THE Sunday National spoke with comedian Alasdair Beckett-King about the 10 things that changed his life ahead of his appearance at the Glasgow International Comedy Festival on March 29 – tickets are still available HERE.

1. Disastrous Nativity play

I was cast in the role of Joseph which is very important as we are all aware. The sort of toga thing I was wearing, I’m not sure it was correct for the period. It was a bed sheet that was stapled to me and it started to come off during a key Innkeeper piece of dialogue.

I was revealed wearing my PE shorts which is also not historically accurate. It was an important for me because the audience of parents were laughing indulgently as I panicked.

Part of me was thinking this is quite good, what if I did this on purpose. I should also say, my partner of many, many years now was playing Mary in that scene.

READ MORE: Scottish comedian Zara Gladman discusses 10 things that changed her life

I should be clear this is not the reason we’re together, we’re kind of together in spite of that play but it was a big moment for me. A first laugh on stage.  

2. Discovering tablet

My mum is from Argyll and so we would go to Appin every year when I was a kid. I discovered it as a child.

I was trying to explain it to someone recently because I don’t think people in England really know what it is.

It’s a little bit like Kendal Mint Cake except that’s designed to save your life if you’re trapped in the mountains whereas tablet is trying to kill you and that’s what makes it so good.

3. Taping Red Dwarf

It’s probably the only thing where I’ve ever been a mega fan who tried to learn everything about the show and had all the books and everything. I never had the commitment to anything else but with Red Dwarf I did. 

It sort of opened up a world of comedy, alternative 80s comedy and also science-fiction and Star Trek and all this other nerdy stuff that I still love.

The National:

I hadn’t gone back and watched it for years but as they all appeared on the BBC I went back and dipped in. I was really pleased in a way because it’s still very good. I sort of hoped that it wouldn’t be that thing of everything seeming good when you’re 11. There’s some really great stuff there.

4. Not going to the hairdresser

When I was 14, my dad told me I needed a haircut so I said yeah that’s fine, you can arrange an appointment. And he said, ‘no, you’re old enough to do it yourself now’ and so I didn’t and have never been ever since.

While in a personal sense that has been a very bad decision because I have trouble sleeping in hot weather or sometimes my hair gets trapped under my armpit and then I nearly pull out a chunk of scalp when I turn my head.

But professionally it’s actually quite handy because having a memorable face is kind of useful when you’re a stand-up comedian. I didn’t get funny hair on purpose to help my career but it has worked out nicely.

5. William Blake’s Proverbs of Hell

This is a section of William Blake’s Marriage of Heaven and Hell which I do have a bit of material on which I think is online.

It sounds like it wouldn’t go down well in the clubs but it actually is a very funny bit, honestly.

But when I was in my 20s, I was very into new atheism and Richard Dawkins and being right about everything all the time and I am still an atheist but I try not to be a w****r about it these days and reading William Blake was a part of me realising you don’t have to annoy people all the time, constantly.

6. ‘Failing’ at film school

I haven’t got over it, it’s a scar. I didn’t actually fail film school, I was hard working and turned up to exams. But being in my late 20s and struggling in one area and being able to try something new, switching to stand-up comedy from having made films.

My tutors panned my final submission. Even hate would have been better. It would have been some kind of emotion but they were just bored, they couldn’t even be passionate about how bad it was.

READ MORE: Scottish comedian Mark Nelson on the 10 things that changed his life

But I found you could create something with no budget in a short space of time instead of investing months of my life into trying to make short films. It opened up a lot of creative avenues for me.

7. Buying a second-hand camera

In 2019, I came back from the Edinburgh Fringe. I had that very common experience which is a sense of having done a good show and some people saw it and most of them enjoyed what they watched.

And yet my life had not changed, you go back to wherever you live and to what you were doing before. I hadn’t smashed down any doors or broken through. I hadn't substantially changed.

So what I did was buy a second-hand camera to take to gigs and do reels which not that many people were doing back then. To date, I have never brought it to a gig but I started filming little sketches in my tiny, studio flat.

Most of them did absolutely no business at all until lockdown happened and, it feels cheeky saying this, but I was just slightly ahead of the game because I had already started practising. I also went to film school so government money had been wasted on me learning this.

It was a really tough time for a lot of people, comedians included, but I felt kind of lucky because I, purely by luck and chance, was ready to show off some funny sketches.

8. Watching too many Scandi noirs

The first video I did, really the only one I did that went properly viral was a spoof of Scandinavian noirs and it’s also an illustration of how haphazard things are. I was doing a gig in Sweden and had a bit in that show about film noir and on the way there I thought I better mention Scandi noir.

I wrote a really short 30-second bit about this, said it in Sweden and they laughed. And then I completely forgot about it until I was scrabbling around trying to think of things to do and I thought I could just film that bit.

These things are quite random, but that video did so much better than anything I’d done or will do and I gained tens of thousands of subscribers off the back of that. It was quite good actually, quite lucky.

9. Doing a podcast

My friend James Shakeshaft is the co-host of Loremen. We’ve done it every week for a significant period of time. It’s about local legends and folklore, mostly from the British Isles depending on who we get on as guests.

Gradually and incrementally we’ve built a following over the years and that’s been very rewarding. People have sent nice little messages saying this podcast was really helpful at a difficult time in my life.

That’s weird because it is just us making fun of someone who saw a goblin. There’s nothing profound about it all but it’s really nice to have a small but loyal community of people who listen and enjoy it.

10. 'Killing’ Mock the Week

I’m embarrassed to say this because I’ve realised as we’re talking that I’m drinking out of a Mock the Week mug. I was on the last episode of Mock the Week. I was in the final series and then that was it. They just said no more, we can’t have any more of that on telly.

READ MORE: Scottish comic Susie McCabe is one of our top comedy voices

A beloved, long-running show, many, many years and so many laughs but I appeared on it a couple of times and the BBC pull the plug.

We did know that it was being cancelled before the very final episode. I only did it a few times but it was the first TV thing I’d ever done. The first one was during lockdown without an audience which was very weird.

I felt very privileged to get to do it alongside people who had been doing it for years, they were very welcoming. People come to see me on tour and ask me what happened to Mock the Week, but I don’t know it wasn’t my fault.