The first time I saw Julian’s stand up act online, I was struck by his onstage persona’s resemblance to Norman Bates, the central character in Hitchcock’s horror classic “Psycho.” I figured it was more than just the fact that Julian, like actor Tony Perkins, was tall, thin, and awkwardly handsome. His work on Asylum was similarly tricky and a bit nerve-wracking. I also fell in love with his edgy characters on Unnatural Acts and The Pod.
As it turns out, Julian’s both a horror fan and a horror director, and he talked about that late last year in an interview with Nerdist about directing a part of the anthology ABCs of Death.
Knowing his take on horror and comedy explains a lot about the darker, more horrific episodes of Boosh like the Crackfox and Milky Joe, as well as the freaky yet lovable Old Gregg.
And it makes sense that he’d connect with Noel’s interest in Surrealism, as some of the most well-known examples of the genre (such as the dissection of the eye) were in the horror genre (and Surrealism was a strong influence on Hitchcock).
It’s no wonder that Julian’s work so appeals to me. I would love to know what horror he enjoys reading, and to have a chance to tell him his stand up horror-comedy still makes me laugh even as it continues to haunt me.
Julian’s standup on GAS:
Nerdiest Exclusive Interview with Julian Barratt:
“I’ve been a horror fan pretty much in the sense that my sense of horror and my sense of humor were both equally kindled by films as a kid. I liked horror and comedy, basically, from a young age but I just ended up getting into comedy because there was, I could do stand-up comedy and that was my way into this business and then there was no stand-up horror and I didn’t know how to get into that world… I did try and do some spooky stand up once and some of my stand-up had, I tried to do some horror stand-up but it didn’t really work very well… I think I was always interested in trying to put horror and comedy together so, the short is, it’s more of a sketch really, with a gory ending.”
“Films do have suspense and tensions and scares and jumps and I like to write things that have both in them, comedy and horror, but sometimes they are hard to balance… I guess you could do both. Make the horror comedic; it’s like take the horror seriously and have the characters provide the comedy. I mean, I don’t know whether I’ve succeeded in that particularly with the short but I think for me it was just the beginning of trying to do something which had a bit of horror in it which I always loved.”
"In The Boosh, in The Mighty Boosh, we would sometimes push it into slightly scary worlds but that was never very… Noel Fielding, the other side of it, he kind of doesn’t like gory stuff very much, and I do, so I always wanted to have people getting chopped in half in stuff and he would say, ‘We don’t want that,’ [laughs] and then now I want to do more with being chopped in half!”