Critically acclaimed Edinburgh Fringe act Cardinal Burns make their small screen debut tonight. Seb Cardinal and Dustin Demri-Burns talk Steve Coogan, vomit and treat us to a sneak peak – with clips containing adult humour…
How did you meet?
Dustin Demri-Burns: At film school in Edinburgh. It was popular to make very full-on, earnest films so our comic efforts weren’t that well received.
Seb Cardinal: We had to watch seven-hour epics about nothing. We’d be sat at the back of the class thinking “boring!” and wishing we had a catapult.
DDB: We just wanted to be funny.
Have long have you been acting up?
SC: I was a real show-off as a child.
DDB: I think it’s good that we met slightly later in life. We probably would have been in competition when we were little. I was always trying to make the class laugh as well.
SC: I was constantly getting dressed up for school. One day it was a cowboy outfit, the next day it was a fairy…
DDB: Really? I didn’t go that far. You were a freak.
How long have you been on the live circuit?
SC: Five years.
DDB: We’ve had a few clangers.
SC: We’ve been booed off.
DDB: That was when we had a lunchtime slot at a festival. The character was a cross between Elton John and Desmond Tutu, and we were trying to get the audience – a dozen hung-over teenagers – to chant ‘vuvuzela’.
SC: I remember thinking I could hear the chant coming back.
DDB: That was me.
SC: But then slowly it dawned: oh no, that’s booing.
DDB. Another time we dressed up as penguins and realised halfway through that it wasn’t going well and we had to get off stage but how? So people were just watching these panic-stricken penguins whispering to each other. Then we legged it.
Do you ever get nervous?
DDB: Still do.
SC: The first gig we ever did I downed an entire bottle of Rescue Remedy.
DDB: There were only five people in the audience.
Is this your first TV appearance?
DDB: We’ve done little bits and bobs but this is the first show we’ve written. We were in Saxondale, which we were proud of because we love Steve Coogan. We played a Queen tribute band.
SC: I was Freddie Mercury and Dustin was Brian May.
Did Steve Coogan give you any tips?
DDB: Follow your heart, he said.
SB: Follow your heart and follow your dreams.
DDB: And be true to yourselves. Then he just disappeared.
Were you star struck?
DDB: Just a little.
SC: Our office is on the floor below his production company Baby Cow so we kept bumping into him, and every time we looked out the window we’d spot the biggest comedians coming into the building: we’d see Chris O’Dowd and then we’d see Armando Iannucci…
DDB: But the window is one-way so they couldn’t see us, and so we’d always catch them checking themselves out in the reflection.
SC: Coogan was the worst for it!
(Clip contains adult humour)
Aside from stalking famous comics, where do you find your ideas?
SC: We decided the office wasn’t the right environment.
DDB: We make a lot of excuses.
SC: “I’m not feeling this.”
DDB: “I find my house oppressive. I find your house oppressive. Café?”
SC: Which wasn’t ideal because you have to get up on your feet and improvise. We put people off their lunch, especially our Vomit Cops sketch!
Vomit Cops is pretty disgusting. How did you do it?
SC: Cups of chicken soup with something extra added – this gelatine stuff – just to make it a little more revolting.
DDB: Did they even heat it up? I can’t remember.
SC: Yeah, it was slightly warm. So before each take we had to down huge cups of this stuff and keep it in our mouths. Then the director wouldn’t call “action” immediately so we’d have to stand there with our mouths full while they faffed about with the lighting or something.
DDB: We didn’t have to fake the gagging.
SC: There’s a bit in the background where I’m actually being sick.
Who’s your favourite character?
DDB: I really like playing Charlie in the Office Flirt sketch. He’s the resident sleazebag, part of the office furniture, until this new guy comes along
SC: …who I play. The new guy is not completely of this world.
DDB: He’s a cross between Sting and Mel Gibson.
SC: My favourite character is Banksy as we imagine him to be: the kind of guy you often hear on long train journeys getting excited about railway carriages; a very ordinary nerd.
How would you describe the show?
SC: Someone said they thought it was dark and bizarre with a sweet centre, which I thought summed it up quite well. It’s big, bold and hopefully fresh and original. A lot of people say it seems like nothing they’ve seen before.
DDB: That was beautiful, man.
SC: The show is beautiful…apart from the vomiting.
(Clip contains adult humour)
Cardinal Burns begins on Tuesday 8 May at 10.30pm on E4