Thrillers With Attitude Literary Smorgasbord: Gary Little

If you have ever been anywhere near a writing group or book festival of any kind, you will know that writers come in all shapes and sizes, from big, robust circles, to tiny, stabby stars. They come in different flavours too, from cool, classic vanilla, to eyeball-exploding, triple-hot chilli sauce. Some of the nicest people around are writers, but some of them truly are mad, bad and dangerous to know.

I have undertaken to meet up with a few of these weirdly-shaped and strangely flavoured writers, some well-established, others emerging, so that you, dear reader, can find out more about them without endangering body or soul. Welcome then, to the Thrillers With Attitude Literary Smorgasbord. My guest this week is comedian, Gary Little.  

Hi Gary, thank you for agreeing to take part in the Literary Smorgasbord. Tell me a little bit about yourself.
A 51yr old Glaswegian. Since 2003 I’ve been doing Stand up Comedy for a living.
What were you like at school?

Most of my report cards probably had chatterbox written on them! I was the class clown, trying to impress my pals.

You have a colourful life story, some of which you refer to in your stand-up, but what has been the evolution of Gary Little the comedian?

I was always trying to entertain people at parties. The guy you thought was funny, or an arsehole. Or both. Someone had seen me a few times, and suggested to someone who ran a comedy night, to give me a shot. I eventually gave it a shot. Then The Stand comedy club had a competition, along with the Daily Record. I was one of the finalists.

I caught your act when you were in Ullapool – it was a cracking night, but what really struck me was the way so many of your stories stayed with me days, and even weeks afterwards.  I think this had something to do with the truth in your act.  You seemed to be laying yourself bare on the stage.  How deep do you dig when you are writing material for your act – how much of yourself are you exposing?

I like telling stories. I feel more comfortable talking about things that are true. I think people can identify with stuff that I’m talking about. Depression, death of my mum, being in jail. All the good stuff! Fortunately a lot of bad stuff has happened in my past, and that’s always funny for other people! Nobody wants to hear good stories.

Can you tell me something about the process of writing a stand-up routine?

For me, most of my stuff will come to me when I’m out walking my dogs. I then just go over it in my head,again and again. Only when I have a show coming up ,will I write it down. Even then it’s not all there.

How do you get a feel for what’s going to work?
I try the new stuff every week at new material nights in Glasgow. No matter how funny I think it is,only doing it live will tell me if it works.
Have you ever got it badly wrong – as in tumbleweed moments?
I’ve never had total silence! Had a lot of gigs where I never enjoyed it as much as the audience.
When crappy stuff happens, do you ever think, brilliant – material for the act?
That’s my whole set!
Have you ever written, or considered writing, fiction in any form?
I’d love to write something,but I keep thinking I’m kidding myself on. While in prison I wrote a short story that ended up in the book Days Like These. It was all short stories by people who had never been published before. Mine was called The King And I. It was about how I felt when I heard Elvis died.
Are there any writers or comedians who inspire you?
Loads of comics I admire. Charles Bukowski is a writer who makes writing seem easy. Maybe he will inspire me.
Is there a particular story you tell that works every time, or does it depend on the room?
Probably the dog in the park routine. Everyone likes a dug story!
Any favourite stand-up moments?
Playing the Kings Theatre in Glasgow.  Supporting American comic Bill Burr. Performing in New York.  And any audience that is laughing at me is a favourite!
What about the worst?
I played a club in Leeds recently. I knew before the gig started,that it wouldn’t be great. I was right.  That was painful to the ego.
What are you working on right now?
My Edinburgh festival show. I’m at the Stand 9.30pm every night.
What is your writing routine?
I don’t have one. I just talk to myself when I’m out walking the dogs.
What advice would you give the young Gary Little?
Look after your teeth. Learn a musical instrument. Don’t get caught!
I’d pay to watch the film of your life story, but who will play Gary Little on the big screen?
Matt Damon!
A few short questions to finish.  Who is your favourite author? 
Charles Bukowski
Food…
Fish
Drink…
Wine. Red or white
Film…
Cinema Paradiso, Blade Runner, Once upon a time in America… Too many to list!
Comedian…
Billy Connolly,who made it okay to just tell a story. Chic Murray. Loads of club comics who I see every week on the circuit.
Music…
Loads of stuff from Smiths, Joy Division, Scott Walker, to club music.
What are you reading right now?
Ian Banks The Quarry.
It’s been a pleasure having you on the Literary Smorgasbord, Gary.
Gary Little

Gary Little

For tour dates and to find out more about Gary, check out his website.
You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
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