BIFF: Interview with Aiden Goately

After causing a stir at the Edinburgh Fringe last year with his show 10 Films with my Dad Aidan
Goatley and his dog return due to popular demand for a fresh summer of laughs and just the right
amount of sentiment. Mary Brandon spoke to him before his show at the Bradford International
Film Festival…

I was nervous before our phone call about interviewing a comedian for the first time. I’d imagined
my personality getting lampooned and my questions ridiculed. We’ve all seen it before in the front
rows of dark rooms where the prey can do nothing but sit there awkwardly wishing they could
disappear. But the truth was Aidan Goatley is just not that kind of comedian. “Lovely”, “happy”,
“delightful” and “charming” were just some of the words I found in reviews of his show 10 Films with
my Dad and I think these words are also best used to describe Aidan himself.

Aidan told me the story of how he grew from a kid impersonating his favourite comedian, Billy
Connolly, in front of the mirror to gaining the confidence to perform in front of sold out audiences.
He credits the Jill Andrews Comedy Workshops for this boost in confidence, which he attended
following in the footsteps of previous graduates such as Jimmy Carr, Sarah Millican and Sean Walsh.
He still seems taken aback by his success and conveys a mixture of surprise and pride at people
“coming though the rain” to see his show.

The real significant praise for Aidan started to roll in when 10 Films with my Dad premiered at the
Edinburgh Fringe Festival. “To have the response that the show had was incredible” he tells me. The
show is about the difficulties of communicating with parents. It is this that seems to be the crux of
its popularity. We all know what it’s like trying, and often failing, to get through to our parents. It’s
a difficult task for both sides of the relationship and can often end in tears. Aidan on the other hand
found a way of dealing with the problem; watching films. This enabled him to bond with his dad, a
“man’s man” who wasn’t a fan of talking, and who bought him an air rifle for his fifth birthday when
he had wanted a bike. But they could enjoy gratuitous violence together. The show, which critics
describe as “genuinely touching” with its mixture of film re-enactments and anecdotes, has made an
impact on many of his audiences, something that Aidan revels in when they have come up and told
him afterwards.

So what is it about his show that is hauling in the praise and the queues? Aidan is a comedian for all
the family and he still manages to be funny. A rare thing in stand up. He speaks passionately against
being divisive and alienating half his audience but instead tries to make them feel comfortable when
he’s on stage. Some comedians he believes only seem to want to appeal to the “single men” in the
audience at the expense of everyone else. Aidan seems to think that much of his popularity is down
to his adorable, scruffy canine friend, Kimble (“recently signed to Disney” he jokes). With the help
of treats and bribes Kimble helps with the show by dressing up in outfits to play the characters in
home-made clips of the 10 films. He is particularly convincing as a shark, fin and all, in a “clip” from
Jaws. I on the other hand suspect that the real star of the show is in fact Aidan and his ability to
create a heart-warming and humorous account of the minefield of father-son bonding. Even his dad
enjoyed it when he finally came to see the show. How could Aidan tell? “He bought me a bike for my
next birthday”.

10 Films with my Dad will be in Bradford on Sunday at the Bradford International Film Festival on
Sunday 14th at 9pm

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