Comic Alistair Green reveals Romford 'definitely' inspired viral sketches

Alistair Green

Comic Alistair Green uses his white room to create self-contained scenes which have gone viral across social media. - Credit: Alistair Green

A comedian who grew up in Romford has said his upbringing continues to inspire a lot of the viral sketches he creates today.  

Alistair Green, who grew up just off Main Road towards Gallows Corner, says he feels Romford was a “good" and “funny place” to spend his childhood. 

Known for satirical content across social media, Alistair's popular sketches have been retweeted by many stars including Ricky Gervais. 

Reflecting on his upbringing, he said: “London was another place growing up. Though now, if you say to people you grew up in Romford, they would say you grew up in London, because it’s a London borough I guess, but I never thought of it as that. 

“It’s always had that thing of a kind of duality where it doesn't want to be a London borough.” 

Alistair Green

Alistair says the “realism” of his sketches is what makes a lot of them stand out. - Credit: Alistair Green

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Moving out of Romford in his early 20s and now living in Deptford, the 44-year-old says growing up in Romford “definitely” inspires a lot of his content today.  

“A lot of what I do is suburban people, an everyman character.  

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“I always think most people are from the suburbs in some sense, England is a very suburban place, mentality wise, we're the suburbs of the world, gossiping from the sidelines. 

“A lot of the ones [sketches] of me doing a character come from overhearing or seeing something or I will have a memory from growing up in Romford.  

“I will remember something someone said and it will rest in my unconscious and it will become an idea.”  

Touching on the uniqueness of his sketches, he says the “realism” of a lot of them is what stands out.  

“I try not to do broad jokes and I try and make the characters very plausible; they’re not caricatures. I am not interested in that and I try not to make a political point.  

“It is more important to me the characters are very real. 

“The ones where it’s a single person talking in a single take - this is another thing I do differently. It's a perceived conversation with one other person in the room, sometimes a lot more.” 

Growing up, Alistair enjoyed watching French and Saunders created by Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, who he thought were the “funniest people in the world”. 

Highlighting a work of his which is “unlike anything else”, Alistair described the sketch named Spooky Story which features a song with a character called the Night Goblin.

"It’s a demonic fairy tale about a night goblin, I don’t really know what it is," he said.

Working from his plain white room, Alistair says he wants the viewer to forget about his bare surroundings.  

He said: “I try to convey a very distinct sense of place and character. The idea is, if you’re watching it, you forget about the fact I am a man in a room on an iPhone.  

“I seed the idea of place. If it’s set in a garden a character will say ‘they said it wasn’t going to be hot today’. I want a very distinctive point of place – the idea is it’s a self-contained scene, a short story in a two-minute play.” 

Having already conquered the use of social media to broadcast his work the year before lockdown, Alistair says he already had “wind” behind him and was able to “exponentially grow” as no one else was doing it.  

By lockdown in 2019, Alistair had already sold out a cinema showing the films he had made on his iPhone.  

Alistair Green

Alistair's sold out cinema screening in 2019. - Credit: Alistair Green

However, lockdown was not an experience he enjoyed: “I had a similar experience to most people of the initial novelty in March 2020, ‘six weeks you say, no problem’, you thought at worst I'll be going aboard at Christmas!”  

Offering advice to others, Alistair says to try and “do something good”, although he remains “sceptical” of some of his sketches which do “really well”, such as Matt Hancock, because “it's not interesting and confirmation bias”. 

He adds: “All of it is for my own satisfaction, I am careful to cultivate the right kind of people.”  

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