Q&A with Paul Sinha

Paul Sinha, stand-up comedian and star of ITV’s The Chase, answers questions from

Image courtesy of Paul Sinha

Image courtesy of Paul Sinha

I’m a doctor, a quizzer and a stand-up comedian. My favourite is definitely comedian. I’m a former doctor and that is third on my list. Stand-up’s what I’ve always loved doing: it’s a dream. I realise that the way television runs I can’t be a professional quizzer forever, but hopefully I can be a stand-up comic forever.

The comedian I most admire is a bloke called Daniel Kitson. He doesn’t do telly, he does solo shows around the country and he is what’s known as a comedian’s comedian. He chose his own path and he’s brilliantly funny.

My inspiration comes from seeing someone who’s really, really good. When you see someone who’s really good you just go ‘work harder Paul, work harder, you want to be as good as this guy’. I don’t look at comedians and think I desperately want to be them but just that I desperately want to be as good as them.

I’ve had some terrible gigs. I think all comedians have. I’ve had ones where I’ve been threatened with violence, one that ended in a mass brawl, I mean I’ve been there and I’ve done it. It happens. You have to play on your toes and never assume that you’ve mastered what is actually quite a difficult job.

I’m best known for The Chase rather than stand-up comedy. It’s because of telly. Telly, telly telly. Telly trumps everything. We get about 3-3.5 million viewers for The Chase on ITV and thats more than I get doing anything else, that’s the way it is.

I’m never tempted to let people win. Never. I’m desperate to win all the time, no matter how nice the contestants are. But there’s a weird paradox that we have; if we just keep winning and never lose people will be bored with watching us. We want to be seen to be good – that’s the quizzer’s ego.

Why do I know so much? Because I’m part of the competitive quizzing world and in addition to that I study. By studying I mean I sit in bed and go on Wikipedia and I look stuff up and try to learn lists of stuff. It’s important to keep up on things. TV programmes become well-known just like that and if you blink you miss it.

My study tip for students is that you’ve got to make things interesting in your head. Give yourself a reason to remember that fact. The most important thing is to give your brain a reason to know something. As a medical student a lot of it was simply words, so you’d end up using silly pneumonics to try to hold it all together.

I loved my university experience. I went to St George’s Hospital Medical School in Tooting, South West London, and actually it’s the same medical school that Harry Hill went to. I had an amazing, if slightly alcoholic time.

Coming up with new material is very hard. Especially when the comedies are about life stories and funny incidents – you don’t want to run out of those. It’s anecdotal comedy that I do and it’s about my life, but when you spend most of your life in bed reading Wikipedia, those unusual incidents don’t happen nearly as often.

I’m hugely looking forward to performing in York. I’ve performed in York loads of times and I’ve always really liked it. The venue’s fantastic and I’ve always enjoyed the crowds in York.

Paul Sinha’s tour, ‘Paul Sinha is a Stand-Up Comedian’, will be coming York’s City Screen Picturehouse on 26th January.

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