Interview: (No) Money In The Bank

Posted: by The Editor

(no) money in the bank logo

Here at the Alt, we love writing about music — as of today, there are 240 pages in the “music” section of the site alone — but we’re also fascinated by what happens when music inspires other art forms. Such is the case for (No) Money in the Bank, the U.K.-based comedy duo of Thom Bee and Andrew Marsh, who use pop punk and emo music as fuel for their various exploits, including a mock talk show where they grapple with the concept of aging out of (or maybe back into) the angsty tunes of their youth, and live performances that meld comedy with musical performances. “Why pop punk?” asked Thom rhetorically in one recorded show. “The world’s on fucking fire and it makes me happy!” 

Thom and I hopped on a video call to talk a bit about the story behind the formation of (No) Money in the Bank, the DIY ethos that powers the duo’s comedic adventures, the struggles of navigating the performance world with a disability, and the delight of performing with The Alt’s “Tell Me About Your Band” interview alum Chef de Party. It was refreshing and inspirational to hear how the scrappy and communal nature of being a band can carry over into other artistic zones — even if you don’t play an instrument, you can bring band-style energy and resourcefulness into whatever are you make. On with the interview…

What is (No) Money In The Bank?

We’re an alternative comedy duo, me and Andrew Marsh. We’ve done various things over the years, usually a combination of him doing weirdo character comedy and me trying to react to that. We did a show called Nobody Likes You When You’re 33 — that was a fake pop punk-themed talk show in the vein of Chris Gethard. We kind of ripped off Chris Gethard, but hey, we don’t have him over here. That show had bands and sketches and our friends collaborating. We do a bit of everything — we just enable mayhem.

Ah, listen, I’m 33, so I get it. The pain is real. So what about the pop-punk-emo sphere inspires you?

Me and Andrew always joke that we’re a band that don’t play instruments. We’re very much about building a little DIY spirit. We don’t really do the comedy circuit over here, we just build our own nights and put our friends on in different cities, just because we can — we can bring a little entourage of weirdos with us. So we always wanted that to reflect into a talk show kind of thing, and then when we started that, someone came up with “nobody likes you when you’re 33” and we were like, it has to be a pop punk theme now. But pop punk is the reason we’re friends. We both did comedy, and we didn’t really interact with each other very much, but we liked each others’ stuff. And he invited me to do his night Apple Shampoo, which is a Blink-182 reference. So I jumped at it. And then the Wonder Years were on as house music, and we were like, ah, The Wonder Years. It was really special for us because we never met comedians who had the same interests as us: pop punk, emo, professional wrestling. And we’ve been best friends ever since and never looked back.

I feel like there’s something about that type of music in particular can create a very strong bond.

Yeah, it’s for when you’re going through it. We were originally going to go to Edinburgh [Festival Fringe] with a show which was just two of us separately doing material. I would do standup and he would do his character called Balthazar Dark. We realized he needed a straight man to bounce off him and contextualize him, so it became a double act. I don’t want to work any other way. Comedy is lonely. It’s a lot of dying, to nobody, and traveling back five hours with the tenner you’ve just been paid. If you have your best mate along for the ride to hype you up when you’ve both done well and pick you up when you’ve both bombed, it’s so much better for my mental health.

You’ve hacked the system in a way. I’m not a comedian, but I imagine if you feel like a show hasn’t gone well, it’d be a little better if someone was there to be like, “It wasn’t so bad!”

And nowadays, we just try and provide that to everybody. In the middle of us starting to do this [show], my leg stopped working, so suddenly we needed a driver to facilitate what we were doing. And we’ve collected a lot of very talented comedians like Dan [Powell], who drives us, and Kyle [Bedder], who does all of our video and is also a talented comedian. It’s nice to give it to other people as well.

So you did Edinburgh already. Are you trying to go back?

Oh no, it’s very expensive.

Ah, I can imagine.

We’ve done Ed twice. You get to do your thing for 28 days in a row and it’s a wonderful time, but over the years it’s become more and more saturated and more and more expensive. I mean, accommodations alone, I know someone who paid £1,000 —and then you’ve also got registration fees and venue fees. And from the perspective of a disabled performer, I don’t know if you’ve been to Ed, but it’s a city built by ableists. It’s all cobblestones, all uphill, all stairs, not a single even surface. To go to Fringe and for it to be accessible, it’s a lot of extra money on the line. So what we’re trying to do now is, we’re currently previewing our solo shows, because we’re directing each other’s solo shows – Mine is a show called Psychocinematic, about having BPD and reflecting on that through horror films. and Andrew’s Show is Wrestling With Saddos. They’re a lot of fun.

You recently played on the same bill as Chef De Party [Sheffield, England-based musical “restaurant”]. I love what they are doing — what was it like to play on a bill with them?

Oh, so good. Callum from Chef is a good friend of ours. Ever since the pandemic,  Callum is who I’ll send a message at 3am on Discord, like, I’ve had this stupid idea, is it possible? And within seconds he’ll go, oh yeah, you can turn a disposable vape into a flute. Like oh sick, thank you. So we were very happy to have them on. For Nobody Likes You When You’re 33, we had a gimmick where we had Callum on, pretending to be a member of this fictional pop punk band called February Heat Wave, and then we had Chef do a 30 minute set at the end.

The first time we had Chef on was at Valhalla of Decadence, which is an alternative comedy showcase. It’s just always such a joy, and he won’t mind me saying this: they’ve . We once had a comedian on the Valhalla show say, “This is great, I just got to do a twenty minute set about whatever the hell I wanted, and now I get to sit down and listen to 20 minutes of stoner rock.”

(No) Money In The Bank has their Linktree here, and you can get tickets to their upcoming solo shows in Sheffield herePlus, the aforementioned Kyle Bedder and Dan Powell are at Edinburgh Fringe with their split show August 16 – 20.

Molly O’Brien | @missmollymary

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