Colin Hoult

by Joanna Orland

Comedian Colin Hoult is unrecognizable. Not because he’s plain-faced, more disheveled than usual, or unsuccessful in his career, but because he is so talented as a character comedian that he practically becomes another person when he is performing.

Colin is an actor, writer and character comedian, known for his dark and slightly offbeat sense of humour. He has many projects on the go including a rather epic show entitled Characthorse which will play at both London’s Udderbelly festival on June 22nd and at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, as well as his radio show Carnival of Monsters which is due to air this July on BBC Radio 4.

Colin never intended to become a comedian. The wannabe Shakespearean actor went to drama school in Manchester, and sees his character work more like being in a play rather than doing standup. His portrayal of characters touches upon aspects of his own personality, but most are based on people from his life. In spite of basing a lot of the personas on other people, Colin loses himself in his performance.

“I think in my mind it always seems like I actually become the characters, like a sort of shapeshifter. Then I watched it back and just saw this bloke in a suit going blah blah blah, being all these characters… It sounds mental, but in my head genuinely, I think [the audience] see this big fat guy, or this skinny woman, or this old man… In my head that’s what I’m seeing.”

Citing his mother as an inspiration for his dark sense of humour, his new show is somewhat about his mom. He even plays her very briefly as a voice in his head. His mother isn’t the only character making an appearance in his latest work. You can expect an array of personalities, including some from popular culture.

“I get Transformers in wherever I can basically… This one’s a Transformers strip bar where Optimus Prime… various events have happened and he’s ended up flashing his junk to paying men who throw dollars at him while he transforms into various sex things.”

This is quite a grim take on a character normally meant for children’s consumption. With a tendency for his comedy to drift into the macabre, Colin’s work often gets labeled as “dark”.  Regardless of this recurring description of his style, Colin doesn’t see his sense of humour as such. For him, it is the humour he grew up with and surrounds himself with.

In spite of playing a variety of odd characters, Colin is one of the most down to earth people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. And like all others I’ve interviewed for Loose Lips, Colin struggled with our signature question:

If there were only one word to sum up Colin Hoult, what would that word be?

“Not dark, definitely.”

If you listen to the full audio interview above, you’ll hear that after much debate, the one word we settled on is “Autobot”.

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