- 05 May 20
No. 12 in a series. Interview by Shamim Malekmian
One wintry night on the stage of City Limits comedy club, Cork city's oldest, Thomas Howarth, ended his set by saluting Jeremy Corbyn. His audience, a group of restless, middle-aged men on their way to a strip club, barely heard him. Howarth didn't mind. Sharply polite with a degree in Philosophy, Howarth's comedy is rarely personal and almost invariably faithful to the profession's core: satire for outing social eccentricities.
Born in Derby, England, Howarth has been rliving in Cork, for the past few years. An aspiring writer, also, and a finalist to this year's ‘Show me the Funny’ competition, he has found the disease-prompted lockdown a perfect time to hone his skills as a comic and a storyteller.
Performing in virtual comedy clubs could be difficult, but Howarth has been having a pleasant time making sketches, he tells Hot Press.
Lockdown seems to have radically changed everyone’s life.
I just stopped having gigs. They all vanished. That's it.
How are you finding life inside?
Except for the broad fear that the economy will end, and we are all going to die, I find it fine actually. Being inside is fine. I really enjoy making my sketches and having lots of time to write, not just comedy, but stories.
What do you miss most about what we call ordinary life?
Tesco hasn't had Quorn chicken burgers in a few weeks. And I suppose I miss gigging. No, I do miss gigging (laughs).
And you're a pescatarian.
That's right. And because of this pandemic, I haven't been eating fish either, so now I'm practically a vegetarian. Another plus point to this crisis!
Is there anything you regret having taken for granted?
That's a good question! Just the availability of the outdoors. As simple as that. I think it's being able to walk outside, go to a park, pop out whenever you need milk, rather than timing it with a big shop as we’ve had to do.
As someone from the UK, how did you find Boris Johnson's response to the pandemic?
Hateful, absolutely hateful. I've been watching from afar, and I hate the hypocrisy. I hate the Tory ideology. I hate the position that they have put the NHS in. Perhaps some British comedians can make good jokes out of it.
How do you think live comedy will change after the pandemic, if at all?
Maybe for a few months, there might be a shift in terms of people being afraid to sit close to each other. There might be tables between everyone. But I think over time it will all just go back to normal. I believe humans are usually very elastic. You can stretch them out a bit, and then after a few months, they will go back to normal. I think there would be a lot of sets about being isolated, a lot about the coronavirus. But you don't want to bore people either.