Chris Mountford spoke with Tony Vino

Tony Vino
Tony Vino

Comedian Tony Vino created the 'Clean (As Possible) Comedy Show' after asking the question, can good quality comedy be clean? Its stand-up comedy with a 12A certificate and the show has been very successful, featuring in a number of locations including the Edinburgh Festival. Along the way it's featured acts such as Paul Kerensa, Andy Kind, James Dowdeswell and Kev Orkian who was a semi-finalist on Britain's Got Talent and Pat Monaghan, winner of ITV's 'Show Me The Funny'. Chris Mountford caught up with Tony.

Chris: How long have you been doing comedy?

Tony: I've been doing comedy for just under 10 years. I trained to be a lawyer back in the day, but I thought to myself, who wants to earn £200 an hour - I can earn that in a week now with comedy Chris, so on reflection I thought, "Let's go for it"! Basically, after working with you guys at Cross Rhythms, I had a time in Leeds where someone got me in for a comedy show - a friend started a comedy night and I absolutely loved it and, you know, you get those moments in life where it's like a moment of destiny unfolded and I was just hooked. That was about nine years ago and that was the same night that I met my wife. It was definitely one of those nights - she was performing as well, it was her first comedy night and I haven't looked back since.

Chris: Wow, so your wife does comedy too?

Tony: Well she did, I mean she does, but the thing is I've gone full time with it and she was doing really well with it and getting gigs and everything and then I made her pregnant Chris, [laughing]

Chris: Tony!

Tony: She was getting too good, I think that was it, I had to take her out. We've had two kids together. Every so often, because I do a lot of shows round the country and every so often when we get a sitter and all that kind of stuff, she comes along and she'll do a session, which is really special.

Chris: Great! And you perform in all sorts of locations, don't you, from big to small.

Tony: I mean it is a crazy life, in terms of you can be doing a festival, say CVM was the last one with a thousand guys in a tent and I've been to Greenbelt and you get 600 or 700 people at these big festival gigs and then you go to the little back room of a pub with 15 people and a dog and the dog is asleep, or it can just be a few people gathered round in a Church Hall - it really does vary and that's one of the great things about comedy, it's a very versatile art form.

Chris: What's the toughest crowd, is it the bigger locations or the more intimate ones?

Tony: Actually the bigger the audience, there's more people to connect with what you're doing, there's more people laughing and it's easy to create a dynamic atmosphere. So you actually have to work that little bit harder when there is only 30/40 people in the audience; you've got to put the energy in yourself. If there is any sort of awkwardness, particularly if it's not a big room, you have to dispel that awkwardness. There's also something about status as well when you are stood next to the Juke-Box in a pub with a karaoke microphone and people are eating and there's 30 of them, there's no sort of status there, whereas if you're in a big show and you've got 500 people in the audience and it's all set up perfectly then they're concentrating...

Chris: They are ready to be entertained?

Tony: Absolutely.

Chris: I'd imagine those smaller locations are great proving ground and a place to test and refine your skills though?