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Ali Siddiq is Bigger Than Bars
The US Comedian from Texas is bringing his critically acclaimed show, Ali Siddiq is Bigger Than Bars, to London's Soho Theatre from Oct 29 to Nov 3. We spoke to Ali about bringing his show to the UK.
Buy Tickets at the Soho Theatre website
Thank you so much for your time Ali. We'll start with our traditional first question - where in the States are you from?
In late October and November, you'll be performing in London - how are you feeling ahead of crossing the pond?
Wonderful. Excited about coming back to London. I have performed in London three times prior to this show and always have a good reception.
A lot of comedians have background stories - it sounds like a big part of yours started during a stint in a Texan prison - how did your time there get you started on the road to where you are today?
I didn’t actually start in prison. Prison gave me great observation skills and ability to be sarcastically funny.
I've read that you were interested in comedy before prison - is that true? If so, did your time behind bars alter your comedy style?
I have been interested since I was 9 or 10 years old. My stay in prison just gave me the determination to start because I found that I was funny while in prison.
If anyone reading this hasn't yet seen your Comedy Central set - "Mexicans got on Boots" - I urge them to get on YouTube to check it out, because it feels like a great insight into your style of comedy. How would you describe your style to someone who hasn't seen your work before?
Prison is a big part of your set but you've commented on a whole range of topics - do you mind mostly discussing your time behind bars, or do you also like to spread your comedy wings onto other subjects?
I have been doing stand up 20 years. Only in the last four years have I done stories about prison. It’s not a big part of my stand up at all. My stand up is more educational and observational. My subject range extends exceptionally wide.
This show comes after your Comedy Central special earlier this year in which you went back to the same prison and did a routine for the inmates. What was that experience like for you?
That's incorrect. It was not a prison, It was Bell County Jail. I didn’t go to Bell County. The experience was amazing and gave me opportunities to show people that America locks up their women. If I went to a prison, I wouldn't have had that opportunity.
What can visitors to your London show expect?
Great stories. Great conversation and great laughs.
Whilst you're in London, do you have any plans to explore the city or see the sights?
I’ve been there several times and have seen the sights. Will go visit Spicy Basil.
What do you hope visitors to the London show take away from the experience?
No hope for the audience in whole. Hope each individual takes something away. My range is too broad to expect people to take away one thing.
Back in the States, beyond comedy you also do a lot of social and community work in Texas. How important is supporting the community for you?
Extremely important. My comedy comes from the community and without it there is no me.
Is there more to your routine than just comedy, for example do you feel it's important to highlight the conditions of American prisons and the penal system in the States?
No, because my comedy is not centered around prison.
What's next for you after your London show?
Back on the road. Working on my next Special (not shot in a prison or about prison.)
Finally, what's the best thing about being Ali Siddiq?
Ali's show, Ali Siddiq is Bigger Than Bars, will be on stage at the Soho Theate from October 29 to November 3, check out and buy tickets from www.sohotheatre.com/shows/ali-siddiq-is-bigger-than-bars