will provide an escape from the drudgery of daily existence. My main influences for writing comedy actually come from other art forms. Foy Vance and Duke Special (both singer/ songwriters) are massive inspirations for the essence of what I'm trying to do with my comedy.

What is your dream for society?

My dream would be to see people living like Tom and Barbara from The Good Life. Sustainable living, sharing resources and tight-knit communities is something I'm growing increasingly passionate about - mainly thanks to the influence of my wife! I keep saying we'll buy a small-holding somewhere and live with our friends, and I can slowly morph into Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. It probably won't happen, but I never thought I'd be a comic, either.