Wales’ best comedic Anthropologists: The Death Hilarious discuss their new podcast

Glenn Wade, Darren J. Coles

Sarah Jayne Smith introduces Darren J. Coles and Glenn Wade to USW’s Cardiff campus, to chat about comedic influences, Welsh identity, and the duo’s new podcast.

Wandering into an unlocked classroom on the echoey third floor, Darren and Glenn seem calmer and less sweaty than when they headlined January’s Comedy Cave at the infamous Porters.

Headlining Cardiff Comedy Cave at Porters

The jarring creak of a classic Royal-blue wheelie-chair breaks the ice; as the duo tries to hide their reservedness with polite small-talk and forced smiles. 

A slightly crumpled packet of Party Ring biscuits is slid across the white Melamine table – a sweet offering to set the kiddish tone for the next few hours.

Meeting at Cardiff University almost two decades ago, the pair joined the drama society, along with the now Mrs Wade; and bonded over a mutual love of Rik Mayall, sarcasm, and unhealthy cuisine.

Munching on a Party Ring, Darren seems slightly confused about Rhondda geography – believing that the Valley runs East to West. Growing up in Beddau, he once witnessed a man robbing a bakery with a machete, but his biggest childhood trauma was the bullying he encountered at school, which “left a stain on the psyche”.

Glenn’s childhood also featured unrelenting bullies, but of the Swansea persuasion. Disliking sport meant he “didn’t tick all the boxes for what it meant to be Welsh” – resulting in him discovering other outlets to explore his identity.

Both men were overweight as children and agree that this has influenced their humour. With a sigh, Darren says it’s a very sensitive subject; however, Glenn discloses “It’s eating me up inside”.

School was “rough” – both men felt their authenticity created a disconnect from their classmates. In a move to shift the labels of “different” and “fat”, the pair’s coping mechanisms aided in developing a talent to distract and entertain their peers; something they now do effortlessly.

Porters, Cardiff

Apparently, Glenn’s biggest success in life involved a young, attractive supply teacher during a GCSE history lesson. “She was very pretty and very nice and I made her laugh,” he gushes.

According to Darren, “to this day he still searches the crowd for her at every gig; but she’s yet to make an appearance”.

Heavily influenced by their upbringings, the duo dissects human nature in both their act and new podcast.

“We take stuff from the background that we grew up in and we try to make it funny. This week we’ve written a sketch about everything our mums have ever done that has stuck in our head; like being in a restaurant and she really overeggs you on about how excited you are to be there, and she keeps saying “oh isn’t it lovely in here? Oh yum, oh what a lovely restaurant, aren’t we having such a lovely time?” Glenn continues intensely. “It’s where a lot of our anxieties come from.” 

With a day job as a DVLA office-monkey, Glenn is the mature cheddar in this cheese and pickle ensemble, and it’s reflected in his crisp M&S clothing choices. Equally a fan of the ageing white man’s clothing store, Darren is rocking a new Sunday-best dress that he bought on his way to the interview, and that his parents would “definitely disapprove” of. Having accidentally gouged a hole in the side, he admits:

“I’m very particular about my dresses – I only wear the very best, it has to be Marks and Spencers. I’m a bit gross, because I’ve been wearing the same dresses for like seven years now, and they fucking stink; but they’re comfortable. Also, I rip my tights on my toenails and we’re always throwing ourselves round stage, so I skag them a lot.”

Porters, Cardiff

Ditching the deserted Atrium for a swanky, city-centre pub, talk turns to their new podcast: Last of the Good Guys. Released in January, the name was chosen “because there are so many horrible bastards in comedy who paint themselves as good guys and we never claimed to be”.

Both active members of the podcast generation, it was friend and fellow comedian, Morgan Rees who convinced them to launch the series. Despite the encouragement, Darren aimed to produce, co-host, and edit the episodes – not an easy task for someone who both works full-time and gigs several times a month. He admits:

“I had slight reservations about it because of the workload. I work five days a week and my professional head thought: I don’t want to just wank this out every week.”

Acknowledging that a large proportion of commercial podcasts are created through a producer picking appropriate hosts and a carefully considered theme, the Good Guy’s show is different. 

Glenn and Darren: genuine friends (most of the time)

“We can both just talk and when we’re together, we bounce off each other. I was sceptical that it just wouldn’t be funny; and genuinely, if it hadn’t been funny, I wouldn’t put it out. It does feel like the more we’re doing it, the funnier it’s getting” explains Darren.

Glenn nods, “There is no purpose to it, there’s no theme and it’s not what people expect us to do. We just wanted the freedom to be funny together.” 

He explains “It may seem odd that we’re friends, but our sense of humour is very similar, and we have shared interests in music and literature. The biggest difference is when we go out because I’m a partier and he’s not.”

“It’s like taking Grandad to a strip club! At midnight, you can see his eyelids drooping; but if the demon drink is in me, I’ll go until like 4am.” states Darren.

With a marriage, mortgage, and a child on the way; Glenn imitates an old man in other ways too. Once writing a “stinking email” to Classic FM over their mispronunciation of Welsh place names, he feels frustrated that “broadcasters can pronounce German, French, Italian perfectly; but when it comes to Welsh, they’re incapable. They think “oh it’s a dead language, so it’s not worth my time to even attempt to learn it.”’

Although passionate about the language, Darren reveals the pair “lie in a cross-section as we’re not flag-wavers and we’re both very sceptical about Welsh independence.”

Occasionally similar to an old married couple

As the only one allowed a driving license, Glenn has driven them to gigs throughout the UK. Darren says their funniest conversations happen on the journey home:

“The drive to and from any gig is the funniest – he’s driving, and I’ve had a few to drink, I’m a bit half-cut and I’m just, well it’s just verbal diarrhoea at this point, trying to make him swerve.”

Appearing to have once worked, travelling home from a gig they were involved in a car crash. With a variety of props on board, Darren explains that a recovery truck driver was rather amused upon arriving at the scene.

“We had a load of didlos on the back seat. We explained they were props, but we didn’t explain about the butt plugs or hessian sack with the young boy in it.”

Considering the possibility that they might have actually died in that car crash; the dregs are slowly gulped, and the interview ends.

…You’re in hell, boys!

You’re in hell, boys!
I asked Darren and Glenn about their podcast

All words, photographs, and video by Sarah Jayne Smith.

Categories: Cardiff, Reviews, Reviews, South Wales

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