Life's a laugh for g, Y he's running his own
16 THE UST 16—30 Apr 1998
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V . When the former Braveheart 'star’ isn't doing stand-up comedy. :Et ﬂight. Words: Stephanie Noblett Photograph: Craig Sanders ‘
NOT MANY PEOPLE can glide from playing in a
.blues band to a one-line role in Braveheart, then
promptly become the most sought after ’new kid on the block’ on the Scottish comedy scene. But it’s less than a year since Sandy Nelson’s first paid gig, and the offers are coming in thick and fast. Audiences all over Scotland have been treated to him sending up Gloria Gaynor, The Spice Girls
‘ and people who play ’American Pie’ at parties with
his spoof versions of songs. His latest project is The Twisted Cabaret, a monthly comedy event at Lautrec's in Glasgow.
'It would have been silly of me to start another
' stand-up night, and there isn't a cabaret night in
Glasgow,’ he explains. ’So I got a band — called Tequila Mockingbird - and I show some short comic films. People seem to like the short film coming up all of a sudden. I was over the moon the
- first time when everybody shut up and watched it.
They’re by local filmmakers and they're very professional.’
Nelson began his performing career with Scottish theatre company Wildcat in 1991 with no formal training at all. ’They're very good that way, Wildcat,’ he says. ’They’ll hire somebody on their talents and not their background. Once you start, if there’s anything you need to know, you just ask somebody who's been to college.’
Three years later, he was selected to play John Wallace, Mel Gibson’s older brother, in Braveheart. ’I had one original line and that was cut,’ Nelson remembers. ’Then they told me to ad lib a line because I seemed like a bit of a sore thumb. So I came up with "Ach, away haim, William". I died in the first five minutes — not a bad first movie.’
Being a stand-up comedian came naturally to Nelson because, as the youngest of five brothers, he has fought for attention all his life. His acting background also serves him well, but it’s music that has been the main source of his material.
’I was in a band called Mrs Columbo, and I wrote a few songs that turned out to be humorous, although I was actually just trying to be clever,’ he says. 'The parodies of Oasis and Alanis Morrisette were just for my own amusement. But when i had a go at the comedy, I realised they were a lot funnier than I thought in the first place and I could do a wee bit of chat in-between them. i had to discover how to be myself with a microphone. There’s no way to rehearse, you've just got to do as many gigs as possible. There’s a lot more clubs popping up in Scotland now, luckily, and the more gigs you do, the better you get.’
Gigs are one thing Nelson is not short of, although he still feels that Glasgow lacks big comedy clubs like The Gilded Balloon or The Stand in Edinburgh. But his home town has provided him With a deliciously irreverent style to his routines.
’Billy Connolly said talking to a Glaswegian was like’being attacked by a dog, and I kind of believe that.We say "fuck" quite a lot because we've got this limited vocabulary. . . at least I have.’
The next Misted Caberet at lLautrec's, 14a Woodside Terrace, Glasgow is on Friday 1 May. - Sandy Nelson does stand-up at Christie's Comedy Cellar, Edinburgh on Sunday 19 April and the-Cheshire Cat Comedy Club at Waxy's on Thursday 23 April. See Comedy listings.