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Interviews

Josh Widdicombe Interview



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Now in its fourth year, the Machynlleth Comedy Festival brings some of the finest stand-up acts from the UK to the Mid Wales town of Machynlleth during the first weekend of May which this year includes Stewart Lee, Richard Herring and Sarah Millican.

Alongside the names above will be comedian Josh Widdicombe who has come to prominence as a regular panellist on TV and Radio with appearances on Live at the Apollo (BBC One), 8 Out Of 10 Cats (Channel 4) and Fighting Talk (BBC 5 live).

Josh will play two gigs at Machynlleth – his current show, The Further Adventures of…, and a work-in-progress show.

You're currently touring the UK with your latest show, The Further Adventures of… - any interesting stories from life on the road?

Well, I am pretty sure I have been to every service station M&S on the British Isles so would a discussion of their relative pros and cons be interesting? No? Ok, then I have no interesting stories, sorry.

It’s going to be a long weekend of comedy at Machynlleth. Do you have any festival tips for us?

Last year there was a pizza vendor that was brilliant, go there. But get there early as I seem to remember they ran out of mushrooms.

When did you realise you wanted to become a stand-up comedian?

I'm still not entirely sure about it.

When and where was your first gig as a stand-up comedian?

It was in January 2008 in the first round of the Laughing Horse New Act of the Year competition. I got through!

What's the worst gig you've ever played?

I once lasted six minutes in a gig at a farming college. It was a ten hour round trip.

Which comedians have influenced you the most?

I try and watch as many different people as possible, I think if you are too heavily influenced by a particular act you can end up sounding too much like them.

How competitive is the world of stand-up?

Comedians are genuinely the nicest workmates I have ever had. And I have had a lot of jobs.

Do you enjoy sparring with other comedians on TV panel shows?

I try not to see it as sparring. These things are never really as frantic as maybe they seem on TV.

Is performing stand-up comedy a lonely profession?

I am currently writing these answers on the train to Cambridge on a Sunday evening. So, yes.

Do you worry about being funny?

Not till you asked me this. Now I do.

When was the last time you heard a joke and thought 'I wish I’d thought of that'?

I am currently writing a new show so I get it with almost every joke I hear.

Are there any subjects or themes you avoid when writing jokes for a show?

Falconry and The Suez Crisis. Not because they are offensive, more because people just don't seem that interested.

Away from comedy, you have a radio show on XFM on Saturday mornings. How's that going?

Very well thank you, doing radio is a nice break from stand up.

Do you work from play list or do you just play a lot of music from your iPod?

I work from a play list but have a say in some tracks, the best ones.

You wrote for Guardian Sports Online before turning your hand to comedy - after such an incredible year for sport last year, what are you looking forward to this year?

The Ashes, though I also approach them with trepidation.

You're thirty next month - do you have big plans for your birthday?

I have a day off!

The Machynlleth Comedy Festival takes places in several venues across Machynlleth from May 3rd – 5th. Josh Widdicombe will play two shows Machynlleth on May 5th at Y Plas – a work-in-progress show at 3pm and his current show, The Further Adventures Of…, at 9pm. Josh will also be performing The Further Adventures Of… at Wyeside Arts Centre, Builth Wells on April 20th, The Glee Club Cardiff on April 25th and Swansea Grand Theatre on May 11th.

Michael Took was asking the questions.