Comedy Blogedy: How long have you been gigging in stand-up?
James Rankin: I started gigging around 14 months ago. I had the thought of gigging a lot earlier but never thought I’d muster the nerve to get up. So I just started writing and writing and told myself if I got a solid 5 minutes I’d do it.
Comedy Blogedy: How would you describe your comedy?
James Rankin: I think it’s dry. Observational, very sarcastic with a twist off frustrated ranting.
Comedy Blogedy: Which comedians influence your comedy?
James Rankin: It was probably watching Emo Philips and also Rowan Atkinson’s one man sketches that made me really want to get into comedy, really want to be funny. Once I was doing comedy I guess the likes of Ricky Gervais for the witty and a huge influence from Bill Hicks. A man who spoke the truth and was a real rant comic.
Comedy Blogedy: Did you always want to go into comedy?
James Rankin: I’ve always been a dreamer and I always wanted to get into something creative. Through the years being funny just seemed like the thing I couldn’t get away from. Once I knew I may be able to do it as a profession, that’s all I wanted to do.
Comedy Blogedy: How do you go about writing your material?
James Rankin: My material is seen in the every day life. My mind seems to think with a lot of “what if” situations, “what if something ridiculous happened like this”? Usually while I’m bored doing the mundane at work, weird thoughts will come to me. I jot them down straight away and then keep hashing them over in my head.
Comedy Blogedy: Do you gig as a stand-up full time or is it more of a part-time hobby? If so, do you find that your main job influences your material?
James Rankin: After doing a couple of shows I realized I wanted to take this very serious. It was never going to be a hobby. It’s addictive and can be bitter sweet. I gig as much as I possibly can. Work? Well, the hours of work can sometimes make it hard to get to gigs etc. I know I should watch more performers. I guess the other influence work has is that it can limit how much energy I have left for writing or stretching my imagination.
Comedy Blogedy: What do you find the most enjoyable and frustrating parts of the amateur comedy circuit?
James Rankin: I find the most frustrating part is the sheer amount of comedians out there vying for the limelight. Being on the same bill as 20 other performers makes it hard to get noticed. Also the over amount of comedy nights where there just isn’t the audience to fill it. The positives are the opportunities to get yourself on stage as much as possible if you put yourself out there. Also because all amateur comics are pretty much struggling with the same things as you are, there is a good sense of community.
Comedy Blogedy: What’s your favourite type of audience to perform to?
James Rankin: A large one! Usually a room James Rankin: I’m terrified of brings the best out of me. Playing to an audience of other comedians and their friends just doesn’t cut it and is a real downside. As far as a demographic goes, I haven’t really one. I guess I still fire loosely in all directions
Comedy Blogedy: Have you been heckled a lot since you’ve started gigging? Do you enjoy being heckled? What’s the best heckle you’ve had?
James Rankin: I haven’t been heckled that much. Most audience members are quite respectful. I think at the top end, paying quite a door fee to get in, then you’ll get your hecklers. Hecklers can really take away from your rhythm so that’s annoying. However if you shoot one down right, the crowd will love you.
Comedy Blogedy: What advice would you give to new acts thinking about starting out in comedy?
James Rankin: If you have the balls to get up then do it. It takes a lot to go from making your mates laugh because they get you, to trying to convince a whole room of strangers that your point of view is quite funny. Believe in yourself.
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