Interview by YumYum Gee, May 21, 2007.
Thank you. It was thrilling for me to finally be on that show just a couple of weeks before it finished. It was only one day of shooting for me, and it was very exciting. I had just turned 22, and it was a decidedly beautiful start for me in my profession.
Excited to come back to London?
I love Londontown. It is plugged into the cosmic consciousness of coolness. Such a hip, laid back city. I will always return to London, I can’t stay away from it too long. It’s still the home of my heart, and it has been ever since 1991.
What can we expect from »Freaky Balls«?
It’s a really mixed bag, anecdotal material, some music, film clips, stand-up, all blended in cinematic style. I think of my work as a patchwork movie. It’s my own version of a stand-up act. Stand-up has always had a great impact on me. But the whole genre hit the wall and it needed to be deconstructed.
Where in London will »Freaky Balls« open?
Presumably at the Rosemary Branch Theatre up on Shepperton Road. It’s a cozy place, it fits my purposes perfectly. But it isn’t sure yet.
You love playing live, right?
To be frank, it’s hard for me. I’m very angst-ridden and suffer from unbearable stage fright. But I am always going to perform live. It never grows stale. There is always another layer of the onion to peel away. I find something worthy in every performance. Especially in this tawdry cheap consumer culture that we live in where fame is such a worthless commodity.
Fame is worthless?
Fame has been reborn as infamy, and anyone can be infamous. People are infamous for being talentless and tactless. But do they ever really make an impression? Do they uplift society? No.
Are you referring to the Hiltons and Ritchies of the world?
Not specifically. Our muses have become tawdrier. The people who inspire the creative people area vapid and shallow. It’s a deep-rooted problem.
Who are your muses? Who influences André?
Dane Cook, Tommy Tiernan, Aaron Counter, Gavin Webster, and Craig Ferguson before he’d gone full Hollywood. I adore French and Saunders, of course, Catie Wilkins, Diane Morgan, and anyone with a real original style, anyone who can be emulated not duplicated.
Can you be emulated?
Certainly, I have emulatable elements, that’s what is fun about my work. But I am an original entity.
Amen! If you had to choose between theatre, film, music, or comedy…
It would be almost impossible. I go back and forth between theatre and film, to doing my own work, writing and performing. I get off from all of it.
Good lord, you are a busy man.
I’m a whirling dervish, constantly moving and never at rest.
How do you relax?
I hang out with my friends, I read and write a lot, enjoy a good movie from time to time. And I love to cook.
And your good friend President George W. Bush?
I say get that man out of office, and let the people of the world go back to their lives. If you study and understand ancient history of the Middle East, the cultural growth and problems over the last hundred of years, and then listen to what this imbecile tells his people, it’s hideous!
Do performers have a responsibility to be vocal about political issues?
In my opinion, every artist has the obligation to be resourceful and stimulate the minds of his audience. The message he provides has to work on many different levels. I think if you are a really powerful person, or your work generates that kind of power, you have a huge responsibility. So yes, you should be vocal, and there are ways of coming across without sounding too strident and didactic.
Has your attitude mellowed over the years?
Since I had to deal with death and loss many times, I am more appreciative of life’s little joys nowadays. As you go along the path in life, you learn what to appreciate. I haven’t lost my fire or passion, but I have a deeper sense of purpose I guess.
What have you been up to lately?
I have two movies coming out later this year, one in German, one in English. I did a cameo on television, nothing big though. And I am currently working on a sitcom pilot in Germany which is giving me a blast.
What do you watch on television?
I don’t watch telly at all.
What’s in your CD player right now?
Jay-Jay Johanson’s new album, it’s jazzy, soft and fresh. Simply beautiful.