In comedy there are certain wise men you meet on your journey that are priceless to talk with because they possess the glow of knowledge you hope to gain when you one day pass from warrior to wise man.
Tommy Sheppard owns The Stand comedy club in Edinburgh which is the heart and soul of Scottish comedy. It is as perfect of a comedy club to start in as the Cavern club in Liverpool was for the Beatles to start in.
Since opening the Stand in Edinburgh he has branched out and opened satellite rooms of The Stand in Glasgow and Newcastle. He is reputed to be an honest fair man in a business where sticking it to a comedian by undercutting his cash is often one of the occupational hazards. Comedians speak of him with respect and his employees show their loyalty by working for him for years. I was happy to meet Tommy and make friends with him this past month while I was doing the Fringe Festival.
Before going into the comedy world by opening his room in the 1990s he was a full time organizer with the British Labor party. After the Labor party decided to go in another direction ideologically he left politics and with his redundancy payment he put a down payment on The Stand comedy club.
This moment in human history is very exciting because next week Scotland has the vote to decide if they want to be an independent country away from the United Kingdom. After thousands of years of bloodshed and dying for this very concept, Scotland has the chance to do it now in a peaceful manner, without ever even firing one bullet.
Tommy Sheppard is an ardent and vocal supporter of Scottish independence and the person I sought out to explain it all to me and why breaking away from England would be the best option for his fellow countrymen.
In tis conversation I quiz him on comedy, the Fringe festival and all things Scotland but the most valuable insight of all is his knowledge on this turning point in Scottish history where the dreams of ancestors long dead and forgotten will finally be realized next week on election day.
It is my pleasure to present to you now, the one and only Tommy Sheppard.
Intro song: Cutting Room (Hot Pants) – Oceanliners
Audio Cameo: Graham Brophy from Glasgow, Scotland
End song: Bob Dylan – Highlands (live version Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, Santa Cruz, CA, 16 Mar 2000)
Recorded at The Stand Comedy Club – Edinburgh August 2014
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