Tom Scott describes himself as ‘geek comedian, semi-professional pirate.’ He has worked on more projects than you could possibly imagine and you will have indeed stumbled across many of them. Each project has the Tom Scott watermark, fusing a blend of esoteric humour, satire, parody, politics and downright geekery. He brought us Stupid Fight (a web game where a person can pit celebrities against each other to see whose fans are dumber), Real World Racer (a Google Maps racing game) and What’s Osama Bin Watchin’?
Tom is part of a video podcast called Technical Difficulties, winner of the 2008 Kevin Greening Award for Creativity and a 2009 Bronze for Best Entertainment at the SRAs. I managed to grab five minutes with Tom to ask him a few questions for this week’s interview.
Who is Tom Scott and how did he come to be a ‘geek comedian, semi-professional pirate?’
I have no idea how I got here. I took whatever chances happened to come my way, and this is the result. There’s never been a great plan!
You have worked on a lot of projects to date, what has been your favourite and why?
I couldn’t pick. Some have been complete pains to work on but resulted in wonderful things; others were a joy for me to play about with but ultimately didn’t go anywhere.
Where do you find inspiration for your work? Is it difficult to come up with new ideas?
Generally through talking to people. My brain fires best during conversations!
You have collaborated with many people in the past on projects. Could you share your views on collaboration? And is London a good place to be a geek?
No (because I’m not sure what my views are and can’t think of a way to express them), and yes (because there’s so much going on).
If you could share just one status update with the world what would you say?
“Look, I know you’re very busy, but this is important and I only have 140 characters to say it in, so listen. Whatever you do, never, ever tu”
Finally, some people have a book that has had a profound impact on them, rewiring their brian or changing their outlook. Does one stand out for you and if so what is it?
I wouldn’t say I’ve had my brain rewired by any book, but “How We Decide” by Jonah Lehrer has certainly helped me understand how my brain’s currently wired!
Featured Project: Two Drums and a Cymbal Fall off a Cliff
“Two Drums and a Cymbal Fall off a Cliff – b’doom, tssh”. That’s the joke: but does it really give you that rimshot sting you hear in comedy? We investigate.
Thanks Tom for taking the time to answer my questions, I’m looking forward to whatever you have in store for us next.
If you have any suggestions for a person in the series just let me know by pinging me on Twitter.