A nice chat with Late Night Gimp Fight
Andrew Mickel24 July 2011
We had a chat with Late Night Gimp Fight's David Moon (or, if we name them in boy band terms, David Gimp) about the troupe's upcoming Edinburgh show.
We owe David an apology for getting a bit fixated on the gimp thing - sorry David! - and Lee Gimp an apology because we're still having cropping problems and accidentally took him out the picture. Sorry Lee!
David's the one with a bit of a beard.
You're known as the slightly naughty male troupe, how much filth is there in this year's show?
We haven't backed away from the filth in any way. We don't aim to do a filthy or dark show, we do a new show every month throughout the first four or five months of the year, and we just take to Edinburgh the best bits. If we're a filthy show then I think you have to blame the audiences that enjoyed the filthy bits the most. So to answer your question: there are a few trademark filthy sketches, because that's what makes people laugh. If people need a bit of filth and we're the ones to do it.
And what is this year's show about?
It's bigger and more ambitious than anything we've done before. We've taken elements that have worked in last year's show, for example doing inventive theatre pieces, and just take them a stage further. We're trying to create a spectacular show, not just a sketch show. One accusation against sketch comedy is that they're very staid format: lights up, sketch, lights down, move on. Because we all came from theatre rather than comedy background we've got theatre skills and we try to throw a lot of that into the mix to create a big piece of theatre. Obviously it is a sketch show and it is funny but we want it to be bigger and better than a normal sketch show.
Without giving anything away, what's your favourite sketch to bring out on stage?
There's one thing I can tell you and one I can't: the one I can't, one thing that was very popular last year was the hoodie foot which is where put hoodies on our feet and dance a bit like puppetry. There is something equally as exciting you can see in this show. The thing I can tell you about is we do a sketch involving Henry the Hoover, and I can guarantee you won't have seen Henry the Hoover used in this way.
Does Henry get abused?
A few people ask that and it's one sketch where we don't ruin a national icon. It's a celebration of Henry if you like, not a defiling of a cleaning hero.
Put it this way: do you use the same Henry every night or do you have to get in a fresh Henry every day?
It's the same Henry every night so you can take from that we don't destroy him.
Gimp questions: you've been gimping for quite a few years now...
Coming up for three years.
Do you use that as a verb, to gimp?
Yeah, we're now verbs. We gimp around as gimps.
How much do you still use the gimp thing? Haven't you hit the point where you're thinking, oh God, we have to get some gimp suits into this somehow?
We hit that stage within six months. We had thought that every new show we'd get a new sketch in about gimps but the truth is that there are only so many sketches about gimps you can write, especially when the whole thing is they're submissive and they don't tend to speak. You can squeeze only so much comedy before you think, genuinely, there's nothing more you can do with the gimp.
Aside from being in our name it's not something we feel like we have to put a gimp in. Especially when we discovered last year that one of the best way to include a gimp is in the video stings we have between sketches. We don't like black outs at all, we don't allow them, so we have a bit of video action just to keep the comedy rolling. We take a famous film or advert and insert a gimp into it in a comedy way, so that fills the gimp quota.
If silence is an issue, why not go see the Boy With Tape On His Face, he's got all the buzz this year, and just steal his bits and do it with gimps?
Alright, we'll put some gaffer tape over the gimp mask, therefore keeping our trademark and giving us fresh material.
Have you ever gone method with a gimp thing? Gone down Hoist to see your people?
The nearest we come to going method is when we flyer, one person has the mask on and he gets led around on a chain and in a mask to the public. The only interaction he's allowed is to hand out a flyer. People whip him, spank him, take photos with him, so that's as near as we go to actually degrading ourselves.
Well, it's normally something you get into when you're older. You're young, there's still time.
Thank you, yeah.
Aside from Edinburgh, we saw you at Latitude this weekend. Did you catch sight of any kids in the front row during it?
Well, we did go to Llama Tree Festival, there was a 12-year-old in the front row, and that was alarming. I did know someone in the Latitude crowd and she said she saw some 14-, 15-year-old kids who saw a few sketches, and then just quietly took themselves out the tent, which I thought was lovely, the idea that they didn't have to be told off by the parents, they just thought, nope, we shouldn't be watching this, and left.
I'm thinking there's one bit in particular during the strip when you know there's penis on the way and you are just powerless to do anything to do it. What goes through your mind at that point?
I don't know how this happened because I'm sure there's an age restriction of 16 or 17 for us, but last year at Edinburgh there was a girl, someone's daughter, I don't think she could be anything more than 11. She was sat if not in the front row, then in the second row. And people weren't watching the show, they were watching the child. They were checking themselves: is it okay to laugh at this, because there's a kid there? And we knew the strip was coming up, but what can you do? We just ploughed on through. I think Lee exposed himself for a good few seconds less than he normally would, but that was the only concession.
Once it's out there, it might be ten seconds or half an hour.
Yeah, half the people in the world have got one, you've just got to be pretty open about it.
And you're down to do Leeds this year as well, how scared are you?
Absolutely terrified. 50% get bottled off, so when you're a sketch group that people haven't heard of, I don't know what our chances are. It'll be interesting and fun. It's a half-hour set and we think if we hit them with our most high, energetic, debauched material, it'll fly.
We spoke to Doug Stanhope a few weeks ago, he said he tried doing that and he got bottled off.
Well, you've made me feel better than that...
Maybe you need something classy. Like Lee could get his cock out with a bow tie on.
Dress it up, do it a bit of puppetry, yeah...
And you've been doing London shows too.
Yeah, just finished up at the Soho Theatre, which went fantastically, it was really good. We were worried if we could sell a run that long but we got a great review in the Times, and that really helped to sell in the second week. It feels like a benchmark thing you get to in comedy and it has such a great heritage of comedy, so to do the run there was the making of us in many ways, and I'm just glad it went so well.
This sounds like a watershed moment, what are you going to do post-Edinburgh?
Well, we'll see how Edinburgh goes. I'd love to do more shows, a couple more festivals, dates in Ireland, and then we'll start writing for next year, alarming though it is.
Any other plans in the pipeline?
We've been concentrating so hard on the Soho show we're just working on the new show and putting together the material for Edinburgh to make sure we can put on the best show we can. I'm sure there'll be London dates and hopefully a tour will come out of it.
Okay, sell your show in two or three lines.
I don't think there's too many troupes out there doing what we're doing, it's a good combination of silly, dark and highly unusual subject matter, and it's an exciting show we're very proud of.
Lastly, we read a review that described you as homoerotic: what's the most homoerotic thing two gimps have done?
That's the thing, we don't quite understand where this came from. Simon Armitage on Newsnight said we were gaybashing which was even more alarming to us. In the first year we did one sketch with a woman gets sexually attacked in a comedic way by a man, and the sketch gets turned around and the woman attacks him and he realises halfway through he isn't into it. That's a sketch with two blokes, albeit one is a woman, you could perhaps loosely say homoerotic. But otherwise I'm not sure where that's come from.
Well, we'll put some more in this year. If they wants homoeroticism we'll put that up to the max.
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