In The Middle talks to Alex Horne about music, comedy, one liners and his band Alex Horne and The Horne Section
How was Alex Horne and the Horne Section formed?
We got together about seven years ago in a desperate bid to inject some fun into our individual jazz and comedy careers! I’m very old friends with two of the musicians – we went to primary school together in Sussex and our mums are still best friends. They always liked comedy and I always liked lived music so it seemed like a good idea to combine forces. There wasn’t really a plan though. Just a basic idea of all of us squeezing onto a stage and mucking about. And that’s still the sum total of the plan today.
Music and comedy have a long tradition; what other musical comedy acts have you drawn inspiration from? What new angle do you think you have brought to this branch of comedy?
You’re right that we are a very traditional, almost music hall act. I’ve always loved Ken Dodd who still tours with a band and combines jokes with songs and dancing. I also remember seeing Harry Hill playing with a super group made out of musicians at the Comedy Store in the late 90s. That was undoubtedly a subconscious influence. Then you’ve got the likes of Tim Minchin and Bill Bailey who are absolutely masters of their craft. I guess what we do that’s slightly different is the gang-thing. All six of us are equals on stage so there’s a fair amount of chaos that you don’t get in other shows.
You have included a lot of audience interaction in your shows in the past. What do you think this adds to your shows? How do you plan for the uncertainty which comes from including an audience member in your routine?
Any good music gig should be fully audience interactive. I hate seeing bands where the entire audience have to sit motionless in seats. Whether you’re watching Motorhead, Status Quo or The Penguin Café Orchestra, you should be up, moshing, crowd-surfing or even just swaying. And so in our gigs we want people to feel involved and any uncertainty that causes is absolutely embraced and enjoyed.
Forming a successful career in comedy or music is difficult, but with Alex Horne and the Horne Section you have managed to bridge both fields. Do you have any advice for people attempting to pursue a career in comedy or music (or both)?
It’s the standard advice, I’m afraid: gig, gig, gig. Get on stage whenever and wherever you can and keep plugging away. I am absolutely not the most talented person in any situation but I’ve stuck at it!
Finally, what is the best one line joke you’ve ever heard?
Now, I don’t know whose joke this is but it always tickles me: I ate a goat’s cheese sandwich for lunch. The goat was livid.
Alex Horne and The Horne Section are performing at Leeds City Varieties on the 11th of November
Alex Horne‘s TV show Taskmaster is currently on Dave at 10pm on Tuesdays.
(Image courtesy of Alex Horne)