Dan Antopolski is a British stand-up comedian, actor and writer. You may recognise him for his appearances on various television programs and radio shows, and is best known to a younger audience for hosting the game show The Dare Devil. Dan Antopolski won the BBC New Comedy Award in 1998, and in 2009 he was awarded with the Dave Award for Best Joke at the 2009 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The joke in question was “Hedgehogs – why can’t they just share the hedge?” – hard to argue. Dan Antopolski has appeared at comedy festivals all around the world; and is a regular performer at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and TV comedy panel shows. This year, Dan Antopolski will be performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival again, and will be at the Assembly George Square (Venue 17) at 9.15pm from the 2nd August – 27th August and the show is called ‘Return of the Dan Antopolski’ – find tickets here. Please enjoy my interview with the brilliant, Dan Antopolski…
When someone asks you ‘what do you do for a living?’ – How do you respond?
I’m a comedian.
I’m currently reading Kafka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami.
What’s your earliest memory of reading?
Mr Men books maybe. When I read them to my young children the memory of being entertained by them myself came rushing back after 30 years.
If you could encourage young people to read one book in particular, what would it be?
I’d encourage them to read Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor.
When did you fall in love with making people laugh?
As soon as I started standup I got addicted to the thrill of an audience’s laughter.
What is the worst job you’ve ever had?
I was a waiter in Pizza Hut in Cambridge. I was dreadful and the culture was dreadful – staff were “incentivized to suggestively sell a meat feast”, I am not making that up.
What two pieces of advice would you give a young aspiring comedian?
Get as much stagetime as you can and try to dismantle your ideas about standup until you find your way back to your own voice, you’ll pick up stagecraft on that circuitous journey.
Who would you say your three biggest comedic influences are?
Sean Lock, Louis CK and Norm MacDonald.
Do you read as much as you’d like to?
I’d recommend How I Escaped My Certain Fate: The Life and Deaths of a Stand-Up Comedian by Stewart Lee, it is compulsory and hugely funny.
Is there a book that you’ve read more than once? What is it and why did you revisit it?
The Family of Pascual Duarte by Camilo José Cela – Spanish miserablism makes one feel light.
What book have you recommended the most to friends and family?
The book I’ve recommended most is The Collected Writings of Ambrose Bierce by Ambrose Bierce.
If you weren’t in comedy, what do you think you’d be doing?
I was going to be a lawyer so maybe that.
What’s your favourite genre of book?
What do you think a world without books would be like?
Is there an author whose writing you’re such a fan of, that you’ll read everything they release?
Do you think digital books will ever completely replace real books?
I hope they don’t but I fear they will.
I feel humanity would benefit from reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio.
What is the book that you feel has had the single biggest impact on your life?
The Bullet by Mary Louise Kelly – but only because it was in my breast pocket when someone threw a bible at me.
Are there any books you haven’t mentioned that you feel would make your reading list?
What books or subject matter do you plan on reading in the next year?
I’ll be reading more books on Economics.
If you were to write an autobiography – what would it be called?