Carl Donnelly is a comedian with a knack for observational humour. His popular comedy podcast, co-presented with Chris Martin, has seen him master the art of digression. He talks train drivers, his love for stand-up, and veganism.
Disorder: What are you working on right now?
Carl Donnelly: I’m currently writing my new Fringe show The Nutter On The Bus, which is shaping up to be about my attempts at dealing with my anxieties with a strange selection of spiritual (and often foolhardy) endeavours.
What people, places or things inspire you?
I’m actually inspired by everyday stuff. I tend to walk around and just spot things all the time that get my mind racing. I recently saw two train drivers cross over shifts and the one who was clocking off said to the guy taking over the train “Have fun!” and it stuck with me for days. It made me hark back to children who say they want to be train drivers when they grow up and how these guys had managed that. The fact they referred to it as “fun” really made me happy. That’s how easily inspired I am.
What artists turn you on?
I love people that mess around with the form of whatever they do. That can be comedians, musicians, anyone really. I’ve recently discovered Flying Lotus who releases these crazy jazz/hip-hop fusion albums and I just can’t get enough of them. It’s bonkers!
What is your ultimate ambition?
My ambitions tend to be quite pretentious in that they’re not about mainstream success but more writing as good a stand-up show as is possible. I always try to be as honest as I can be onstage but I think there are still some rocks unturned in my life that I’d like to get into onstage. Hopefully, I can get them out this year.
What got you started?
I fell in love with stand up the first time I saw it. I was in a job I didn’t like and was always looking for a spark to let me know what I wanted to do. Then I saw live stand-up for the first time and the immediacy of it blew me away. I knew then I wanted to do it and have loved doing it from day one!
What has been the biggest surprise/lesson along the way?
That no matter how great a show you have, you always know it could have been done better. You can have the best gig you’ve had all year and everyone in the audience could love it but you’ll still have a couple of moments you think you could have done better.
Who was your first crush?
Pamela Anderson. It’s a clichéd one but I was the perfect age when Baywatch came out and had feelings about her that I didn’t even understand!!
Who are your favourite fictional heroes?
My favourite novel ever is The Princess Bride, so I should probably pick Wesley from that as I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic at heart.
What/where do you like to eat or drink?
I’m a vegan so basically anywhere that caters to my kind.
When do you feel most yourself?
At home. Being a comedian means spending a lot of time away so I love getting home in my own space.
When are you at your worst?
When I’m anxious. I’m much better at dealing with my emotions these days, so when I do have a dodgy patch I’m more aware of how I behave and I hate it. I become really moody and insular and needy. Gladly my bouts of it are fewer and farther between these days.
What would you most like to change in the world?
I should probably go with my vegan lifestyle as something that I’d like to spread throughout the world. I genuinely think if people begun to see animals as individuals rather than commodities for our use it would help people start viewing other people in a better light too. I think we need to lift our consciousness as a species and start aiming higher and being better to all living things. Veganism is a nice easy starting point.
What talent do you wish you had?
I wish I was better at guitar. I’m a rudimentary guitarist at best so would love to be amazing at it.
What is your dominant characteristic?
I think I’m very genuine. I very rarely have any motive when talking to people other than just getting to know them. I’d like to think people can tell that when they meet me.
What do you appreciate most in your friends/coworkers?
My friends are all from very different backgrounds so I enjoy their malleability in being accepting of all people and opinions.
What innovation/invention do you love most?
Skype, FaceTime etc. have made life on the road a lot easier as a phone call is no replacement for actually being able to look at the person you’re talking to.
Unpaid endorsement: what can you recommend?
There is a YouTube channel called “Yoga With Adriene” that is the best way of getting into yoga on earth. She has released so many videos for all different levels and it’s all free so is amazing.
What is your idea of happiness?
Being with my friends on a day off.
What would you do if you were not doing this?
I dread to think.