What is your show about?
In a very literal sense it’s about the important things in life: pandas, robots, time travel, vegetarianism – and how to explain to elderly relatives what a comedy-rap-jazz-duo is. It’s also about friendship, believing in yourself and finding your place in the world.
You two have been writing together since school age, how has your work developed over the years?
We started off with covers of any pop song in the charts with a rap verse (American Boy, California Girls, etcetera), and occasionally featured on each other’s solo projects that had a lot of teenage sincerity. We’ve learnt to be a lot more playful with it, and while hopefully not losing the heart or poignancy involved, we’re not afraid to be a bit more leftfield or silly with it now.
What is your favourite part of creating a
Getting to bounce ideas off each other. The initial part of writing a song, where there are no wrong answers, is so fun to play around with. Building a show is a similar process but magnified.
. . . And the worst?
Trying to then condense a 10-minute epic down to an acceptable length. Also, distinguishing between what is funny to us because we’re best mates and enjoy making each other laugh, and what is funny to a wider audience. Just as you’ve worked it out and gone on tour and got the performance nice and slick (ish), the process starts all over again!
Harry, as a former maths student, how did your time studying maths shape your poetry?
I used to write poems at the back of my lectures when my mind started to wander! In both disciplines, I think it’s about using what’s at your disposal to look for answers and try to solve problems in quite an abstract sense, even if you go about it a very different way. On a practical note, my personal tutor in first year gave me time off to go to the Poetry World Cup – so I’ll always be grateful to the Bristol maths department.
Chris, how does performing with a poet affect your music compared to playing with a band?
I like to think of all musicians as poets. My guitar plectrum is my pen. The notes are the words. We are all unfinished stanzas on this page we call life. Does jazz rhyme? Does rhyme jazz? (Just kidding, Chris is on his honeymoon so Harry is writing this in his absence and wants to make him sound like a dick).
Describe your show in 5 words.
Fun-filled, life-giving, big-hearted, joyful, comedy-rap-jazz.
The Harry and Chris Show 2, Theatre Royal, November 7.
Tickets: £12-£15, theatreroyal.org/01284 769505. For more information