'Filthy, camp and utterly fearless' – Scott Capurro hits Stortford's Laughing Bishops Comedy Club
Comic Scott Capurro took time out from his 56th birthday meal – an Italian lamb dish in case you're interested – to chew the fat with Indie news editor Sinead Corr about what his audience can expect when he appears at the Laughing Bishops Comedy Club on Saturday...
The American actor – with roles in 1993 comedy Mrs Doubtfire and the voice of Beed Annodue in 1999’s Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace under his belt – is not for the faint-hearted, with deliberately provocative material.
As a writer, his acclaimed first novel, Fowl Play, is a comedy about murder and date rape. On stage, his philosophy is simple – no one is safe and nothing is sacred, not even quips about dead kids.
Time Out London said of him: “There are some topics which just aren’t suitable for comedy. Luckily for us, Scott hasn’t worked out which ones they are yet. He’s filthy, camp and utterly fearless. There’s also a huge amount of heart and intelligence at work in this show if you really listen carefully to what he’s actually saying.”
Raised in San Francisco, he said his aim was to “try to change your mind about the way gay men behave”.
So during the interview, it was no surprise he made a point of defending Kevin Hart, the African-American actor and comedian who was just forced to stand down as Oscars host after he was accused of homophobic posts on social media.
Scott said: “He made a joke ten years ago and has since apologised for it. Why blame the black guy for homophobia? It’s ‘Let’s take down another powerful black man’ – America is good at that.”
He contrasted the treatment of Hart with the eulogies for the late George Bush at his funeral last week and called out the hypocrisy, saying: “He was a monster to the gay community and to women as well. He was horrible.”
As well as dissecting race and sexuality, Scott takes pot-shots at politics and racism – and Brexit and Donald Trump’s presidency are proving a rich seam of material for his uncompromising shows.
Wwinner of the Perrier Award for best newcomer at the Edinburgh Festival in 1994, he said the biggest challenge for commentators currently was keeping up with the twists and turns of both and wrestling with their similarities.
He returned to the Scottish capital this year with his latest show and said: “It was hard during the Edinburgh Fringe as it kept changing so quickly.”
There is also one glaring difference: “Trump is temporary and Brexit is much more permanent. It’s a constant pantomime – panto has now spread into Parliament.”
As he watched a “tired” Prime Minister Theresa May at the dispatch box on Monday, he had little sympathy. “She has put immigration before the economy and that’s going to backfire.”
Brexit has been a top topic thrown at him by audiences at his regular improvised performances and he said he was alarmed by how the Government had allowed itself to become a single-issue administration, ignoring other social ills like an increase in knife crime in London.
He said: “They don't seem capable of dealing with any of it.”
As an American who spends much of his life in this country with Brazilian husband Edson, he said he had been wrestling with Britain’s immigration rules for a decade. Nevertheless, he remains an Anglophile and happy to settle here.
Donald Trump, he said, was much more alarming than any British politician, ramping up right-wing views and championing extremism.
“Trump is basically a stand-up comic. Some of his stuff is hilarious. We couldn't write that kind of satire.”
He reflected: “My husband and I married in this country and we were married here for a reason – we feel safer here.”
What his home country did offer him was interaction with a diversity of audience which has stood him in good stead as a foreigner on stage in the UK and across the rest of the world, making comic connections without patronising the crowd.
He is undaunted by the changing demographics of comedy fans and the evolution of society – at the end of the day, his job is simply to find the funny side.
* Scott Capurro is appearing at Laughing Bishops Comedy Club at the United Reformed Church hall in Water Lane, Bishop’s Stortford this Saturday (Dec 15). Doors open at 7.30pm and the gig starts at 8.30pm. Support comes from Geoff Boyz and Susan Murray, and the compere is club founder and Stortford resident Paddy Lennox. For more details see www.laughingbishops.co.uk