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Delete The Banjax, Upstairs at the Three and Ten, Brighton, May 20 to May 22
"Whether it’s high tech venues or the back room of a pub, every show is quite different,” says Sam Champion, one quarter of Delete The Banjax – a comedy sketch act which isn’t afraid to have fun on stage.
“We keep things loose.”
It’s a style that obviously works – the genre’s new kids on the block are riding a wave of popularity following a clutch of five-star reviews, sell-out runs and a ThreeWeeks Editors Award for their 2010 show Delete The Banjax And You!
Joining forces with behind-the-scenes hero Matt Holt – comedy director of fellow sketch group Idiots Of Ant’s Edinburgh Comedy Award-nominated show This Is War, BBC Three sitcom Lunch Monkeys and Brendon Burns’s if.comedy awardwinning So I Suppose This Is Offensive Now – for a new show debuting at the Brighton Fringe, Delete The Banjax’s fresh approach to fast-paced sketch tomfoolery comes from their ability to defy convention.
“We don’t really have a set way of writing – I think that if you had a process you’d eventually hit a snag and start churning out similar material,” says Champion.
“Putting a sketch show together isn’t like theatre where you have a script, you rehearse and stick it on stage. You go through the whole year performing ten minutes here, ten there, building up a batch of material and working out what’s best, what works with the other stuff and what styles fit together.”
Coming from a variety of theatrical backgrounds, the quartet formed in 2008 – booking, and then performing, as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival’s Free Fringe a mere two months later.
“We really found our flow on the fly. We had no tech and no lights – it was just about having fun,” Champion says.
“We ended up at the Pleasance last year, which is such a step up. Being a sketch act at the Free Fringe is difficult if you want to keep developing and show people that you’re ambitious and not just doing it for a laugh.”
Broaching the subject of sketch versus stand-up comedy, Champion puts the group’s evolution down to one, simple thing.
“We’re all pretty rubbish at telling jokes. Coming from a theatrical background, sketch comedy felt like the natural choice,” he laughs.
“We’re in a bit of a golden age for sketch comedy – there’s always been great comedy coming through, but it’s been in drips and drabs. The Mighty Boosh set a precedence for surreal stuff – it said, ‘Prospects are open to you, do what you like’, while anarchic aspects of We Are Klang and Pappy’s opened it up and said, ‘You don’t have to take sketch comedy too seriously’.”
We may be enjoying the genre’s day in the sun, but Champion is proud Delete The Banjax stand out from the crowd – and not just because they’re three-parts male, one-part female.
“I think we have a good variety of things to like about us – sketches, characters, songs and a bit of improvisation,” he says.
“Someone once said our show felt like a big party – that’s awesome. If we can make people come away thinking they’ve just been to a funny party, then that’s what we’re looking for.”
* 7pm, £8.50/£6.50, call 01273 917272 or 01273 709709