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Buxton's got the Bug... but he's leaving the web of intrigue well alone; He's the cult stand-up whose cyberobsessed stage show Bug has just proved a big hit on the small screen. Here Adam Buxton tells Nathan Bevan about the perils of spending too much time on the internet.

Q You must spend hours trawling the internet for material for the show - have you ever found yourself feeling the wrath of those that deliberately post malicious comments to provoke others, or "trolls" as they call them? AI did once reply to a comment by saying, "Didn't your mother ever tell you that was rude"? And instead of being chastened and immediately responding, "Yes, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that", the guy just went crazy and had this long diatribe of, "You think you're amazing don't you? Well you're nothing", and he kept on for the next few days.

Q How did that make you feel? A It was really quite terrifying - and the same guy set up a whole blog about what an idiot I am.

Q Did the whole experience teach you anything - like not to get involved in online spats with strangers about such hot potatoes as politics, race and religion? A It takes up too much of your time and emotional resources. It's just too easy to get involved in arguments and it's too hard to accurately put across where you're coming from, no matter how many emoticons (smiley face-type icons denoting mood) you use.

Q Still, isn't such webbased wrangling the prefect material for your show Bug? (A long-running stage show recently adapted to television, it chiefly consists of Buxton sharing music videos he's found on YouTube with his audience, along with the often hilarious comments submitted about them by members of the public).

A If you spend any amount of time online, there's so much misunderstanding and miscommunication.

Much of it made me chuckle and I'd make a note of it and read it out to the audience - before long I was demonstrating them with screen-grabs, as people thought I was making it up.

Q Is it hard not to read people's comments when it comes to your own pop videos (the 43-year-old Londoner, best known for cult comedy duo Adam &Joe with Joe Cornish, often makes spoof promos for his own self-penned ditties)? A Yes, and one was really quite harsh and I carried it around with me for ages. Don't know why, it's something I should really get help for.

Q Was the comment really that bad? A Enough to form an important, pivotal part of Bug. It said underneath a video of mine that I'd posted, "Is it only me who objects to this smarmy little greased-up dwarf? For the record, the man cannot act, is not a comedian and plays lousy guitar. His tiny niche is that of commentator, and that's it!' Q That is harsh. How did it make you feel? AI mean, technically it's all true, but to actually have it there baldly stated. Reading it to other people and sharing it with others is my attempt at a sort of catharsis.

Q So is it sometimes difficult to tell if someone posting a comment is being intentionally funny? AThe intentionally genius ones are probably about 10%. It's usually a mixture of people who are being deliberately funny or people who are just naive and I have to try and establish the provenance of the comments and figure out if they were meant to be silly or not. If they're a bit dodgy, I tend not to use them.

Q It seems quite a simple idea for a show, did you know beforehand how well it would translate to the small screen? A Initially, we thought it wouldn't work if I just did it with me standing against a white background. We realised we needed to retain the feel of an audience being there and the sensation of it being a shared experience, even if these videos are commonly seen in quite a solitary way online.

Q Did playing the part of "TV show host" come naturally to you? AMy instinct is to over-complicate stuff. I wanted the set to look like The Adam & Joe Show, totally busy and full of stuff, because that's what my room looks like at home. But my friend Garth Jennings (who directed cult film Son Of Rambow) said it was too much and that we should go the opposite way. He said Bug was already a goofy programme, so we needed to make it look slick and cool. It's something that was really new to me so the whole thing was quite nerve-wracking, but I think it works.

Q Is it true that you aren't a fan of social media generally, such as Twitter? AI admire people who do it and do it well. Comedian Peter Serafinowicz is a good mate of mine and he'll often tweet a stream of very good jokes, one after another as if he's got a team of gag writers sat around at home. And he's got a family to contend with too!

Q As a dad-of-three yourself, does that world all seem a bit too much effort, then? AI find that whole world too exhausting and couldn't do it. I'd rather be commenting on the commentators than be one of them myself.

* Adam Buxton's Bug will headline the Far Out Tent at The Green Man Festival, Glanusk Park, in the Brecon Beacons on Thursday. For more information go to


* Adam Buxton's internet-based show Bug is coming to Wales this week in the Far Out Tent at the Brecon Beacons-based Green Man festival
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 13, 2012
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