Ant Campbell is Liverpool’s most exciting new comedian and a Twitter tour de force, Getintothis’ Peter Guy chatted to him ahead of his next gig with some of Merseyside’s best new bands.
Ant Campbell is on a roll.
In fact, he’s been on a roll for some time. Anyone who’s active on Twitter in the North West will be well aware of the Scouse comedian’s infamous put downs and explosive commentary on just how messed up popular culture is. Such is his online comedic clout, he recently won a Royal Rumble pitting all the funniest North West Twitter accounts against each other in one giant battle royal as voted. The public voted in their thousands.
But a lot of people can be funny on Twitter (see James Blunt). What makes Campbell better than most is his self-deprecating nature that warms him to the reader while his jokes genuinely translate on to the stage – a much greater skill than essentially being an internet show off. Something which requires actual balls too.
And it’s on the stage, that this self-confessed classroom clown from West Derby is truly blossoming into one of Liverpool’s most exciting new comedians. The 25-year-old is a regular at the Hot Water Comedy Club and there’s barely a club in the city he hasn’t performed at.
Such is the clamour for Campbell, his next outing sees him play two gigs on the same night – at the Everyman and Studio 2 on Parr Street – the latter with a handful of Merseyside bands championed on these pages.
With that in mind, we caught up with the 25-year-old Evertonian to talk new music, his favourite comics and tripping over microphone leads in Maghull.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE NEW #TGTAA2017 WINNER
Getintothis: Hey Campbell (that is best to call you that, right? I don’t want to sound like a year seven lad who’s never grown up and still refers to their mates by their surname! How’s tricks?
Ant Campbell: Hahaha! Everyone else does, or on the rare occasion I tell anyone my first name it’s shortened to Ant. Someone called me Tony once and I chased them around town like Liam Neeson in Taken until they corrected themselves.
Getintothis: It’s been a little bit of a whirlwind for you over the last year or so, with a fine rise through the notoriously tricky world of stand up – tell us all about how it happened?
Ant Campbell: My first year has been such a whirlwind, in school I was the class clown, my friends always told me to do it, so I thought I’d give it a go. If you don’t push yourself and try new things it all gets a bit stale doesn’t it? I draw the line at heroin.
Getintothis: Obviously, many people will know you via online and specifically Twitter – your tweets are very funny, and have really captured the imagination – how does that feel, is it a surreal experience? I presume you gauge or use some of this material for your routines or MC-ing?
Ant Campbell: Thanks Peter! It can be, yeah. I just put stuff up there I found funny. Making people laugh is everything to me, and it got a bit out of hand.
Knowing that some of them have been read by hundreds of thousands of people, and my grainy little Steve McDonald from Coronation Street looking face has ended up all over the world is mad.
It’s a good gauge for material – I put a lot more in my set now though because a lot of people rob material off the internet.
Nothing worse than seeing pages with nauseating names like The Archbishop of Banterbury or The Lad Bible use your stuff without permission because they can’t write anything original themselves.
Getintothis: I saw you host the night at the Irish Centre on Boundary Lane – it was a really fun night, but I get quite anxious at comedy, really rooting for the people to win over the crowd, it must be petrifying? Or do you find the buzz overcomes that easily?
Ant Campbell: I enjoyed that night – it was really good turnout!
The first few months learning how it works, trying to remember my set and overcoming nerves had its challenges to say the least. Nothing beats the buzz after a good gig though.
I’ve recently supported Adam Rowe and Russell Hicks, both amazing gigs.
I’ve had a lot of gigs at Hot Water Comedy Club on Seel Street recently which is genuinely one of the best venues in the country as well, I’ve just got to keep working hard, it’s starting to pay off which is rewarding!
Getintothis: How do you deal with hecklers? Have you had any particularly tough gigs?
Ant Campbell: In all honesty, I’ve only been heckled once! And he was wearing a ridiculous shirt so it was like shooting fish in a barrel. I’ve had a few tough gigs like!
I had an absolute nightmare at a gig in Maghull once, but it happens to all comedians at least once.
Once I tripped on the microphone wire and turned all the electricity and lights off as I got on stage, that was a good day as well.
Getintothis: Haha, tremendous! You’re big into your music I hear – what have you been listening to lately? Who in Liverpool music are you into? And… legend has it you saw Arouna Kone buying the La’s album in Probe?!
Ant Campbell: Bob Dylan, Lou Reed and The Stooges are my three favourites!
I’m having a big binge on The Verve recently as well. Superb band. I’m a big fan of The La’s and The Coral – I’m going to the Prenton Park show in May which will I can’t wait for.
My favourite local bands are The Vryll Society, Fuss and Sankofa.
I don’t get to as many gigs now as I used to because it clashes with some of mine. But I get to as many as I can.
Getintothis: Who are your inspirations in comedy from throughout history, and who coming up through the Liverpool circuit do you rate?
Ant Campbell: My biggest influence is Kevin Bridges, hands down.
I think he’s unbelievable. I saw him live at the Philharmonic in 2015 and he was truly next level.
I love Jack Dee and Mitch Hedberg as well.
The Liverpool circuit is incredibly strong there’s too many to mention, from established acts like Adam Staunton and Adam Rowe and newer acts like Simon Wozniak, Callum Oakley and James Allen – the scene at the moment is superb.
Getintothis: Lastly, what’s next – have you any other gigs and are you planning on doing a few shows outside the city?
Ant Campbell: I’ve got a gig at the Everyman on the same night as La Violette Socita (March 28).
Campbell on Twitter – some of his best bits…
Heavy this weather, there's always some little old woman on the news who goes the shop for milk and ends up orbiting the fucking moon
— Ant Campbell (@acampbell68) February 23, 2017
That Arsenal game was the most disastrous one legged performance I've seen since Pistorius heard someone flushing his toilet
— Ant Campbell (@acampbell68) February 15, 2017
some lad with a stutter tried to tell me he was going round to his Nans & by the end of it we were all singing Hey Jude on the fucking table
— Ant Campbell (@acampbell68) March 13, 2016
Eubank Jnr calling out Golovkin is like me walking onto Wimbledon centre court with a tennis racket saying "I'm on next"
— Ant Campbell (@acampbell68) February 5, 2017
Said to me da I can't find my toothbrush and he said "have you checked next to the sink?" – no I've been looking in the fucking garage mate
— Ant Campbell (@acampbell68) September 11, 2016
Hopefully they catch him, sounds like a fucking psycho https://t.co/ZaQnl6CPak
— Ant Campbell (@acampbell68) January 3, 2017
Roses are red
Violets are notorious
Get out of the bathroom
It's Oscar Pistorius
— Ant Campbell (@acampbell68) February 13, 2017
Some bird just clocked me looking at her at the bus stop, so I got down & done 40 press ups, close one, nearly looked like an oddball there
— Ant Campbell (@acampbell68) October 3, 2016
I don't reckon Jamie Vardy was born, I reckon he just climbed out of a fucking Blazing Squad video on the tele like that girl from The Ring
— Ant Campbell (@acampbell68) March 14, 2017