The poster for Night Owl (but not a wise one, just stupid)Raffaella Losito

We catch up with Footlight’s member Andy Bucks, writer and performer of Night Owl (but not a wise one, just stupid). 

Who are you?

I’m Andy, a PhD student at Wolfson studying astrophysics. But when I’m not looking at stars, I also enjoy making people laugh! I mainly do stand-up comedy but have also dabbled in sketch comedy.

And what is Night Owl (but not a wise one, just stupid)?

It’s my debut hour of stand-up comedy! 

What’s it about?

I write my material (“write” is a generous word, as is “material”) late at night, and then come back to it in the morning to see if it’s actually funny. I realised that the later I write, the weirder and less coherent my thoughts get. So, the premise of the show is that as the night advances, the material starts out normal but gets gradually stranger and more incomprehensible. The beginning of the show has material about family, then there’s some stuff about Gmail and David Hume, and by the end (without giving too much away) there’s a transcendent costume change, a harrowing lecture from someone you know, and a high energy audio-visual onslaught. 

Who are your comedy influences?

I love watching comedians that really commit to silly ideas. I saw Elf Lyons and John-Luke Roberts’ shows at the Edinburgh Fringe once and both were absolutely unforgettable and completely ridiculous. I hope some of the later parts of Night Owl give the audience that same “WT actual F” feeling. I’ve been compared to Mark Watson and James Acaster as well (I think we have similar awkward white boy energy). If you’re a fan of any of these comedians, this show is for you!

How are you feeling about it?

Nervous and excited! I’ve had the idea for a full length show for a while, but it’s a lot of work to put it together while also juggling my degree which is what I’m actually meant to be doing, as my supervisor likes to say. Luckily, I have a great team working with me to refine the script, sort out publicity and design some fancy lighting effects which I can’t wait for people to see!

What is your past experience of comedy like, and how does this compare?

I started doing stand-up in the last year of my undergrad degree - I watched my friend do stand-up and I thought “If he can do it, so can I”. He doesn’t do comedy anymore. I then moved to London for a few years and did stand-up on the circuit there, before starting my PhD here and getting involved in student comedy again. Having done comedy in the “real world” I definitely don’t take the opportunity to put on an hour-long show for granted! I’ve never done anything like it before, and I think the infrastructure and support available in Cambridge makes it so much easier.

Why is it called Night Owl (but not a wise one, just stupid)?

When I was filling in the application form (at like 2am, obviously) I didn’t realise we already needed to have a name for the show. So, I had to quickly think of a couple of ideas and Night Owl was the one which my long-suffering girlfriend deemed the least bad. At the last second, I added (but not a wise one, just stupid) and now I insist on the whole thing being written out in full every time.

How did you get such great muscle tone?

I leave my bike tyres flat so that even a short cycle to the shops turns into a leg workout from hell. 

What was your experience of comedy during lockdown like?

Weirdly, I sort of enjoyed doing online gigs on zoom. Most comedians hate them! They’re super low pressure (so you can really experiment) and I could regularly perform to audiences in the USA, Canada, Italy, Malaysia...And the travel time is zero. I do prefer real-life gigs though - I performed at Wolfson Howler last week and the atmosphere was electric, you can’t get that on zoom!

Why are you pretending this is an interview, rather than an article you wrote on your own?

I dunno, I’ve seen other previews framed as an interview and it makes it seem like I’m a big enough deal for someone to take an hour out of their day to talk to me.

Night Owl (but not a wise one, just stupid) is on at the Corpus Playroom at 9:30pm on Monday October 25th. Tickets are available here.