Music

Interview

Tom Stade got left hanging by The Edge

Ahead of his Risky Business UK tour, we grill the Canadian comedian on the questions that really matter


It’s been over two decades since Tom Stade moved from his hometown of Vancouver to the UK, in which time he soon cemented himself as an unshakeable fixture in the country’s comedy scene – writing and appearing on the biggest shows an selling out his own solo tours.

A prolific performer at the Edinburgh Fringe, regulars will no doubt recognise the stand-up’s crabby but well-meaning takes on modern life. It’s where he’ll debut his new tour Risky Business this summer, before taking it on a UK-wide tour from September and well into the new year.

But before all that, we spoke to Stade to address the real pressing issues…

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

The Greek philosopher Diogenes is my first choice because then we could have some wonderful conversations about what it means to be stuck; are we really stuck or is or is it fate playing its hand? And aren’t we all stuck in one way or another? Plus, I’m pretty sure he’d remain calm until someone came to our rescue. I don’t see Diogenes freaking out because I don’t believe a stoic can be claustrophobic and if he was he’d be the worst stoic and all that was written about him would have been a lie.

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

My mother for sure. I love her so much but I know if she cornered me we’d be talking about all my life choices and why I wasn’t doing a real job because “you were so good a math Tom and you’d a least have a pension and security,” and “what happens if this comedy thing dry’s up.” You can see where this is going and picture your mothers voice.

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

I was once at the Q Awards giving an award away to Jessie J, and I was sitting next to a table with U2 and Coldplay. U2 won a lifetime achievement award and we all stood up and I instinctively put my hand out and as luck would have Bono shook it which was so awesome, but then The Edge walked by and my hand was still out, and he looked at me and just shook his head and didn’t shake it and walked on by. I turn to my wife and I said, “did I get ditched by The Edge?” I thought that was one of the weirdest moments ever because in a way, I thought how rude, but in another way I also thought so cool. I’m probably in an elite group of people that has been ditched by The Edge.

What was the last gig or show that you went to?

The last show I went to see was Arj Barker in Melbourne. I love going to watch Arj because number one he is a beautiful hippie dippy dude and his jokes are so well thought out – just like mine – but I also loved his mic technique. I love going to see comics I respect because they they make me have to be a critic of my own show and to learn how to do it better, because we never stop learning, am I right?

Arj Barker - 2021 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Gala

What’s on your rider?

I’m pretty simple when it comes to riders. I really don’t like to burden the theatres with any demands, most of the time I just bring my own stuff anyways but at the end of the night after I rock the room, if the theatre can hold me an post show Jack and Coke, then I’m a very happy man with a nice glow on.

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

Honestly I think the 12-year-old Tom would probably have thought he’d be running a food catering truck company just like his uncles, because he thought it was so cool that they got to drive up to work sites and sell sandwiches and drinks to all the construction workers. Plus, when I went with them I always got free food and the banter always made me laugh. Alas those dreams are dead, but there’s still a bit of that dream there because don’t think I still don’t love free food and good banter. It’s what life should be.

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

“You should really get into cryptocurrency.” I did, and it didn’t go very well. I seem to keep falling for these get rich quick schemes. The one they told me to invest in was STRK and let’s just say I wasn’t able to buy that yacht I had in mind when the riches did not come. Some more advice I heard on top of the bad advice was “cut your losses” which you never really want to hear.

Which film have you rewatched the most times? (Please tell me it’s Risky Business…)

Let’s just say in the 80s I totally re-watched Risky Business, of course I did, I wouldn’t let you down Ticketmaster. But I also had to rent it from the video store, so it got a little expensive. It was the thing to do in those times, but I’ve always loved comic books since I was a kid. My brother had the best comic book collection ever, and I would just read them and read them and when Marvel Infinity Wars and Endgame came out my inner geek showed up. It was like they knew how I was picturing it in my mind and I just can’t get enough of them. I hope I didn’t disappoint you. Star-Lord is so funny, so maybe also a bit of Guardians of the Galaxy.

What’s your most controversial food opinion?

That mushrooms are gross. Everybody seems to love mushrooms these days, but every time I put them in my mouth I feel like I want to vomit. They’re too mushy and I don’t know what that taste is but my buds just reject it, so if you’re ordering me a vegetarian pizza, it’s peppers, onions, tomatoes and olives. If you put mushrooms on it I will physically make you take them off one by one. I said what I said and let the comments come.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

I was a sandwich board for Kentucky Fried Chicken when I was 16. I had to walk around with two pieces of of plastic hanging off my shoulders with KFC deals on them, explaining to everybody about all the specials KFC had. And every time I did, I always wondered who doesn’t know KFC has specials? You don’t hear about a special and then think you want to go to KFC. You go to KFC and be surprised by the specials, duh?!

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

OK this is gonna be a weird one, but one of my special skills is that I can make my hair look like I’m wearing a toupee for some reason. I’ve got great skull skin dexterity. It all started when I was trying to figure out how to move my eyebrows and what ended up happening was my hair moved forwards and backwards. It was an accidental skill but a skill nonetheless. Us skull skin movers are small bunch, but we are out there.

Do you have any superstitions?

Yes I do, but I don’t know what it means. Whenever I wake up or am walking around I always see the numbers 747 and the reason that’s important is that used to be the beginning of my phone number, but now I’ll wake up right 1747 or 07:47. I’ll see it on planes obviously, but that number just keeps cropping up in the weirdest places now and in my mind it means something, but I just don’t what. But I feel that it’s important and I guess I’ll have to find out what it is in the end.


Find tickets to Tom Stade’s Risky Business UK tour here