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Discover Ben Target
Describing Ben Target’s Edinburgh Comedy Award-nominated appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe, comedy website Chortle founder Steve Bennett called it a “mad experience” rather than a show.
The performance mixed visual gags, trips out into Edinburgh’s back streets and an arsenal of props ready to confuse his front row.
But despite the bells and whistles in his live show, for Target the focus is simple.
“I try never to lose sight of the fact that comedy is about having a laugh and being stupid,” he says. “I’m trying to make people have a good time and I’m excited about finding new ways of doing that.”
Part of Target’s analysis of his style, which he admits could almost sound academic, might come from his early career in design.
“I used to work in a Barbie factory designing machines, making things, building things and dismantling things,” he says. “It becomes part of what I do. I like to question the rules and break them a little, to mess around to a certain extent.”
It has certainly worked to his advantage. Since starting out in comedy in April 2009, he has been made joint winner of the 2011 Leicester Mercury Comedian Of The Year at the Leicester Comedy Festival, as well as receiving his Edinburgh nod this year.
“I think the Comedian Of The Year award made me realise that I was doing something right,” he says. "”It gave me a boost of confidence and made me want to continue exploring what I was doing.
“Quite a few London clubs got interested, which was really helpful as well, although it didn’t revolutionise my life to the extent I had a great deal of work.”
Comparisons have been made between Target’s style and that of Simon Munnery’s The League Against Tedium. Target is happy to admit he inhabits a persona onstage, but it is much more mischievous and playful than Munnery’s darker character, who once created a BBC television series entitled Attention Scum!
“It’s about the exploration of the techniques people use to convince others to do things but from the angle of how much fun can we have,” he says.
He loves the idea of working with a group of strangers in one space who have never met each other before and feels it is an area that isn’t explored that much.
“It’s a world we enter together, where we don’t know what’s going to happen,” he says. “I like to think of it as like travelling from A to B – the journey is unwritten.”
- Upstairs At Three And Ten, Steine Street, Brighton, Friday, November 2. 8pm, £8/£6.50. Call 07800 983290