Eric Balfour on good and bad humour, success and twitter

When I interviewed Eric Balfour for BLAG Vol.3 Nø 1, we discussed everything from love to nervousness and all sorts in between. Here, I've lifted a few of my favourite parts to share with you. Firstly, humour because there's good and bad and it's interesting to discover how powerful it can be in both cases. Then, there's the encouragement of success – which is one of my favourite answers: straight-up, honest and so black and white it makes you get it so much. And lastly, a little social networking talk with therapy session results. Enjoy...

Interview by Sally A. Edwards

Photography by Sarah J. Edwards

Shot on location at Dean Street Townhouse, London

What do you consider the best type of humour and why?

“I find my favourite type of humour is really off-colour humour. I love Sarah Silverman for this reason, I love the guys from Little Britain for this reason. I love people who are unafraid to say... there’s nothing off limits. You know Sacha Baron Cohen does an amazing job of this, he takes issues and so subversively makes a very specific political statement about something or a social statement, but he does it through comedy. It’s so intelligent that sometimes you’re almost offended, because you think he’s being serious until you realise he’s trying to make a fucking point. One of the greatest ones was in the Borat film when he was in a bar in the South and he got all those people to sing that song, ‘In My Country There Is A Problem’. It was such a parody, they’re all like, ‘Oh, we’re supposed to sing along. So we’ll sing along,’ but these people didn’t ever for one minute consider what they were saying. They just did it because that was what everyone else was doing and I love how he would be able to make this point and show this type of ignorance, but do it in a way that was funny and witty and not a rant.”

What’s the worst kind of humour?

“The worst type of humour in my opinion is mean spirited humour that intentionally looks to attack or emotionally harm somebody and is used at one person’s expense to make other people laugh. I never liked it when... you know I think everyone should be granted beingness and I think it’s a tough one because some people can take it. You know if you’re in a room with say, Brad Pitt, I think you can probably bust Brad Pitt’s balls. He’s got a lot of confidence and can take it, but I think sometimes, when you’re making fun of somebody whose forced into the public eye or even just sitting in a comedy club... It’s a very tricky thing, not everybody has thick skin. I never usually laugh when a room full of people are laughing at somebody. I never laughed when somebody fell, you know in the street or tripped, I never really laughed, unless it was my friend and I knew he would find it funny, but I never liked people who laughed at strangers. It’s just mean.”

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Now, I wanted to speak to you about encouragement of success. Is that still a done thing in the US? Or is that just a myth?

“Meaning do people encourage success here in the US?”

Yes.

“Absolutely. I do believe there are good people; I believe that people are inherently good. I do believe that. I always try when someone does something wrong to me or bad to me, to see [whether] it was caused by fear or pain and not because of maliciousness. So I do believe that people encourage success – yes, there are negative people in the world and you have to be aware of them and you have to watch out for them – but I think the more energy we put into flowing power to other people, the more that encourages that in that person and encourages them to flow power back to you.

"It’s the aberration of a group. If you think about a neighbourhood... Let’s say you’re walking down the street, it’s a really shitty, dirty neighbourhood and you’ve got a piece of trash. You look around and there’s trash all over the street, it looks all disgusting and you’re just like, ‘Uh, I’ll just throw my piece of trash on the ground with all the other pieces of trash,’ but when you’re walking down a really pristine street and it’s clean and well kept. All of a sudden when you’re about to throw that piece of trash on the street you’re like, ‘Oh... maybe I’ll find a trash can and put this in there,’ and it becomes the aberration of the group. You know, when people are honest and forthright and positive, it encourages that in other people. When people are shitty and backstabbing, it just allows and breathes more of that, so I think it’s why it’s so important for all of us to keep our ethics and integrity intact.”

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So is there anything else you’d like to add?

“Just that I really wish people would be nicer to me on Twitter.” [laughs]

What? Who?

“I don’t know, I probably should learn not to like, read shit about me on Twitter, but man... Just remember, if you’re going to talk shit about me on Twitter, I read that shit and so does my Mother! If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” [laughs]

No, I agree with that.

“Oh man, some of the shit, that I read that people say about me, I’m like, ‘Wow! I’m going to go crawl in a hole and never come out.’ You know I’m going to have to learn to be thicker skinned.”

It’s difficult to be like that though, because if you give a shit, it’s really hard to have thick skin.

“Hi. [high pitched] Awkward!” [laughing]

No. You’re getting it off your chest. It’s fine.

“This is actually, this really isn’t an interview. It’s almost like a therapy session. Do I owe you for the hour? It’s actually one of my favourite quotes; I have this fucking awesome quote... I have to find it... because I want to get it right. This is literally one of my favourite quotes, ‘After listening to his story I felt sympathy for the Devil, but I still billed him for the full hour.’”

You can read the full interview in the print edition here

Please do not screen grab any content from this post including quotes and photographs without permission from BLAG. Thank you.