If you haven’t heard of Cardinal Burns, you soon will, not least because you’re reading an article almost entirely about them.
Cardinal Burns are about to take the comedy world by storm. The duo, comprised of former Fat Tongue members Dustin Demri-Burns and Seb Cardinal, have been circuit favourites for years. Performing shows around the UK, they have left a trail of impressed critics and audiences knackered from laughing in their wake. They have also been responsible for producing some of the funniest sketches you are likely to find on the Internet. Now, finally, some clever TV bosses have decided to let Cardinal Burns have some of their money and make a show. It starts on E4 on Tuesday 8th May at 10.30pm.
The show is a mixture of fast-paced outrageousness and subtle observation, with some larger than life characters and very shrewd observations from real life. Expect to see an exceptionally prolific office flirt, a send-up of the Hills starring Yumi, a Japanese exchange student, an ‘at home with Banksy’ scenario and an on-set fly trainer (yes fly). The whole thing promises more laughs than a fully qualified laugh-promiser, with a diploma in laugh-promisery. Don’t miss it.
How did you get into comedy?
Cardinal: Well, we met at film school in Edinburgh. We were making comic short films while everyone else was making quite serious, intense films about tramps looking back on their lives… you know. That’s all I really remember.
So then you decided to take your work to the Edinburgh festival?
Burns: Yes, but it took a few years to get there.
Cardinal: We both moved down to London and started writing lots of comic short ideas, and then we thought we should do them on stage, because that’s the best way to get noticed. Then we went up to Edinburgh, three times, and that’s how it all began.
You had a few forays into video on the Internet, was TV always the final aim?
Burns: I suppose, because we started with TV and film as an ambition, it always felt like that was a goal. But I think having done more and more live stuff we’ve realised not only the value of doing live comedy, but how much fun it is as well.
What/ who are your influences? Who do you really like to watch?
Burns: Who do we keep going on about… The Americans.
Burns: Yeah just the Americans.
Cardinal: The Americans in general.
Those bloody Americans!
Burns: They’re exciting aren’t they?
Cardinal: Yeah, I think they’re gonna do well.
Burns: The country’s going places… But American comedy at the moment certainly, there’s so much good stuff coming out.
Cardinal: Things like Eastbound and Down, Community.
Burns: And Party Down.
Cardinal: Also all of the Adam McKay films and Will Ferrell’s stuff. But not all of it, there are a few duds.
Burns: It’s confidence isn’t it? They’re very ballsy, it’s silly but it’s intelligent silly, which is perfect really.
You have a lot of sketches based around something that I thought a sketch could never be based around. Sometimes it’s something as basic as a character trait. Do you just come to each other and say, look I’ve got a weird thing that could be funny? Or do you come with a full formed idea?
Cardinal: It’s a bit of both. Sometimes they’re fully formed ideas, other times we’ll be in a room and one of us will start doing something that we’ve observed from someone and then turn into that character.
Burns: Sometimes there’s just a certain characteristic that will be bouncing around for a while and you think, what can we do with that? And then you find something.
I remember seeing a sketch in Edinburgh where all you did was rub lotion into your hands…
Cardinal: The Scottish one… The origin of that was while we were writing, there was some hand sanitiser in the room.
So what other plans are there for the future? You’re doing Edinburgh this year?
Cardinal: Yeah, we’re going up to Edinburgh for the final week.
Burns: We’ll be performing at the Ace Dome, at half 8. We’re doing the Udderbelly as well, on the Southbank in May.
The programme starts on 8th of May, I’ve been trying hard to find stuff about it on the Internet…
Cardinal: It’s a guarded secret…
Yes, you have a very enigmatic Internet presence…
Cardinal: Useless or enigmatic, I can’t decide.
Do you like your private lives, do you try to be guarded?
Cardinal: Yeah, we’re both quite private. We’re not on Twitter.
Burns: Although we should be.
Well everyone I know has described you as very sexy comedians.
Burns: High five that.
Cardinal: We really shouldn’t high five ourselves.
Well I think you can.
[They do again]
Do you think you’ll ever do any serious stuff? Anything about tramps?
Both: Oh yeah, we’d like to.
Cardinal: It would be an interesting challenge, because we’ve never done it.
Well I can’t think of any more questions so…
Cardinal Burns starts on Tuesday 8th May on E4 at 10.30pm.
Text: Jack Barry