I spent eight years as a standup comedian gigging around the country and visiting the Edinburgh Fringe six times. I moved to London on 11th September 2001 (Yes, that day – the streets were quieter than I’d anticipated) to join the Soho Theatre’s Young Writers Programme. Back then I had the serious yearnings of being a serious playwright, but soon found out that all my colleagues wanted to write about rape and incest and so my two man play about someone needing a fag break wasn’t quite dark enough. In that time I did write a short play that was perfomed at a reading there, I have just unearthed it – it’s called Japan At Night and takes place in the half time of a World Cup football match.
I saw some proper standup for the first time and got hooked, comedy was slowly starting to call and I tried to come up with an idea for a show that might go to Edinburgh about trying to become a celebrity. That morphed into a four-hander sketch show Insert Punchline Here, which, although hardly like anything that came after, got me to the fringe and the Gilded Balloon in 2003. I was well and truly infected by the comedy bug and when back in London booked my first standup gig at The Kings Head in Crouch End. It went ok and I schlepped on to the open mic comedy circuit, even getting to the final of the (impressive at the time) 2005 Laughing Horse New Act of the Year. I didn’t place.
One of a generation of young, articulare post Lee & Herring comics
Gigging was fun, but I always thought that my type of comedy (along with a lot of my cohorts) never really fitted into the above a pub drunk late night mould of modern standup. I’d always wanted to emulate the New York anti-folk scene, after hearing about Jeffrey Lewis doing music gigs in a New York laundromat. My ideas often wither on the vine, but in Edinburgh 2006 I met Tom Searle and after a nice cup of tea laughterinoddplaces was born. We ran gigs in libraries, record shops, Hampstead Heaths, Bruce Dessau’s house and did three mega shows at the Museum of London before calling it a day.
In 2007 I was back in Edinburgh for my third solo show, Missed Connections, which got me nominations for the annual Chortle Awards in Breakthrough act, Best Show and Innovation in Comedy (for laughterinoddplaces).
Saunders’ Alan Bennett-esque talent for finding beauty in everyday life… Encourages us to also look at our surroundings with a new sense of wonderment
In 2008 I had my own Radio 4 show, a one off story called Dad Designs, in which I wished Kevin McCloud was my dad, and he agreed. I also appeared on 28 Acts in 28 Minutes, The Verb, Out To Lunch, have been on 6music and wrote for the Now Show a few times as well as (somewhat weirdly) childrens BBC coverage for Formula One. As it happens I’m a huge F1 fan (for an inexplicable reason I’ve never quite managed to fathom) and have used this geekery to work as a sometime pundit on BBC fivelive’s F1 coverage, sit in an actual F1 car and run my own mildly successful anotherf1podcast. Just lately I’ve been back playing “Two” for the Ministry Of Stories (a bloody excellent story workshop and Monster supply store in Hoxton that I implore you to check out) for a cbeebies podcast. Also on the radio route me and Tom Bell used to be the “Indie Cops” on Resonance FM, it was a fun mostly made-up-on-the-spot-because-we-got-there-late show that involved indie music and crime fighting.
A great knack for elevating the mundae minutia of life into something much lovelier.
I carried on doing standup at gigs, festivals, talks, little tours and my own shows but wound it all up at the Bloomsbury Theatre in November 2011 (I wish I could say it was a Terry Saunders testimonial/tribute – but it was actually a benefit for Resonance). And so now, after years of introducing myself as a comedian I don’t know what I call myself, hoping I’ll be able legitimately say novelist at some point in the future, but until then I’m just some bloke that’s done stuff. And that’ll do me nicely.