“I basically just talk to myself”

Comedian Joe Lycett talks to about performing everywhere from Birmingham to Bahrain

The British comedian Joe Lycett leads a diverse life, from rehearsing in his Birmingham office to traveling the world in planes, trains and automobiles. While still a student at Manchester University he explains how he “just sort of fell into it [comedy] by accident…I went to watch a thing called the King Don competition in Manchester at a Comedy Store… I got really trashed on Magnus cider….then they asked if anyone in the audience wants to give it a go, and I was like ‘oh I can do better than these chumps’”.

photo courtesy of Ben Lyttelton

photo courtesy of Ben Lyttelton

From here he took off, and in 2008 he was a finalist in the City Life North-West Comedian Of The Year. Then in 2009 he won the Chortle Student Award and was runner-up in the Laughing Horse New Act of the Year.

Following on from his early reception, in 2010 he was named best newcomer in the Chortle Awards, and the following year got his first TV role as a panellist on Alexander Armstrong’s primetime Saturday night BBC 1 show Epic Win.

Joe’s comic inspiration stems a lot from his family and friends but he is “constantly looking for stuff”. The world providing him with all the material he needs, as he jots down moments of inspiration on his phone.

When it comes to script writing his method can “change quite a lot, but currently what I am doing, and it seems to be working quite well…I have an office that I rent in Birmingham and I go into the office and there is no comfortable seating there so I can’t sit down and I just walk around the office…talking out-loud about the things I have written down and seeing if I can expand upon them…so I basically just talk to myself for a bit…that’s the process really, it is a long one but it’s a fun one.”

One of the perks of being a comedian is the travel. Joe tells me, “I did some gigs in Bahrain last year…and I really enjoyed that…you never know where you are going to end up in this job”. In the next few months “I’m going to the Melbourne comedy festival to do my show there…probably go to the Edinburgh festival…a couple of little telly things that are sort of pencilled in, but just carrying on doing live stand-up’ is the plan for the foreseeable future.”

National humour variation is one thing, global is quite another. Joe, however, does not change his script writing a great deal when he travels as “my comedy is quite me…[however, when] I went to Montreal…last year….there were certain things they didn’t get because I was using very British terminology…in Canada they don’t know ‘birds’ is like a term for women, and so I had to change that to chicks…you don’t even realise until you get out there that there are certain references they won’t ever get.”

His dream though would be “to perform in New York, I have never been to America with my stand-ups so I would love to do maybe like a little American tour of some sort…but New York particularly [because]…of the New York Comedy Club.”

Joe is not only interested in comedy, and has other pursuits in the artistic field. “I still really want to do a little graphic design, I used to do that, when I started comedy I had a little graphic design company, freelance basically, making comedy posters most of the time…there are lots of different things I would quite like to do’ including acting and film-making.”

But comedy is the key to his heart, as it is “one of the most fun art forms, because it is so social and immediate”.

Joe Lycett is coming to perform in York, in York City Screen’s Basement on the 10th of February, with tickets available online.

However, if you want to catch Joe before or after his performance I suggest you spend your time in Betty’s, as he proclaims his love for ‘that lovely tea shop… oh I love that place…I love an afternoon tea’. His exclaimed humour nourished by all things quintessentially British.

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