Tom Stade is not a comedian who believes in playing it safe. His onstage routines include riffs on terrorism and his sly nostalgia for pre-feminism gender politics.
He can combine the two: ‘Terrorists believe in sacred shit. Shit like sandals and beards and keeping their women stupid. And there’s a little piece of me that’s OK with that.’
He has also appealed online for funding for a TV company called M.U.F.F. to make shows such as Pimp My Mom, promising to spend some of the cash raised on coke.
The louche, drawling comic moved from his native Canada to the UK ten years ago, initially finding himself accidentally living in Bilston on the outskirts of Wolverhampton, before relocating with his family to Edinburgh. He wrote gags for Frankie Boyle in between.
Stage is gearing up for his 60-date You’re Welcome tour that runs from December to May, yet Loaded’s interview phone call at midday wakes him up blurred and discombobulated from a heavy-drinking night that seems to have ended 20 minutes earlier. It’s like talking to a wisecracking North American Rowley Birkin from The Fast Show.
Loaded You had a big night last night, then?
Tom Stade Well, we went to a club around 2.30. We had a few laughs there. Huh huh huh. I think there was a band, who knows? There may have been dancing. Are you trying to get me in trouble with my wife? What kind of person are you? Huh huh!
L What were the main culture shocks that hit you on moving from Canada to Britain?
T Your frozen food culture. Iceland really freaks me out. I’d never fed a family of five for £4 before. That was a unique experience. You can get fat in two months, right? Huh huh huh! And I loved your TV.
L What specifically?
T Man, I love your soap operas. EastEnders is amazing. In America, everyone in the soap operas is rich and loaded. You think: ‘I wish I could be like that.’ The soap operas in England are the opposite. You think: ‘Thank God I’m not one of those fucking people.’ Even if you are living in Bilston, huh huh! But now I’m over soap operas.
L What are you watching instead?
T Daytime shit. Antiques Roadshow. Bargain Hunt. Cash In The Attic. All those shows that should really be called We Haven’t Got Enough Money, Let’s Sell Some Shit. Huh huh!
L Why is your new tour called You’re Welcome?
T Well, I needed to call it something to get people in the door. Who cares what the title is? I don’t think anybody ever goes away from a comedy show saying ‘Well, I laughed for hours, but I just don’t get the fucking title.’
L You’ve talked a lot about terrorism in your live routines. In the wake of the Paris attacks, is it a hard topic to deal with right now?
“Me and Frankie Boyle tried to see how far we could go before the other one went ‘Woah, that’s bad!’
T No, because it’s always been around. On an individual level, it is horrible. What is going on is horrible. But on the level of humanity, and watching us do things to other human beings, it is just funny. As people, we all know what the right thing to do is, but we never do it. The question is, why is everything so tragic? And the answer is, because we’re a bunch of fucking idiots.
L Have you always been drawn to comedy with shock value?
T It’s not so much shock value as I’ve always lived under the premise that nobody ever laughs at anything appropriate. There are danger topics, like feminism or terrorism or paedophilia – you start talking about that stuff, and you can see the audience thinking ‘This had better be funny.’
L You have worked a lot with Frankie Boyle, including being a co-writer on his Tramadol Nights series. When you met him, were you on the same wavelength from the off?
T I first met Frankie before he was famous, so we both had that crazy mind free to wander everywhere without wondering if you’re going to hurt anybody. We were laughing because we were trying to one-up each other and see how far we could go before the other one went ‘Woah, that’s bad!’
L And who won?
T Frankie, huh huh!
L The internet credits you with writing Frankie’s most notorious joke – the one about Katie Price only marrying a cage fighter so he can stop her son Harvey raping her. Is that true?
T No, it’s not, but I wish it was. I still find it hilarious. I’d love to take the credit for that one.
L You’re a Canadian living in Scotland. Is Scottish people’s attitude towards England similar to Canadians’ towards America?
T What, you mean does Scotland see England as a bunch of fucking stupid, war-mongering Bible-thumpers? No, it doesn’t. So I guess not. Scotland just sees England as the people who tell them what to do all the time, which pisses them off. Canada sees Americans as the people who are gonna start the next world war, and we’re gonna have to be a part of it, huh huh!
L Finally, what should we look forward to in the upcoming tour? Does it have any new themes, or ideas?
T I’m very prolific so there are going to be tons of different topics, but I think what I’m going to be talking about is proper I’ve-been-living-here-a-long-time-now shit. This tour is going to be more personal. It’s about me saying how good this country has been to me, and you saying ‘You’re welcome’. Hey, what do you know? The fucking title makes sense after all! Huh-huh-huh!
Tom Stade’s Your Welcome Tour kicks off at Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall on December 16. See Tom’s website for full dates.
Loaded freelance reporter Ian Gittins writes about music for several newspapers and websites. He is also a best-selling author who specialises in ghostwriting autobiographies. Follow him on Twitter at @iangittins