Comedians Durk & Ski Chat to LeftLion Ahead of Their Show at Nonsuch Studios

Interview: George White
Monday 18 September 2023
reading time: min, words

The TikTok stars behind Terreh and the Nosy Neighbour talk comedy on social media, their live tour and the joy of Notts humour...

Durk And Ski

A lot of your humour is built on observations and references within British culture, combined with elements of absurdism. How do you go about finding a balance in your comedy?
That's generally the vibe we go for - where we have one foot in reality and then we push it as far as it can go. Of course, it always depends on what video we’re putting together. I think, as a duo, we alternate between me being the one wanting to push things and Ski wanting to hold back, and vice versa.
Ski: Yeah, there are some skits like the McDonald's advert parodies which are completely absurd. In those moments, we think to ourselves, ‘This might turn out to be a bit shit... Let's just go for it and see what happens.’ And that one turned out really well. 

But then there are some, like the countryside ones, where we try to get more of a balance. So we try to make them in a way that we could imagine someone flipping through TV channels and thinking it might be reality - until something absurd happens.
Durk: Knowing when to stop is largely just a case of using your intuition, I think. And with us being a duo, both of us have to agree that we like an idea for it to proceed. If one of us doesn't find it funny, then we can just can it.

Your content is unlike anything else out there - it feels genuinely unique in a very saturated market. How do you make sure that’s the case?
Durk: On that idea of originality, we know that so many people nowadays are posting comedy videos. So we’ve got to offer something that only us two could do. It's got to be something where other random TikToks aren’t covering the same idea. We always take pride in the fact that, when we look on Instagram and Tiktok, literally no one ever uses or adapts our content. Sure, that might just be because we're not popular… but it also hopefully shows that we’re doing something different. It’s like a badge of honour.

What’s interesting is that you just don’t know how a video is going to go down. It’s always interesting to see which ones get picked up and do well, and which ones bomb

You’ve obviously established several different characters and skit types over the past few years. Which are your favourites to do?
Durk: I like the ones that we do sporadically, the one-offs like the McDonald’s advert, the ‘emotional’ ones, because obviously they're the skits that we spend the most time putting together; we dedicate quite a bit of time to writing, prepping, filming. Often, I feel that when those go well, they really cut through the noise and connect with a lot of people - and they then go back and watch them again. 

I also like doing the ones that are a bit more riff-based - so the countryside ones, for example, where I'm the presenter and then Ski’s the expert, because I think we know those characters so well. They're almost second nature, so it’s always fun taking on those roles again.
Ski: It’s great when you picture a skit in your head and it goes exactly as you’d imagine. We filmed some recently where Durk’s playing the nosy neighbour, and he did it exactly right - when that happens, it’s a joy. 

What’s interesting, though, is you just don’t know how a video is going to go down. It’s always interesting to see which ones get picked up and do well, and which ones bomb.
Durk: I think that’s the thing with predominantly being a ‘social media comedian’ - you do second-guess yourself a lot. Sometimes you’ll put stuff out there that you think is really good, and it just doesn’t seem to connect with people.

But obviously there are so many different variables that will make a video successful, like when you posted it out, whether it gets an extra boost from the algorithm and all that stuff. So you sometimes have to play the game to get through the noise. I feel like the platforms demand that you spell out what you're doing in the first few seconds, which means some jokes that work best when they play out a bit longer just don’t pan out on those short-form platforms. 

So that's why it's been fun with the live shows to be able to do some more stuff where you’ve got more room to breathe, and you don't have to explain what's going on. You can treat the audience with respect and have a little fun. 

Growing up and going to uni in places like Derby and Nottingham, they’re cultural hubs - but often they’re places that will be missed on this kind of tour

With that in mind, what can audiences expect when they stop by Nonsuch Studios?
: A focus on our characters, a lot of energy, and a combination of those two. That’s what a lot of people connect with in terms of our best-performing videos; it’s not just about one of us saying something, but it’s about the other one reacting to it - so we've put a lot of that in the live show, where it's a lot of back and forth between us. We like leaning into our chemistry as a duo, if we have any…
Ski: I've never been on stage before this tour, apart from a couple of live shows we did recently. Durk has done in a different context, as a stand-up, but together we're going up there with no expectations at all, because even we don’t know what to expect - but we’re excited to just throw ourselves in at the deep end and see what happens. 

Those live shows were a really interesting experience, because we did one in Manchester and one in London - and some skits got a lot bigger laughs in Manchester than they did in London, and vice versa. So it all depends on reading the room and getting a feel for the audience. But generally speaking, we were just were buzzing after the gigs because our humour did translate from screen to stage, and we got a really positive response from the crowds.

What I will say is that we've got a lot of new stuff in the shows, as well as a lot of the greatest hits - but they're all new skits. We've got some of our favourite formats in there, but fresh sketches based around them all. So there's something there for everyone.

Finally, what made you want to come to Nottingham as part of the tour?
I’m a local lad. I’m from Derby and went to uni in Notts, so it’s close to my heart. I think we were keen with the tour to basically visit as many places that we know our fans are at. Obviously we can connect with our fans through our Instagram and Tiktok and find out where they are, and we based the tour around where people generally said they wanted us to come.

Growing up and going to uni in places like Derby and Nottingham, they’re cultural hubs - but often they’re places that will be missed on this kind of tour. So I was really keen to make sure that we did an East Midlands gig, so I could practise what I preach in terms of going to the places where I would have loved to have seen someone that I was interested in when I lived there.

And for me, personally, I'm really keen to promote funniness from that area, from Derby and Nottingham, because they have a collective sense of humour. You often hear about the northern sense of humour, or classic comedians from London and all that stuff. But some of the funniest people I know, and know of, are my mates and actors and comedians from this area. It’s something we don't really celebrate as much as we should, so I'm keen to do that. 

We also do some specific bits in the show that are based around the area, so definitely expect some Nottingham-based observational comedy…

Durk and Ski are coming to Nonsuch Studios on Saturday 7 October

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