“The show I’m bringing to Oxford will not have differed too much from what I intended,” Michael Spicer, “The Room Next Door” guy tells me, “but I have used the extra lockdown time to do a video animation about the glorious career of Matt Hancock…..”
If you have already seen him destroy Prince Andrew, Trump and Boris’s kipper in his two-minute skits in which he plays a behind-the-scenes adviser desperately trying to stop leaders from committing huge blunders while broadcasting live, to no avail, then you’ll no what’s in store.
“seeing a man with his head in his hands yelling at politicians is something we can all relate to at the moment”
If not you are in for a hilarious evening at Oxford Playhouse on Saturday night because these political treats have made Michael Spicer an overnight success and global star, with over 50 million views on YouTube, half a million followers on Twitter, a Chortle Internet Comedy Award 2020 and a new comedy show at BBC Radio 4.
So what prompted such an immediate public response? “People immediately got The Room Next Door guy because people are fed up. And seeing a man with his head in his hands yelling at politicians is something we can all relate to at the moment because it’s what they are doing themselves,” he explains.
“But it has been extraordinary thing that so many people have embraced it.”
All of which has enabled him to go on tour, which must have made rescheduling it due to the pandemic even more annoying?
“Postponing the tour was a huge frustration at first but I’ve used the time to ensure every line and every beat is perfect, or as perfect as I can get it. So therefore if you don’t enjoy the show, then you must be mistaken,” he says.
“This latest lockdown was stressful as it was for everyone, but I’m in a very lucky position in that I can continue writing and creating at home. I did add a new character to illustrate my ten years of anonymity trying to be noticed on social media, but apart from that the show will be how it was intended to be!”
That Michael had been trying to break into comedy for nigh on 20 years with varying degrees of success, makes his current success even more valid.
It wasn’t until he watched Boris Johnson talking about his model buses, made a quick sketch, put it on social media and went to bed that things changed because when he woke up the next day it had gone viral.
Since then, Michael’s fame has been self perpetuating: “When the Prince Andrew interview was on, I woke up and thousands of people had tagged me saying ‘you have to do this.’ It’s got to the point now where I gain traction when people make terrible speeches and I get so many more followers because it’s already trending before I’ve even done anything,” he says incredulously.
And yet all of this is conducted from the safety of Michael’s home. So how does he feel about going out on the road?
“In many ways I was always building up to this. It’s a strange feeling being up there on stage, because I am a total control freak, yet there are so many things that can go wrong. So you are very much putting yourself out there. It’s not my comfort zone put it that way.”
Catch Michael Spicer The Room Next Door on Sat 3 July at Oxford Playhouse. Book at: https://www.oxfordplayhouse.com/whats-on/all-shows/michael-spicer-the-room-next-door/13811