Comedian Adam Bloom talks life, comedy at The Comedy Store in Central London
We Sat down with Adam Bloom at The Comedy Store in Central London about other side jobs, some of his favorite comedy clubs in London, advice for younger comedians and much more.
1. What other jobs did you do before starting stand up comedy?
I was a cocktail bartender, that’s all I really did before being a comedian. I loved it.
It was actually similar to being onstage, especially when the bar was busy. I’ve
always been an extrovert, so any large group of people was an audience to me,
especially a classroom or school bus. If a teacher gave me a detention for messing
about, I’d see it as an encore.
2. How did you know you wanted to be a comedian?
You’re assuming I did (you’re right). I was nine years old on holiday in Germany
with my Mum and sister, visiting friends. I made a pun at a bus stop and my Mum
and her friend groaned, paused and then turned to each other as if to say ‘That
joke actually had structure’. I can clearly remember thinking ‘I’m going to be a
comedian one day. I know it and you know it’. Looking back, I realize that only I
3. If you weren’t doing comedy, what would you be doing?
I think I’d be a teacher, I love the idea of influencing people in a positive way that
can affect their whole lives. The only problem is that I just don’t know what I can
teach apart from comedy and be making drinks. However, I’d have to Google half of
the drinks to refresh my memory (something my students could also do, making
my job semi-redundant). I saw a British comedian called Harry Hill when I was 22.
Three weeks later, I did my first gig. So, he changed my life. I may have always
known I’d do it one day, but Harry was the tipping point. So, yeah, teacher. I just
need to learn something worth teaching (a course in being succinct would be
useful to at least me).
4. Where are some of your favorite places to perform?
I love festivals because they attract people who see stand-up as an art-form. As
for places, I love South London because people tend to be very real and at the
moment with you and not scared to join in, which I love. Birmingham (UK) has a
really good attitude (if you can generalize a city with millions of people in it).
5. Who are some of your favorite up-and-comers in the comedy world?
Two people are really doing it for me. Tom Ward and Peter Brush. I just get excited
when I see someone with an original angle on The World.
6. What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
My mentor Arnold Brown quoted this gem to me, it’s origin is unknown – The
difference between a performer and an artist is that a performer gives their
audience what they think they want and an artist gives them what they didn’t know
they wanted. This epitomizes the experience I had when I first saw Harry Hill. Until
he came onstage, I’d been laughing at comedians observing how unrealistic
sanitary towel adverts are and I was laughing because I accepted that was what
live stand-up was about. Then Harry came along and blew my mind with insanely
innovative, unique comedy.
7. When did you feel like you were a pro comedian?
There were two stages. I remember the first time I did paid gigs at bigger clubs on
both the Friday and Saturday of one week. It suddenly occurred to me that I’d just
earned almost as much as I’d earned in a week as a bartender. That felt amazing.
The other stage came a few months later, it was when Don Ward who owns The
Comedy Store watched me do an open spot and came over and said ‘Have you
got your diary on you?’ That was the second time I flew home without assisted flight. The first was after my first kiss. I’m sad to say there was no comparing of
diaries that day.
8. How often do you perform comedy per week?
One a quiet week I’ll do three shows, on a busy week I can do as many as ten.
9. What are your favorite comedy clubs that you perform at?
The Comedy Store in Central London and Up The Creek in South London.
10. How do you deal with hecklers?
I love being heckled as long as it’s not talking over me and isn’t aggressive. I try to
improvise and be in the moment, rather than use pre-written lines. After all, the
heckler isn’t bringing prepared stuff and, more to the point, I didn’t have any
material on the school bus home. The biggest laugh of the night in a comedy show
is almost inevitably a response to a heckle. It’s what makes live stand-up live.
11. What advice would you give your younger self?
It’s more than I’d like to thank him for doing his first gig. I remember the intense
fear, even a year in. I don’t know how he got past those moments. If I had to give
him advice it would be to use the time well when your industry is watching you
closely as, like anything apart from time, it will eventually end.
12. How would you describe your brand of comedy?
Ah, I don’t like this question. It’s a bit like asking a model why they’re beautiful. It
suddenly makes them sound vain. In a nutshell, it’s intense and idea-based rather
than observational or anecdotal and yet often personal despite being about ideas. I
hope that makes sense. Someone extremely successful once described me as
having an ‘intense and fragile honesty’. I think that sums me up in three words.
13. What do you talk about in your act?
Me, my experiences and my thoughts about The World around me. Never current
affairs and almost never celebrities. I’m looking down at things, not up.
14. How did you develop your style of stand up? Who were your influences
growing up; both from the world of comedy and elsewhere?
It’s a slow process, like a pebble forming its shape on a beach. I believe you start
off emulating your heroes (Alexei Sayle & Ben Elton) and your audience gradually
guide you towards your own unique voice by laughing at the funniest flashes of
15. I love to interview comedians. Can I ask what happens when you are in front of a crowd and no one laughs?
I joke about the fact that I’m failing and that at least tends to make them warm to
you. If that fails more than once, you’re in trouble. A heckle can help at that point
as it’s your chance to turn it round in a flash. Audiences are very fickle, which is
great for those moments.
16. What made you decide to be a comedian? Were you born funny?
I don’t know if people are born funny, but I definitely have funny relatives. My Dad
is no looker, but he could always make waitresses laugh and even flirt and I
remember thinking ‘Hmmm, this could be useful in life’. Now, we’re about to get
stuck on nature/nurture thing, so I’ll leave it to having a funny Dad.
17. When can people see it?
I have just been in seven countries in seven weeks. Now, I’m just gigging in the UK for a while. adam-bloom.com/dates/index.htm. Nothing in The States, I’m afraid. The U.S. Work permits are a nightmare to acquire.
18. Is there anything else that you wish to promote?
Nope. Thanks, this was fun.
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