David Trent interview: playing with Powerpoint, Sigur Ros and James Acaster's career
Andrew Mickel16 October 2012
A 'Q&A' with David Trent, including an actually quite touching tribute to James Acaster...
David Trent, the huggable face of presentation comedy (we have never hugged him, he just has a nice beard) has sped up the comedy Powerpoint presentation for the YouTube age with his super slick editing skillz, cutesy animations, and more importantly, actual funny jokes.
We asked him some questions ahead of him appearing at the Shepton Mallet Digital Arts Festival (!!) in early November which he answered partly with words and partly with videos.
First of all, let’s arbitrarily pick one of his HI-NRG show openings as a warm-up:
It’s been a pretty tremendous summer for you; how are you planning on building on it?
I was hoping to start with Autumn, move gently into Winter and then hopefully have a good old go on Spring.
I am not planning any building work this year.
Another fantastic joke.
I’m going to gig as much as I can, I’m going to do some secret stuff which will be revealed once I’ve done it and I’m going to see a liver consultant.
Spontaneity! What’s the most spontaneous way you can answer this question?
What’s the most admirably spontaneous thing you’ve seen a fellow comedian do?
I never saw it, I only heard it. I once couldn’t be arsed to drive to London to do a new material spot so I rang James Acaster while he was at the club and asked him if he’d go on and try out my material while I dictated it down the phone.
He agreed to do so. Once he got onto the stage I told him that the first thing I wanted him to try out was just to sing the “WOY YOY YOY, WOY YOY YOY YOY” bit from Buffalo Soldier. I made him do that for approximately one minute. Doesn’t sound like long, but considering it was only a five-minute spot it was very long. After that I made him try out a few of my new jokes which really didn’t go down well at all, some of which had visual punchlines which, of course, he had no means of delivering so he had to describe what would have been shown if I had been there...
For a final showstopper I made him, apropos of nothing say “That’s the way I roll London, that’s the way I roll, JUST LIKE DANIEL KITSON SAYS…I JUST WANT TO BE DANIEL KITSON, PLEASE, LET ME BE DANIEL KITSON.”
He did everything I threw at him despite the fact that two agents had come down to the gig to see him and he didn’t have representation at the time.
A lot of people say James Acaster is some kind of whimsical daisy comedian but those people are wrong. He is a tough guy and a hero to me.
[At this point I would quite like to say that after James Acaster wrote us a piece about the Fudge Kitchen for our (amazing) series on Secret Edinburgh this summer, we got sent a LOT of fudge. He really does weave his magic in mysterious ways...]
You have actual children. Are they allowed to see the show? Do they inspire anything in it?
No, they are not allowed to see the show. Not since my seven-year-old son acted out one of my routines to the delight of his class and I got an email from his teacher asking me to remind him that “bump and grinding is perhaps not saved for registration?”
It took me every ounce of will power not to reply that the problem we have with our son is his refusal to accept that there’s anything wrong with a little bump and grind.
What’s the best thing about Microsoft Powerpoint?
Right Click / Background / Fill / Texture or Picture / From File / Stretch Options / Left 0% Right 0% Top 0% Bottom 0%
What do you think is the new Sigur Ros in TV ad-making circles? Have we reached a post-The XX world yet?
Sigur Ros have never allowed their music to be used for adverts, ever – look.
The only time I really noticed the whole thing was when I was watching Masterchef – they were very manipulative, but last year they seemed to switch from soundtracking every emotional cumshot with an overwrought pop song, replacing it with music that I reckon was either commissioned by them or is classical so it’s out of my league.
However, this playlist by “Sweet Shazzle” is pretty comprehensive and contains most of the main offenders - Masterchef 2011 (Spotify playlist link) - thanks Sweet Shazz.
Whilst we’re on the subject, I was delighted that I couldn’t spend 15 minutes watching the telly over the summer without wanting to garrote David Bowie because of THIS BULLSHIT –
Be aware everyone, Bowie refused the invitation to do the closing concert. HE. REFUSED.
Have you ever gotten into an actual argument with yourself on screen? Do you dream as David Trent?
No. Yes. Oh I see. Am I a replicant? Well this is all I ever dream of…
David is performing on 10 November at the Shepton Mallet Digital Arts Festival, which you can find out more about over here, apart from answering the crucial question of where the blue heck Shepton Mallet is (Somerset, is the answer).
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