Open mic nights are inevitably disappointing. Audiences are forced to sit through slow acoustic songs about relationships, then relatively sub par humour about relationships, without the redeeming factor of being done in conjunction with one another. Hurt & Anderson crushed this expectation. Laura Anderson, a previous student at The University of York and a member of our comedy society, with her childhood friend Georgia Hurt filled the stage for half an hour with a mix of energetic sketches and musical numbers. These were part of a preview of the comedy double act’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival show.
Laura and Georgia agreed to a chat after their performance about “Bringing Sketchy Back” to the festival, their inspirations and Nick Clegg’s ball-sack.
I asked: how did this double act begin?
“We met in secondary school” explained Anderson, “and the first time we performed together was-” “the school talent show” finished Hurt. Onstage enthusiasm obviously comes naturally to the pair, who bounce off each other to the extent of sharing sentences.
Hurt: We were writing together before that as we shared a lot of lessons and we used to distract each other by…
Anderson: …making each other laugh!
Hurt: Making each other laugh turned to writing sketches with bottles of wine after school. And then we started to write songs. And then-
Anderson: And then that turned to the school talent show. Which we didn’t win.
They have been described as the next Mitchell and Webb, however they feel other comedians better demonstrate their style of comedy.
Anderson: I think we’ve always looked up to French and Saunders. And I really enjoy Mitchell and Webb. I wouldn’t compare us to Mitchell and Webb, but it’s nice that someone did, because I love their comedy.
Hurt: I think we’ve got a few different influences. With the musical side of things probably like…
Together: Tim Minchin
Anderson: Bill Bailey.
Hurt : Yeah we’re massive Bill Bailey fans. And then newer people like Rachel Parris who is really funny. Who else do we like – Josie Long.
Anderson: Josie Long! We love Josie Long.
Hurt : And I really like Nina Conti, but we don’t do ventriloquism. Maybe you could become my dummy.
Anderson: I was going to suggest that you become my dummy.
After a quick debate as to who was more likely to be the dummy (“It would definitely be you!”) we moved on to talking about the most enjoyable parts of their set.
Hurt: Singing takes the nerves away. Especially for me, I can hide behind the guitar a bit.
Anderson: You always make me sing first as well. So whenever I have to sing, because I’m the first on, if I mess it up then it’s all my fault.
Hurt: The songs always get the audience going a bit more I think, they’ll warm to you a lot more. They’re nice in that respect. Get the audience on your side.
I then asked them: how important are previews before going up to a show like Edinburgh?
Anderson: It’s good for testing out material, and it’s good because we hadn’t performed together onstage for more than a year so it was nice to get back into the swing of it.
Hurt: Especially building up to the Fringe because the Fringe is so intense you want to get used to it again. You don’t want to get up on your first night and be like “shit!”. Which will probably happen anyway.
What else are you looking forward to at the Fringe?
Anderson: Seeing other people to be honest, that’s the best part of the Fringe for me.
Hurt: Our show is kind of an afterthought, at the end of the day. We’ve got a list of thing we always see and that we’ll be going to see this year.
Anderson: You see a lot of bad shows but sometimes the bad shows can be good.
Hurt: And what I really like is after your show you get to meet all the other performers. And that’s always really fun, talking to them about their experiences.
Hurt & Anderson already have two Fringe performances under their belt. The new show encompasses some old material but the majority is new.
Anderson: We’re not going to do the Nick Clegg song in this years show, but we did it tonight just because we know it’s a surefire way of getting the audience to listen and get all riled up.
The lyrics to the catchy song give an insight into the life of Nick Clegg. Reference to his ball-sack got the loudest laugh, a sentence which for his sake I hope has never been said before, although that’s nothing I can guarantee. The comedy duo offered advice to those wanting to share similar pieces of art.
Hurt: If you want to get into comedy you’ve just got to try it. It’s such a cliche but if you don’t try you’ll never know. Go with the free fringe. We wouldn’t be able to do it if it wasn’t for the free fringe.
Anderson: It gives you a bit more confidence, because you know you’re more likely to get an audience.
Hurt: There is less pressure doing a free show so you can try out a lot of different stuff. Just go for it.
Hurt & Anderson will be doing another preview of their show in London before the main event in Edinburgh. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to talk to a woman’s magazine, or explore the tragic subtext of Thomas the Tank Engine, then make sure you catch “Bringing Sketchy Back”.