So, tell us about your show BUG.
Well, we basically show music videos and I pop around in between. It’s like going round to someone’s house and you’re supposed to be having dinner and while dinner’s cooking, your host opens up his laptop and says, “ahh, you’ve got to look at this”. So it’s a mixture of jaw-dropping, oh my God stuff and, wow that’s amazing and inspiring stuff, and then a bit of my stuff as well. We show a selection of the latest leftfield, low budget, weird music videos.
You’ve long been a YouTube fan, posting your own stuff. What’s the appeal?
It’s amazingly exciting just to do what you want and have it seen by people without anyone else interfering or any TV commissioning process. Sometimes it’s nice to work with other people and have a budget and get paid and to have people to say, “that’s not very good, do it again”. But other times it’s really very nice to not have that to worry about and to think of a stupid idea one morning and have it up online that evening with potentially millions of people watching it.
Do you get obsessive about comments?
Ha, well, in the past it was sort of ruining my life! I got into a couple of spats online with people saying unkind stuff about my work, which is par for the course. However, the first time you read a really vicious comment, it really knocks you for six. But after a while you just toughen up. The main thing for me was starting to incorporate the comments into my show, so that’s been quite a nice cathartic experience.
What makes a good comment?
I’m generally looking for the ones where people have written little essays. As soon as people start writing loads you think, “ah, here we go”. I just love the idea that people have to share their theses on YouTube. Not only are they setting themselves up as genius critics, but they’re genius critics to a whole audience of people who generally don’t give much of a shit about what they have to say.
You’re a massive David Bowie fan. Have you got to meet him yet?
I think the closest we ever got to him, and it was very tantalising, was when Jonathan Ross took me and Joe to see Bowie playing at the BBC. We were really excited, thinking Jonathan would introduce us to him afterwards and stuff, but when we went along, this must have been around 2000 or 2001, Jonathan had also brought along a new friend of his called Ricky Gervais.The Office had just come out and Bowie had picked up on it, so Bowie was all over Ricky and Ricky was all over Bowie as well. We didn’t get a look in. We were in the same corridor for about five minutes but all we did was stand by and watch Bowie and Gervais have a mutual gush fest.
And then he was in Extras?
Yes, absolutely! They became pals. It’s pretty galling I have to say to watch it… “Nooo, don’t go off with Ricky Gervais, I’m the man you should be loving”. Ah man, it was hard. One day, maybe. I’ve met his son, who’s films I love.
There’s still hope…
I think it would be very weird if I did meet him. I’d go to pieces. I would literally cry like one of those girls at Beatles concerts. I just love him.
I noticed you got a ‘thanks’ on the credits for Shaun of the Dead and Paul. How come?
I’ve no idea why I was thanked for Shaun of the Dead, I had nothing to do with it. I was in Hot Fuzz. I mean, we’re friends. Oh wait, I think I looked at the script. And we did a read through for Paul. But I didn’t know they’d done that, that’s nice of them.
With your comedy partner Joe Cornish having just written the Tintin film, do you take the piss out of him for hanging out with Spielberg nowadays?
Oh, I wouldn’t dare. But yeah, it’s amazing, riding around London on my bike and having buses pull up next to me with giant Tintin posters on and with Joe’s name almost as big as Spielberg’s. It’s incredible. I’m delighted for him. We used to fantasise about being in the film world when we were at school and I very much hope I make some sort of film one day myself. But yeah man, it’s what he’s always wanted to do so it’s amazing that it’s happening for him.
Adam Buxton presents BUG: The Evolution of Music Video is on at the Everest Theatre in the Seymour Centre (Jan 26-29). Tix cost $30. sydneyfestival.org.au/bug
January 9th, 2012