The Rabbit’s Foot Company are a loose group of down-and-outs spanning a decade of cultural reference points (with the youngest member being 21, the oldest – 31) and comprised of Sam Ashurst, Richard Grange, Gregory Akerman and Victoria Cullen (who sadly, could only be with us tonight via speaker phone as she had been called away to a last minute Ann Summers party. This is actually true). These bright young things are currently making a name for themselves on the open-mic comedy circuit. With solo gigs coming up and an Edinburgh show next month, I went down to the Cavandish Arms in Stockwell to have a drink and hopefully find out some more. After brief introductions, finding out their day jobs (two office workers, a student and an unemployed) and what it was they wanted from the bar (a large red wine, a pint of lager and half a lager shandy) we started to learn a bit about one another: What are your ambitions? Greg: I want to write sitcoms. It’s going quite well actually, not ‘well’ in as much as actually succeeding but yeah. Baby steps Richard: I want to get paid to do a gig Victoria: Well, I want Edinburgh to be ok. I also want to have a good time and stuff… Sam: To find Amber Lamps. Seriously, if Dave Gorman can get a TV show looking for other Dave Gormans, then I can look for Amber Lamps. Also, you know how some people have a Jesus complex? Well I have a Doctor Who complex. I genuinely believe I am Doctor Who, just as a human being. So I need to find the watch. After a long and convoluted conversation about Doctor Who, a subject, incidentally, that both Richard and Sam seem well versed in, we got back on track. What would you say your influences were? Sam: Horror films and Greg Akerman Victoria: My mum. And God. Richard: Frank Sidebottom. Charlie Chuck - not Charlie Chalk, although I do like Charlie Chalk. starts singing the theme tune Actually I really do like Charlie Chalk. Also Half Man Half Biscuit Greg: Daniel Simmonson And your heroes? Victoria: Oh Jesus… Well, that’s one. Jesus. I haven’t really got any heroes. Greg: Anyone who…I dunno really. I’m a fan of the aristocracy. I’m not really sure I’d class that as a ‘hero’ so much. That’s not quite what I asked… Greg: Oh, yeah. Um, Joseph Bros (apparently the Prime Minister of Yugoslavia in 1939. A fact I later found out to be untrue) Richard: Alan Bennet and Tim from Spaced Sam: Amber Lamps How would you describe your style? Richard: 70s game show host Victoria: Smart casual At this, the guys promptly hung up on Victoria and all concurred that her style was Situationist Feminist Sam: Disconcerting Greg: Lecturer. I tend to tell informative stories that don’t really have punchlines. It works. Well, it worked once, but I said two funny things by accident. So how has the Rabbits Foot Company come about? Sam: Greg and I knew each other previously. We’d always talked about doing stand up, and then I did it, realised how easy it was, and got Greg to do it Richard: And he showed you how hard it was. We laugh, Greg pouts Sam: Victoria was at the first gig we did together and she was really good. She approached me afterwards and said “I thought you were very good”. I thought she just meant me, but later she tried to pretend she’d meant both of us. But she can’t have done really, because we weren’t near each other or anything, so she couldn’t have known Greg: Well that’s not quite true, is it. We were obviously together enough for me to be welcomed to the stage in subsequent weeks as ‘Sam’s friend’. Sam: Did you get that written down? That was a good bit. Sam glares at me, making sure it is written down. It is. He stops glaring, I continue making notes as they continue talking over each other Richard: Sam approached me after one of my sets and said “you’re really good, do you want to come to Edinburgh?” and that was on my list of things I really wanted to do, so I said yes. I’d seen Greg before and thought…well, that he was rubbish really, but I get it now. Greg: We already had Victoria on board by then Richard: Yeah, she told us she has a house in Edinburgh that we could all stay in for free Sam: She did start to say that we couldn’t use it, but I told her she’d have to leave Greg: So she came good. She’s very good. Sam: I like to think that I’m the mastermind really Greg: I wouldn’t disagree with that at all. Sam’s basically the father figure. Sam: Mastermind Greg: Father figure This goes on for some time. In the spirit of saving column inches, I’ll skip to the end: Sam: Mastermind Greg: Father figure Sam: NO. I don’t want to be a father figure Greg: That’s what my dad said…. Sam: So wrapping that up, if it all goes well in Edinburgh it’s down to me, and if it all goes badly it’s Greg’s fault. What’s the origin behind the name? Greg: Well, me and Sam were in my flat one night, and a bit down.. Sam: Didn’t we say that we’d never tell anyone where our name came from? Greg: Yeah I think we did. Sorry. Well can’t you make something up? Greg: I guess that’s doable. We were knocking loads of ideas about and it seemed that everyone could get behind this one. Plus we were way past the deadline of thinking one up. Richard: When were you knocking names around? I wasn’t involved in this. I had loads of ideas for names. Greg: So what would you have called us then? Richard: I’m not going to tell you now. Greg: Oh go on Richard: Nothing Greg: Nothing? Richard: Nothing Greg: Right. Well, moving on. If you really want to know about the name you can do your own fucking research and Google it – that’s what we had to do. Sam: Don’t Google it So how’s it all going? Greg: It’s a lovely collective we’ve got. But at the moment we’re the least working people in show business. Sam: I think it works because we’re all different, but we complement each other. Richard: Some people think that I’m shy, but I’m not shy, I’m just standoffish. Greg and Sam: No, he’s shy Greg: Yeah, we look out for each other though Richard: I tell Greg when he’s not funny Greg: Unprompted, too. Sometimes before I’ve even got on stage… Tell us a bit about the show Richard: I think we’re the antidote to the clunky bizarre humour that a lot of young people are doing at the moment. We can be obtuse, inane and ridiculous, but we’re not bizarre. Proper surrealism isn’t bizarre anyway because it doesn’t acknowledge its context. Richard: The open mic circuit in London is really nice. Well, it’s quite aggressive and brutal, but that’s a fun atmosphere to be in. It can be quite hostile, but you can survive by not mentioning paedophilia, rape or incest. People think these are the holy trinity of comedy, but they’re not. Greg: There’s a difference between dark comedy and just being offensive. If you’re going to use offensive subject matter, you have to make the person who’s being offensive the butt of the joke. Otherwise you’re not doing anything new. Richard: At Edinburgh we’ve got an hour slot. Greg, Sam and Victoria have 15 minutes each and I have three 5 minute slots as it suits my style better. It’s kind of a show within a show, right? Greg: No, not really. It’s just a show. Although technically it could be said that we’re headlining the venue. We’re the last people on, at any rate. And off they stumbled. I’m actually pretty pleased with myself for being able to transcribe a somewhat coherent interview from the rambling conversation. The Rabbit’s Foot Company describe themselves as inane and convoluted, and claim to use wilfully inaccessible subject matter. They absolutely do. A night with the Rabbit’s Foot Company is exhausting, trying, yet strangely beautiful. Some or all of The Rabbit’s Foot Company can be seen most weeks at various open-mic nights around London. The next time all four of them will be together is at the Lyttleton Arms in Camden on Monday 19th July. Greg Akerman will be performing at Foxed Up Theatre’s official launch party this Friday 9th July – click here for more details Details of their Edinburgh show can be found here, or at the facebook group here