A Quick Chat With Idiots of Ants

Andrew Spiers, Elliott Tiney, Benjamin Wilson and James Wrighton make up the UK comedy quartet Idiots of Ants. Since 2007, the group have been performing their fast paced sketch comedy around the world, boasting four sell-out Edinburgh festival shows and a successful UK tour which culminated in a West End run.

The group are currently in Melbourne for their debut season at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and we caught up with them to ask our 20 Questions…

Idiots of Ants
Ben, Andy, Jim and Elliott from Idiots of Ants

1. As children, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Jim wanted to work in a bank because he loves the little pens. Ben always fancied being a fascist dictator, good pay, good holidays. Andy is good at fetching sticks. Elliott wanted to be

2. Who is the most important person in the world to you?
Elliott – My father is truly funny. He recently changed my email signature to ‘Hail Hitler’. I didn’t notice for two weeks.

Ben – My brother. We didn’t get on well growing up. Once he rolled a ball towards me… so I kicked it over the neighbor’s fence. He started to cry. It turned out to be his hamsters exercise ball. Amazingly it survived.

Jim – My old Gym teacher Geoff Wappet. What an amazing man.

Andy –  Me. I am a genius. I invented the ‘Andy Special Bacon Sandwich’. It is the same as a normal bacon sandwich but with black pudding instead of bread. It’s a pigs worst nightmare.

3. What animal best represents you and why?
Andy is like a chicken. He lays the most delicious eggs.

4. If you were a contestant on Deal or No Deal, how much would you need to be on offer before you walked away? 

Jimmy loves gambling. He is an avid poker player and spread better. The trouble is that he doesn’t know what he is doing. To his poker buddies Jim is a walking ATM.

It doesn’t matter what boxes were still available, Jim would panic an walk away with the $1 box… and even then he would be delighted that he was a winner.

5. What was the first piece of comedy/theatre/film/TV you ever appeared in and how old were you?
Elliott was a child actor. Videos of his performances on children’s television of the mid 90’s are a real treat for the rest of the group… Elliott used to be a fat, cross eyed little goon.

6. Windows or MAC?
IOA use the spectrum zx. It is an awesome machine, bound to catch on soon.

7. Favourite food?
When we play at the Edinburgh festival we like to sample the traditional Scotish dish ‘Deep Fried Mars Bar’. Now we are in Australia Andy would like to try your specialty, which, we have convinced him, is deep fried boomerang.

8. Who is the actor you would most like to work alongside?
Who was that guy from that film? You know? That film with that woman in it? You know the one? Well, we would like to work with him… No not him. Him.

9. What five songs would be the first you put a mix tape?
Idiots Of Ants have a guity pleasure… Show tunes. We spend most of our time in our tour van singing ‘Joseph’. We don’t need a mix tape… we are happier a capella.

10. What is the best thing about comedy in Australia?
The audiences. There is a really relaxed, inclusive, warm reception in an Australian audience. The atmosphere in the room makes the show a pleasure to perform.

11. What’s the worst thing about comedy in Australia?
The slight but ever present possibility that we might see a spider.

12. Name one moment when you looked around, breathed happily and felt content.
At the end of our London preview for our MICF show. The show is made up from 5 years worth of live tour shows… it really is the best bits. We are really proud of the show and we want to perform it for as many people as possible.

13. Where is the most interesting place you have travelled?
We went to the Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Fest a couple of years ago… it is Canada, but they speak FRENCH!!! What an odd place. We just got stuck in. We grabbed our French sticks and went straight down to the ice hockey rink.

 14. Who is the most famous person you’ve ever met?
We did a gig with Eddie Izzard. He has a tour bus that is way way way nicer than all of our houses combined. And your house too.

15. Most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you onstage?
Elliott once forgot his lines in a school production of Bugsy Malone. There was a 40 second pause and then the curtains slowly shut.

16. What’s your life motto?
Always carry spare pants.

17. What’s your favourite post-show snack?
Twelve pints of lager. With a chaser of another four.

18. What’s your biggest phobia?
Ghosts and spiders… or, way worse than that… THE GHOST OF A DEAD SPIDER!!!!

19. What is the worst date you’ve ever had?
August 2nd 1992. Rubbish day. Rained.

20. Where do you see yourself in five years?
If we are still able to have total creative freedom over comedy shows that people come to see then we will be more than happy.

Idiots of Ants are performing at the Melbourne Town Hall – Powder Room until April 22, 2012

Erin James

Erin James is AussieTheatre.com's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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