The Pin are a sketch double act tipped for great things in the future. Smart and funny in equal measure, their shows are sophisticated, witty and impressively complex. Make sure to catch their next Edinburgh Fringe show this August. Here they are being funny –
How did the two of you first meet and what were your first impressions of each other?
Alex: We met at University.
Ben: I first spotted Alex in an alley, and I wasn’t much impressed.
How did your comedy first develop and how has it changed since then?
Alex: We got stuck into student comedy with a big six man sketch show a few years ago and just kept going. Since then our style hasn’t changed drastically. We’ve got to know each other better so perhaps it’s a bit more loose on stage, with room for changing things on stage as we go. A bit more in unison I suppose.
Ben: I don’t really agree with that.
If you could describe The Pin in three words what would they be?
Alex: Silly Fun Friends.
Ben: Spot on mate.
Are there any specific sketch groups which have influenced your work? If so, who and why?
Alex: Big Train on TV was great. ‘Cowards’ is a group that really set the bar and I think they had a big influence on our writing style, particularly when we started out and were trying things out.
Ben: Later on ‘The Pajama Men’ with their fast-paced propless act definitely made us experiment along those lines.
Alex: We love ‘Sheeps’ too.
Ben: Oh yeah.
Last year’s Fringe was a big success for you, what were the high/low points?
Alex: High points include going, on day one, to Red Box, a noodle bar near the Dome. Low point is realising in week two that you need the MSG to stay sane.
Ben: I think I spotted Matt Lucas in the audience once. (High) It wasn’t him. (Low)
Can you tell us a little but about the new show this year?
Alex: Most notably we’ve gone from three to two.
Ben: So now it’s more about us as a double act, rather than a trio. Less narrative and more about our relationship.
There’s a lot of nice things being said about The Pin at the moment, do you ever feel any pressure to get it right because of this?
Alex: Are there? Well that’s lovely. I suppose we never want to disappoint.
Ben: Can I just clarify, I said ‘an alley’: it was a backstreet, and there were other people there.
Where do you see The Pin in five years’ time?
Alex: We’d love to film some of our sketches and see if people like it. But performing live is the real deal so we’re hoping that sketch comedy keeps growing in the way stand-up has.
Ben: So long as I’m with this guy, I’ll be alright. Also, I realise that ‘backstreet’ doesn’t sound any better.
What would your advice be for young sketch comics wanting to get established?
Alex: We find the practice of discarding material as ruthlessly and often as possible helps in the long run. If you keep trying to write better stuff to replace what you’ve currently got in place you tend to end up doing alright on the night.
Ben: Go with you gut. For god’s sake don’t get that ripped out by some ‘ambitious’ surgeon.
Finally, if you could be any other comic dead or alive, who would you be and why?
Ben: I’d definitely go for an alive one. Probably Alex; I already know his lines. Or Freddy Frother- the man’s a genius.
Alex: Freddy Frother isn’t real Ben.
Ben: I know, the guy’s talent is unreal.
Alex: Forget it then.
The Pin will be performing at The Pleasance Courtyard at 6.15pm, 31st July – 26th August. Find out more at http://www.pleasance.co.uk/edinburgh/events/the-pin–3 and Twitter at @thepincomedy