Looking Good Feeling Good: The Stephen Buchanan Story
We've all seen stand-ups in our time, but every now and then you'll find there's one that really stands out.
Every year Glasgow is graced with one of the finest comedy festivals that Europe has to offer – The Glasgow International Comedy Festival.
While you’ll find some of the biggest names in comedy performing at the festival, what makes The GICF so special is the platform it provides for fledgling talent. These are the guys that you might not have heard of. But, in amongst this group are the guys that you just haven’t heard of yet.
One of these guys is Stephen Buchanan.
As a regular patron of Glasgow’s comedy circuit, I have actually seen Stephen perform a number of times, and while a lot of stand-up comedians can leave you wanting, Stephen does not.
Fresh out of his sell-out show, ‘Stephen Buchanan: Galleries’, I managed to catch up with Stephen to see what he had to say for himself.
The first thing that I had to ask, was regarding the name of his show. Galleries.
It’s essentially just a daft pun, but you’d be surprised how many people didn’t get it and thought I was doing a show about art.
Ohhh. Buchanan Galleries! I mean, yeah, I totally got that, obviously.
I’m definitely going to have to change it for the Edinburgh Fringe, as, if Glaswegians can’t make the connection to a shopping centre in Glasgow, then I doubt tourists from Japan will.
I think that says more about Glaswegians than your choice of titles. Now, aside from being able to make shopping centre puns, what made you want to be a comedian?
I’ve always liked making people laugh. At my high school prom, I won the ‘Funniest Boy’ award, and started to consider it then.
At my high school prom, I won the ‘Biggest Underachiever’ award, and I turned out to be a great underachiever. I’m glad that these awards are not just novelties, but actual warnings of what’s to come.
After I left university and was unable to get a job, I thought it was a sign to just go for it. Either that, or it was a sign that I hadn’t updated my CV in four years.
Biggest underachiever. I really should’ve paid more attention at school…
My woes aside, I like your inspiration. And on that, what are some of your comedic inspirations? Aside from my underachievements.
I get asked this all time and they always seem to change. I’ve always loved watching Billy Connoly and Ricky Gervais, but more recently I’ve been into Louis CK and John Mulaney.
Apart from the beard, what’s your favourite thing about being a comedian?
The sound of laughter! As cringeworthy as that sounds, there is no better feeling than getting paid to make a room full of people laugh.
Nice! I do the same thing, but, instead of it being a comedy show audience, it’s the room The Buzzfeed editors are in. Haha! You can use that one if you want, mate!
What’s your least favourite thing about being a comedian?
When people tell me a terrible joke and say, “you can use that one, mate!”
What have been some of the highlights of your career so far?
I got to perform at the iconic Barrowland Ballroom at the Scottish Comedian of the Year Final. That was definitely a highlight. I went to my first ever gig there, so it was amazing to go back and actually stand on the stage.
Sounds like a great moment. Anything else?
I’m now part of a sketch group called SCRAM, and last year we were given a seasonal residency at The Stand in Glasgow. Our first show was probably the most fun I’ve ever had on stage. I was buzzing for days after it.
That’s great that you’re working with others doing what you all love. On that, are there any other comedians worth keeping an eye out for at the festival?
Yeah, Marc Jennings’ show, Smart Funny; Chris MacArthur-Boyd’s show, The Boyd With A Thorn In His Side; and, Rosco McClelland’s show, How I Got Over are all bound to be brilliant.
And I’m sure each of them owes you a pint after that shout out. Now, since we’re talking about the festival, why do you think it’s important for you to have performed at The GICF?
It’s the biggest comedy festival in Europe, and it’s right on my doorstep. Also, as you mentioned before, this was my debut solo show at the festival, so it’s a big deal for me. It’s encouraged me to write and gig more as well, and has generally been a milestone for me since starting out in comedy.
That’s great to hear. What are your next steps anyway?
I’ve got a job interview at Burger King next week. If that fails, I guess I’ll try and do a full run at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Excellent! Who doesn’t love a Whopper?
What’s your non-Burger King related advice for anyone who is just starting out in comedy?
Keep writing and gigging as much as you can, and refrain from posting anything on the Scottish Comedy Forum.
I’d ask why that is, but I’m not sure I want to know.
Can you tell me a joke instead?
What did Jesus do with his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day?
Net-fish and chill.
And they call me the underachiever…
As mentioned before, Stephen’s first solo show at The Glasgow International Comedy Festival was a sell-out. And for good reason.
I got in little after the doors opened and had to settle for a seat in the front row. This isn’t ideal for a comedy show due to the inevitable heckling, but thankfully his cousin was also down the front, so she got the brunt of it rather than me.
A well-crafted and thoroughly thought out show, Galleries had everything you’re looking for in a comedy night. Stephen’s time on the circuit has certainly proved worthy, as you wouldn’t have been able to tell it was his first solo show.
Combining story-telling with an enormous personality, Stephen didn’t miss a thing on the agenda. From school bullies to Trump and from The Co-Op to porn, no stone was left unturned.
The personal highlight for me was him trying to sell in his apparent catch-phrase, ‘Looking good, feeling good.’ It appears to have caught on if the title of this article is anything to go on.
A five-star performance in my book that was more than worth the fiver.
A truly hilarious performer with a wit unlike any other, and a natural entertainer, I can’t wait for the next show. The next big one you’ll see Stephen in is The Edinburgh Fringe, but if you’re anything like me and frequent the comedy scene, it won’t be that long until you see this true up-and-comer for yourself.