Ray Bradshaw does(n’t) look like someone you know

The Glaswegian comedian on the search for his ultimate bald-ginger twin, playing Fatman Scoop at his wedding and more quick-fire quizzing

If you’re bald or ginger, you’ve likely been told by a friend or stranger that you remind them of somebody else. If you’re bald and ginger, the comparisons begin to spiral out of control. I myself can only speak for the latter category, but for Glaswegian comedian Ray Bradshaw, these kinds of comments became so commonplace that he set up a website where the public could submit photos of these lookalikes, so that he could properly log and map out the search for his Doppelginger.

“You’ve been profiled here,” he confirms as we chat ahead of his upcoming tour. “I think it’s a ginger thing where people think we all look the same. Sometimes we do, like I do see it, but other times…”

Bradshaw’s Doppelginger UK tour is, then, part traditional stand-up routine and part a nationwide search for his ultimate dead ringer, so that “Whenever someone says ‘you look like this person,’ I can go ‘No I don’t, I look like this accountant from Ipswich.’ I’m gonna have him as my background on my phone ahead of my wife and my son”.

We can expect plenty of audience interaction, then. “There’s probably going to be an unsuspecting bald-ginger person that’s been brought by their partner and they don’t know what’s happening. And it’s gonna be like Cilla Black. Surprise, surprise, and I’m just gonna ruin their life. That’s the idea.”

Doppelginger is a departure from Bradshaw’s last show about his experiences growing up with deaf parents, but like many of his routines will be also performed with British Sign Language interpretation. Does adding in another linguistic layer to his routine affect his approach to stand-up?

“You have to try to hit two punch lines in two languages at the same time,” he says. “Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. You lose wordplay, you lose puns. It’s a nightmare at points, but it’s so enjoyable when you see people you’ve never seen before in the audience that look like your family.

“But the weirdest mindf*ck, so to speak, is that deaf people heckle you in sign language, That’s normal. Then when you repeat what they’ve said in English, they will then deny that they’ve heckled you. And then it just looks like you’re picking on someone unsuspecting. Happens all the time.”

As he prepares for more heckling on the Doppelginger UK tour, we get stuck in a lift with Bradshaw and get to know each other better.

Who would you most like to be stuck in a lift with? 

I got stuck in a left with my mates once and it was a good laugh – because we were all really drunk. We were in Riga in Latvia, probably eight pints in and we got stuck in the lift. It was amazing until we all started needing to pee; our urine cycles synced, which was weird. I remember at one point my mate Matt tried to climb out and nearly decapitated himself. So that was a nice, a wee highlight. So I’d like to go back and do that again with my mates, ten years on, and see if any of us have matured or will end up pissing ourselves and nearly dying. So them, but maybe with a bucket. Hmm, I think now that we’re older, we’re going to need two or three buckets… I can’t hold it anymore, the minute I’ve broken the seal I’m done. So say there’s four of us and we’re there for half an hour… maybe six buckets.

Do you ever struggle in that regard when it comes to performing stand-up?

It’s weird, you can be really needing one right before you go on and then the minute adrenaline kicks in you just stop. You’ll do 50 minutes, and you won’t think about it, and the minute you come off, you have to run. It’s so weird. I’ve seen people faint onstage, I’ve never seen anyone piss themselves on stage, but it’s something I would be very keen to see if I’m honest, especially if it was one of my mates. When bad things happen to your mates it’s just enjoyable. The idea of one of my really good mates standing on stage pissing themselves and saying something like “this is the first time this has ever happened” would make me laugh a lot. So I am very keen for that to happen.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with?

My mum. My mum would be an absolute nightmare in that lift, she would start blaming me even though it wouldn’t be my fault. She’d be saying “I knew we shouldn’t get this lift…”. I love my mum to bits, but she’d be an absolute nightmare. In fact, that has given me the fear just thinking about it.

What’s the weirdest interaction you’ve ever had with a famous person?

This is very urine based so far, but I took a pee next to Meat Loaf once. I wanted to look at him but I couldn’t because it’s that awkward thing. Oh, and I got my uni degree from Paul McCartney. He handed me my degree and I started talking about what he was wearing. I could have asked them anything but I was asking him why he was wearing Reebok Classics, and he looked at me as if to say “Just f*ck off.” It was so quick and succinct. There’s a picture of us talking, and anytime someone’s like, “oh, was he telling you anything?”, I’m like “yeah he was just saying he’s a big fan of my stand up”.

What was the last gig that you went to?

I went see Off Menu Live. I think Off Menu is brilliant and the guest that night was Frankie Boyle. I’ve spent a lot of time with Frankie, and his menu choices were absolutely absurd. His main course choice was three pounds of wedding cake icing.

When was the first time you met Frankie?

About ten years ago, I did Red Raw which is a new act show at The Stand in Glasgow. I did about five minutes of material about… did you ever have it at school when the teacher couldn’t be arsed so she just brought a parachute out? I just did material about that, never did it again, but then Frankie followed me afterwards on stage and he riffed on it. I met him a couple of times afterwards and then he DM’d me and asked if I wanted to come and support him on tour. I was about eight pints deep at the time and I was like yeah, let’s be friends.

The comedians Frankie Boyle and Ray Bradshaw standing together

What’s on your rider?

I remember the first time I got asked, I panicked and turned into a seven year old kid. I was like, “can I get some Ribena and Haribo?”. And they went, “Oh, do you not want beer?”. And I was like, “we can get beer?! This is amazing”. It depends if I’m driving, but if I’m not and my mates are coming after it’s just a fridge full of beer, and then we come back and just hit into that. So yeah, some beers, some Diet Coke. Can you imagine my rider if I was asking for caviar and like stuff like that? “Oh just bring the Fabergé egg…” I need to make myself look a bit more cultured.

What work of yours hasn’t got the attention it deserved?

I did a show based on dares that didn’t hit as well as I thought. It was 2015, so I probably wasn’t established enough, but I went on a date with Scotland’s oldest woman, I went to Bollywood, I did all that kind of stuff. That was fun. But there’s also tonnes of jokes I’ve written where I think this is the one, if I put this video out I’m gonna go viral. Then you do the joke on stage and four people laugh. That’s not a good ratio… there’s 100 people in here, so that’s 4%. This is obviously sh*te. That happens more than I would like to admit.

I saw one you did about the only problem growing up with deaf parents was when you realise you’ve run out of toilet paper…

I did that about five times in America this year. Nothing. Nothing at all, every time. It got to a point where I was coming off stage like, “What do you call toilet roll here?”, and they were like, “toilet roll”. I genuinely thought it was a communication error.

Ray Bradshaw - Best Foods Comedy Gala 2023

What did the 12-year-old you imagine you’d be doing now?

At 12, I’d probably given up on the football dream, because I was actually quite good as a footballer from nine to eleven, but then everyone else got better and I just plateaued. I don’t know, probably a sports journalist or an accountant. I never thought I’d have a house. I never really thought about getting married or having kids and all that kind of stuff. I’m 35, and I think I’d probably look at me and go, “God, I can’t believe you lost your hair. I thought you were gonna have hair until you’re 50, like Sven Goran Eriksson”. That would be the reference probably. 12-year-old me hadn’t gone abroad yet, so I think the fact that I go abroad so much, 12-year-old me would think current me is a drug dealer. A lot of times in Glasgow, if you make money, there’s a small chance you’ve been doing that anyway.

What’s the worst advice you’ve ever been given?

I get quite a lot of bad advice, I think the worst I’ve ever been given was when I used to go to the barbers. I would ask, “am I going bald?”. And he’s like, “no, no, you’ve got five years, just grow it out”. I was in Liverpool at the time, at uni, and when I moved back home I would go to the barbers there and it would be £9. And then the next time it was £8, and the third time I went it was £7. I was like, “am I going bald?”. He was like, “yeah of course, that’s why it’s cheaper each time”. So maybe the first person who told me to grow it out, that’s probably some bad advice, I reckon.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

I sold adverts in the BT phonebook at a time when the internet existed. That was quite bad. You would just be phoning people up going, “do you want to buy an ad in the BT phonebook?”. This was in 2006 or 2007, so they’d be like “no, I’m advertising online”. It was just that everyday. I think that lasted for two or three weeks. That was bad. That was really, really bad. They had a sales chart of everyone that had sold stuff. There was one guy that had sold one and he was like Jesus.

If a song played every time you walked into a room what would it be?

Fatman Scoop – ‘Be Faithful’. A hundred percent. I started talking about it on stage once and it kind of became synonymous with me. I used to get phoned up by everyone about it too. If I went to bed and woke up and had a missed call from 1am, I’d know Fatman Scoop was playing in whatever club this person was in. So much so that it was the last song at my wedding. My gran, who was 86 at the time, gave me the immortal line: “Why is that man shouting ‘Who’s f*cking tonight.'” That’s my legacy.

Fatman Scoop - Be Faithful (Full Length)

Who do you often get told you look like?

Is this question actually in here?! [Laughs] I get John Hartson a lot, and Max Branning from Eastenders. The one that I think I really look like, face wise, is Phoebe’s boyfriend in Friends, the cop that shoots the bird, Michael Rapaport. We have the same face. I once Tweeted him saying “Hey, Michael, we’ve got the same face do you want to get paid to stare at each other?”. He blocked me. So that was the end of that journey.

What’s the skill that no one else knows that you’re great at?

It’s a really rubbish skill, I don’t know if it’s even actually a skill, but when I’m putting the cutlery away and I look at it upside down I can tell whether it’s a fork or a spoon or a knife just by looking at it. I don’t think I’m that skillful though. I’m rubbish at DIY. I can’t really open a bottle with my teeth. Sign language was always my skill, my party piece. I mean, I did a show on it, so I’ve milked it for all it’s worth.

Have you got any controversial food opinions?

I’m a big believer that there are too many condiments. You should just pick one for the rest of your life. If you like ketchup then that’s the only condiment you’re allowed. Because I don’t know what the top shelf of your fridge looks like, but mine is just condiments. We use mustard so rarely, but that takes up quite a lot of space in our fridge because one time we had hot dogs or burgers or whatever. Yeah, so yeah, I’m gonna go for that. You can only have one condiment for the rest of your life. What would be yours?

Hot sauce, definitely. What would be yours?

Maybe garlic mayo? I don’t know. I think that could be a terrible choice. Bear in mind I’ve just come up with this concept.

What film have you re-watched the most in your life?

Probably Richie Rich. When I was a kid, I always thought the idea of having a theme park in a McDonald’s in your house would be great. The only time I’ve been to the cinema in the last few years was to go see Barbie. Oh, that’s a lie, Barbie and the PAW Patrol movie. I took my son to see that because he wanted to go to the cinema, but it turns out all he wanted to do was eat popcorn. He couldn’t care less about the film, he’s all about the snacks. Yeah, so probably Richie Rich or Mighty Ducks 2. The baddy in Mighty Ducks 2 is the goody in Mighty Ducks 3 because the casting director just couldn’t be arsed. Because he knew it was only gonna be losers like me that watched it.

Do you have any superstitions?

No, not really. I’m intrigued by them but I don’t fully understand them. I remember when I was a kid, when we’re doing exams at school, someone said they had a superstition where they can’t swear on the day of an exam. I’d been listening to a song that said “f*ck” 40 times, so I just accepted I was going to do badly.

Actually, one I have is I won’t walk over three drains. That’s just because I went out with a girl once who believed that. I texted her recently going “I still do this because of you,” and she replied with “Well I don’t.”

Ray Bradshaw’s Doppelginger tours the UK from 25 February – 3 March 2024, find tickets here