What is your new show, ‘Tom Allen’s Afternoon Tea’ all about?
It’s the perfect start to your evening on the Fringe, that’s what! It’s jam packed with my stand up comedy, interviews with celebrities and top festival performers and a whole host of games and stupidity to get you in the mood for enjoying what Edinburgh has to offer in August!
Name your top 3 dream guests.
Well I’m happy to say one of them has already said yes, and it’s my friend Sarah Millican. She’s a dream guest because, like me, she loves cakes. And also because whenever I do see her, we both seem to spend most of the time laughing. Then I’d also include Bette Midler just for being sassy and then maybe Rufus Wainwright, to be poetic.
You’re just back from a sell-out run in Australia at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. How was Oz?
It was a lot of fun – I performed in Melbourne and Sydney and loved both places.
There’s this sense of optimism about Australia – it feels very youthful, even the
old people seem young! It’s also a great place for eating healthily – and breakfast
there is extremely bonza – I was introduced to ‘Avocado on Toast’ which is
just sliced avocado on toast with lemon and salt and pepper (perhaps you didn’t
need this explanationH) and it’s AMAZING!
You’re currently playing Pip in Bleak Expectations with Anthony Head and
Richard Johnson. Do you prefer Stand Up or acting?
I like both, essentially because I think they’re both about story telling – you’re
bringing an audience into someone else’s shoes and taking them on a journey.
With Stand Up it’s just that it’s your shoes so it can feel a bit scarier. You also
tend to be freer to improvise, poke fun at the things you’ve noticed and laugh
about the things you’ve experienced. It feels very personal just you standing on
stage talking to an audience. Whereas with acting you’re working with a team of
other people on stage and you’re telling the story as it’s written so it’s more challenging
to make that feel spontaneous (though, at it’s best I think it should feel
that way) and of course there’s introducing an audience to a character who’s not
In 2010 Attitude Magazine called you a ‘gay role model’.
Do you see yourself in that way?
I was very flattered by it, largely because I grew up feeling like I wasn’t very
good at being gay. Even on the gay scene I’ve always felt like a big square (do
people even say square anymore? Is it actually square to say square?) but I
guess that’s maybe why they wrote it – you don’t have to be good, or bad or anything
at all, you just have to accept yourself and do your thing. Maybe that’s what
a role model doesH
Are there any things you particularly like or dislike about Edinburgh?
I love the trams – they’re like conceptual trams. Like a modern art project that
everyone’s participating in.
Do you have any suggested solutions to the world economic crisis?
Yes – think positively.
Which other comedians have influenced you?
I love Maria Bamford from America. I was at Just for Laughs with her in Montreal
a few years ago and ever since I’ve been mesmorised by her. I’d say I also love
people who tell stories like David Sedaris and Alan Bennett and even Victoria
Wood. I also really love the playfulness of Eddie Izzard and people like Reggie
Watts and Eugene Mirman.
Do you have a boyfriend at the moment? What kind of guy do you like?
No I don’t. I think confidence is very attractive. And ginger hair. And beards. And
kilts. And a Waitrose. Oh and kind eyes.
If you had the role as the 12th Doctor, who would be your companion?
Probably a medical doctor, like Dr Quinn Medicine Woman or Carl Kennedy from
Neighbours – I’ve often worried about what The Doctor would do if he was ill.
Just like a throat infection or something. That Tardis can’t do everything.
Tom Allen’s Afternoon Tea Gilded Balloon
3.15pm 3-28 August