Comedian Garrett Millerick has been proudly and persistently second place in his generation’s new act of the year awards, and comes to Edinburgh with an hour at Underbelly called A Selection of Things I’ve Said To Taxi Drivers. Although he repeatedly made it clear to our editor Robert James Peacock the show is not just about taxis – it’s just a title – the transport-mad Peacock would not give up. He had his questions and he was damn sure he was gonna ask them. And so we got an interview that went something like this…
“Station, please” is usually the sum total of my taxi chat. Maybe a “keep the change” if I like the cut of their jib. I take it your taxi repartee is more involved that that?
For me, I can’t waste an opportunity to talk to someone who legally can’t ignore me by looking at their phone, I spend quite a bit of time hanging out with my dog. He’s a good listener, but pretty poor as a conversationalist, so I quite like talking to strangers.
Unlike the naval gazing and screaming so common on social media and message boards, a taxi might just be the last place to enjoy an interesting conversation with a total stranger.
What do taxi drivers offer by way of conversation that, say, a good friend can’t?
The benefit is that you’re both trapped – neither of you can leave if things get too interesting. And if you fall out on a point of principle, it’s unlikely to have a long standing impact.
What’s a good topic to get the taxi chat flowing?
‘Hello, have you had a good day/evening?’ It’s a fairly classic ice breaker. Generally, I find it’s best not to launch into anything too forthright off the bat. Ease yourself in; most taxis tend to be driven by human beings, so it’s best to observe traditional social norms.
How do you stop a taxi driver talking at you about what they’ve read in the (not resorting to any lazy stereotypes at all) Daily Mail?
Ah, I never want to silence someone because they don’t read the same newspaper as me!
Sometimes it’s more fun to hear opposing opinion – talking to people who think exactly the same as you isn’t always much of a conversation – sometimes it’s just flapping your head about. If someone comes from a different viewpoint than you, I always think it’s a good idea to listen to what they think and to work out why they think like that.
Isn’t taxi a rather extravagant mode of transport? You can have some very interesting conversations with strangers on a nightbus too, with that added edge of danger. What I’m saying is, do you think you can get the same vibe on a budget?
No. And that’s a good thing. It’s a question of value. Unless you have brought your own with you – it’s fairly unusual to encounter drunks in a taxi.
Is this a good point to mention that my show isn’t all about taxi drivers? Sometimes it’s an excuse to extrapolate a topic. Hopefully anyone expecting an hour of taxi related material won’t be disappointed… [The Wee Review rips up tickets]
What do you reckon to Edinburgh taxi drivers? Do they give good chat?
Hmmm … some do and some don’t … but really the title is kind of a joke about the show’s lack of theme. I hope no one gets the impression that the show is only about transport. There is one joke about the underground …
But to answer the question properly… Edinburgh taxi drivers are great. I would suggest that everyone take one to see my show, and hope they won’t get annoyed at the large chunks that have nothing to do with taxis. Hopefully they’ll enjoy it as it’s a selection of things I’ve said to taxi drivers.