After his breakout show in 2018, and another in 2019, Garrett Millerick is now back with the third and concluding comedy piece in his Fatherhood trilogy, reflecting on relevant situations, and life after the offerings of recent years. With new problems in mind, he intends to deliver a witty outlook on how to help with these.
Speaking about his upcoming performance, read on to find out more from Garrett.
How would you describe your show, Just Trying to Help, and what kind of 'stupid questions' are you trying to answer? The central idea of the show is that we can often make situations worse when we wade in and try and make things better; the minor catastrophes that can result when people with the best of intentions try and help. There is a long section of the show that I’ve been developing for the last few years that focuses on Twitter, and another section looking at ‘Straight White Billionaires’ so it’s great to get to stage the show again now in light of Elon Musk's Twitter take over. The ideas and themes of the show seem to be getting more relevant as time moves on. Elon’s Twitter take over is quite a prescient example of someone trying to help, and quite possibly making the situation immeasurably worse. In terms of the stupid questions addressed, ‘how do you solve a problem like Twitter?’ is likely to feature heavily in the show. I think I have a fairly unique take on that.
How does the piece act as the conclusion to your Fatherhood trilogy, and what has changed since you first set out the journey through those shows? Well, the themes of the shows naturally seemed to fit with one another. It’s a development of how I was feeling about the responsibility of becoming a parent. You don’t need to have seen the others to enjoy this but I think the subtle line between the three has helped me write it. The main development in this show is that I am a father now, so navel gazing about the world problems and finding fault in things for fun now has to be married with the realisation that I have a practical responsibility to guide someone else through the chaos. Which has had the curious effect of making me take things less seriously.
Why do you feel that you're dubbed as 'the world's angriest optimist’? I was described as such in a review for my last show and I thought it was fair comment. I get very het up about minor things but I’m also quite hopeful that most stuff can be sorted out. I tend to think it’s worth getting upset about minor things, it’s less futile. Can I solve the global environmental crisis? Nope, so it’s futile to concern myself with it. Can I pick up litter, yes. So it’s worth getting angry about litter bugs. It’s a solvable problem.
What relevance does your upbringing and religion have within your work?
On this show? Huge. My parents aren’t from here, so I’ve always had a thing of belonging to two places, but also sort of feeling like I’m not from anywhere. A healthy outsiders perspective fuels my shows I think. Part of it is about searching for a new religion. I was raised in a fairly devout Catholic household, went to Catholic school, and I took it all very seriously for a bit. Then abandoned it when I was quite young and immature, and now see it as something missing in my life.
In my reaction to the absurd and negative aspects of it, I failed to see the value in it. That’s something that I think we all suffer from, throwing the baby out with the bath water when we approach religion. The idea that there is a man in the sky who built everything and watches over you is pretty absurd. But then again, the whole society that exists around you and nourishes and protects you is a result of a lineage of thought.
There is inherent value in the stories passed down through generations. So if I’m not raising my daughter with those stories and values, what am I replacing them with, and am I qualified to do a better job than those that went before me? I’m fairly confident I’m not. It’s a fun vantage point to write jokes from. One of the opening ideas of the show is why do I feel I’m superior to Tom Cruise because I don’t believe what he believes? He’s doing better than I am, where do I get off sneering at the coping mechanism he navigates life with?
What do you think about being part of the comedy industry at the moment? It’s amazing to get to go and rebuild something that was taken away from us for so long. The first post lockdown gig where people were in masks and two meters apart was one of the most thrilling moments of my life. Comedy is a great way to commune and to let off steam and one of the worst things about losing it in 2020 was it took away our ability to look each other in the eye and say ‘this is insane’ and have that cathartic experience. The world is taking itself very seriously at the moment, for obvious reasons, and it’s great to be able to punctuate that seriousness for a minute. It’s a good time to be a clown right now: we make the apocalypse a little more bearable. We can’t fix anything, but that’s not the point of what we do.
Who inspires you to create your content, and why? I just try and write stuff that I find funny and hope it strikes a chord. I enjoy it. It’s not anymore complicated or noble than that. I like taking the piss.
What kind of person would enjoy being in the audience? The show only really works with a broad demographic in the audience. Because it's about a shared experience, there is a piece at the top of the show about the different types of dissatisfaction experienced by the different generations in Britain right now. Everyone is annoyed but for very different reasons. It’s best when you have the full generational spectrum in the audience. There’s lots of examples of that in the show, exploring the complaints and positions of a different aspects of our society, and it’s way more fun if everyone is included. We can find that sweet spot of laughter in the Venn diagram where we all overlap.
Huge thanks to Garrett for his great contributions to this, and all the best for the run of the show!
Get your tickets to see it here:
Additional thanks to Madelaine Bennett for coordinating this interview.