CB: How long have you been writing and performing comedy?
JL: I’ve been doing Stand Up for almost 3 years, and for a while before that I used to write terrible stand up routines and perform them alone in my room – you know – like cool people do.
CB: How would you describe your comedy?
JL: I’m a musical comedian but I started in straight stand up, so it’s jokes and stories punctuated with songs.
CB: Which comedians influence your comedy?
JL: My favourite contemporary comedian is Tim Key. I try and see him a few times a year in the hope some of his funniness will rub off on me. He doesn’t care for the rubbing; I have to go in disguise now.
CB: Did you always want to go into comedy?
JL: From the age of about 16. I never really thought I would though; it was more a fantasy. When I finished Uni I decided I was definitely going to give it a go, it then took me two years to build up the courage.
CB: How do you go about writing your material?
JL: I used to jot down every thought for a joke in notebooks, then I would get depressed reading back pages and pages of awful ideas with the occasional good one. So now I just think about ideas for jokes all the time and trust that my brain will filter the crap and hang on to the good ones, if it’s still in my mind after a day or so, then I write it down and try it live.
CB: Do you write and perform comedy full time or is it more of a part-time hobby? If so, do you find that your main job influences your material?
JL: I have a day job giving school tours of a waste and recycling center. It’s technically called Education Officer, but ostensibly it’s Tip Tour Guide. It’s a great job and it’s public speaking, which helps with the stand up. Children are honest critics. If they’re bored then they say, “I’m bored!” – so you always know exactly how entertaining you’re being.
CB: What do you find the most enjoyable and frustrating parts of the comedy circuit?
JL: The most enjoyable part is the people on the circuit, the majority of whom are interesting, funny, and great to hang out with. The least enjoyable part is those other people on the circuit.
CB: What’s your favourite type of audience to perform to?
JL: I haven’t decided yet, and I think it changes depending on my mood. Something I really enjoy in comedy is the challenge of adapting to an audience. One night a rowdy drunk mob, the next a group of quiet, respectful comedy-nerds. Ideally I’d like the ratio between the two quite nerd heavy, I’m a comedy-nerd so I can empathise with them.
CB: Have you been heckled a lot since you’ve started performing comedy? Do you enjoy being heckled? What’s the best heckle you’ve had?
JL: I’ve had the odd occasion. If it’s done right I don’t really mind it, but people who shout out incoherent drunk nonsense just before a punch line can all die without me mourning them.
The best heckle (in terms of successfully knocking me off my stride) was a guy in Leicester, who walked out during my show. I asked him: “Are you leaving or going to the bar?”
“Bar” he said.
“Oh that’s good, I thought you were leaving” I replied, feeling relieved. Then – with me lulled into a false sense of security – he added:
“I’m not nearly drunk enough to find any of this funny!”
Well played sir…. Well played.
CB: What advice would you give to new acts thinking of starting out in comedy?
JL: Get as much stage time as you can, experiment with different styles and approaches as much as possible, and be nice to everyone. Also, go and watch live comedy whenever you can. Nothing inspires you to write more than watching an amazing show.