Internet dating can be a minefield, as prolific dater and stand-up comic Mark Restuccia knows all too well.
Internet dating can be a minefield, as prolific dater and stand-up comic Mark Restuccia knows all too well. Although his dark, playful wit has been described by critics as being “like Jimmy Carr when he was fresh”, the 38-year-old from Surrey (now based in London) hasn’t had the same romantic success. His latest show, How to Succeed at Internet Dating, is full of tips on how to beat the online addiction and contains all the clever one liners that have gained him acclaim.
Originally a voiceover artist, Restuccia wanted to become a comedian because the he liked the idea of getting paid to horse around and tease a bunch of strangers. Since he began gigging in 2007, he has appeared on BBC3 sketch-show, The Wall and ITV 4’s FHM Stand-Up Hero. Having reached the final of last year’s Radio 2 New Comedy Awards, he’s closer than ever to breaking into the comedy mainstream. Now taking his first hour-long show to Edinburgh Festival, he’s hoping to charm audiences with his unconventional quest the perfect woman.
What motivated you to come up with an internet dating-themed show?
I’d been doing internet dating for ten years and started to develop an addiction to meeting new women (not a sexy sex addiction I may add). I learned a lot about the subject, and gathered a load of amusing stories out of it. I thought it would make a good show for people to learn about what it does to you if you do it too much. It’s not a whole list of dates or any sex stories, it’s more about what Internet dating is like, with a bit of dating advice thrown it, all mixed up with a public information warning of what a massive cookie monster it turns you into. It’s basically a really helpful show.
What has the reception been like for the show so far?
I’ve had some great previews already and it’s all coming together now. I’ve added some interactive bits and bobs to glue it together, so it’s got ‘lecture’ elements. I even learned how to use that Powerpoint thing that grownups use, and I’ve got a red laser pointer and everything which I play with in my spare time to freak my neighbours out.
What are the worst dates you’ve been on?
I’ve been spat at by a white wine witch who ended up screaming at me in the middle of Soho because I wouldn’t go back to hers and sleep with her. I’ve also been woken up in the middle of the night by a girl who thought I was Robbie Williams and blamed me for the Take That split, thus chucking me out of her house in the middle of the night.
The most awkward dating scenario I’ve ever had was when I was waiting for a girl in a country pub and there were a group of pregnant ladies having some sort of baby shower in one corner. A girl walked through the front door, which was near where I was sitting, and started looking around. I looked down and saw what I thought was a pregnancy bump and then said ‘Oh, excuse me. They’re all over there.’ I gestured to the pregnant ladies. She wasn’t pregnant it turned out. She also turned out to be my date.
How are you feeling about doing the Edinburgh Festival this year?
I’m excited, but also it’s a bit scary. It’s my first hour, so it’s a milestone. I’m going up with the attitude of just enjoying it and ignoring the comedy bubble around me. I’ve got a good room, a good time, an excellent Production company and PR, so I just have to get on with it and not booze as much as I usually do in Edinburgh.
You’ve been compared to Jimmy Carr with your one liners. Do you think this is accurate?
I think that’s because I tend to write a lot of one liners, and that’s how I started. My set’s very joke heavy as opposed to story based. It’s only because if I don’t get a laugh every 30 seconds, I panic. It’s like a security blanket. Unfortunately not a blanket that keeps you warm all the time. That’s quite a good analogy, right?
How did it feel to be one of six finalists for the Radio 2 New Comedy Awards? Has it given you more confidence and recognition as a comedian?
I’m very proud of myself for getting into that final. Whether or not it’s done anything for me, time will tell. I’m pretty rubbish in finals though, so it probably hindered me if anything. But my names on the finalist list forever now, so that’s all very splendid.
Now that stand-up comedy has so much mass appeal (with DVDs, sell-out shows etc.), do you feel pressure to dumb yourself down to appeal to as many people as possible?
Yeah, definitely. I think you’re made aware that if you go all out with filth then there’s only so far you can go these days. There are a few exceptions of course. Anyway, I don’t do anything dark or filthy. My show’s purposely clean and doesn’t contain anything about sex. I’m a good boy like that – ideal for being introduced to parents. Not Dads though, they always hate me for some reason.
What is the one thing you really want to achieve as a comedian?
Obviously I’d love to play one of the big venues and get my little boat race on TV and anyone that does comedy and says they don’t want that is a big fat gypsy liar. Lots of cash would be good as well please.
How to Succeed at Internet Dating is showing at the Edinburgh Fringe 2012 from August 1st to 27th at Gilded Balloon At Third Door from 9:30pm-10:30pm. Ticket prices are £5 to £10.50. For more information visit, www.markrestuccia.com or follow him on Twitter at @markrestuccia.