Farewell Tim: Kate Saffin hears from a sketch show that has grief at the heart of it



Farewell Tim is a sketch show at Pleasance from Cambridge comedy duo The Good News which has loss and grief at the heart of it. Not an obvious choice for a sketch show perhaps but Sam and Charlie who created and perform it highlight that there can be laugher amidst tears.

What was your starting point for Farewell Tim? Where did it all start?

We originally just wanted to write a sketch show with a narrative, but soon we became really interested in taking a mundane, everyman character and writing an entire show about his fictional life. Every sketch is meant to be a memory, meaningful and ridiculous in equal measure.

Did you mean to write about grief?

Not really. We only meant to celebrate the life of a friend… who just happened to be dead.

What do you feel it says about death and loss and grieving? 

We wanted to prove that you can have fun whilst grieving. Without being too sentimental, laughter is an integral part of dealing with loss. The show creates a really strong link between loss and memory, but ultimately it is more of a celebration than a lament.

And what has it meant to you, in personal terms? Has developing the show changed your perspectives?

The posthumous hero of our sketch show is fictional. So to be honest it hasn’t affected us much. What’s been more interesting for us is creating a character and then killing him off every night. Luckily, our ‘Tim’ is resurrected again and again and again.

I’m interested in the ‘the distortion of Tim and their relationships with him’ that you refer to – how our memories of someone we have lost get muddled and confused and change. Could you give me some examples of how this happens in the show?

Obviously we can’t give away spoilers, but it becomes clear that the way we both remember Tim is drastically different. That puts the friendship under a lot of pressure and leads to some obvious competition between the two surviving chums.

What reactions have you had from audiences?

We’ve had a really positive response from both Cambridge and Edinburgh audiences. We think they definitely enjoyed the comedy, but we also hope they enjoyed the narrative and general theme of friendship as well.

And what next? For this show and for your comedy writing and performing?

Sam will be slogging away in his last year at university, while Charlie relishes the reality of “funemployment”. But we will be back again with more gigs and shows, and hopefully we’ll return to the fringe with another absolute banger!