1. So Jed, you’ve been around a bit. Tell me about your journey as a stand up?
‘Your journey’ makes it sound so much more exciting than it is. My friend and I weren’t very pretty and we weren’t very smart so genuinely the only way to impress girls at the time was to be funny. We found out we were good at the being funny but not so much at attracting the ladies, so with a plot of pressure we thought we’d do stand up. So we did a comedy course in 2009 during the Hull Comedy Festival, performed, loved it and then I did about a gig a month for about 3 years because I had no real comedy education.
I didn’t know the how to get gigs, etiquette or anything like that, I kinda just dived in. I Finally left uni and got a “real” job and realised that nothing makes me happier than Stand Up so I pulled my finger out. I’m now gigging 3 times a week across the country , hold residencies at a couple of comedy nights and I’m now also director of the Hull Comedy Festival. Christ, maybe it has been a bit of a journey.
2. I had the pleasure of meeting you at a couple of gigs while I was on the circuit 5 years ago… what has made you continue?
I honestly ask myself that a lot, on a sad day I’d say I’ve given it 8 years of my life, would it be fair to quit now that I’m starting to go places with it? Plus if I quit what else do I have? I’m Jed the comedian, without comedy I’m just Jed and who’s he? And non existential days I’d say I bloody love it. Performing, the people you meet, the opportunities it’s given me. I’ve become a real slave to comedy, the TV I watch, the books I read, my social life. It’s all comedy.
3. What’s been your biggest challenge as a comedian?
I think as a person it’s being on a different life rota to your friends and family. You miss a lot of things. “Hey it’s my birthday this weekend do you wanna come out?” ”I can’t I’m in Leeds gigging”. Stuff like that is tough. I think the hardest thing for me is the transition from comedian back to normal life. This isn’t my full time career yet, so I can go from performing in front of hundreds of people back to my retail job, that’s a come down.
4. Comedians are a strange bunch..Why?
I don’t know if we are. I started when I was an immature 19 year old prick and I’ve kinda done a lot of growing up with comedy, comedians have mentored me through that. I don’t think we are, I assume in the same way a clown at the circus doesn’t think the other clowns are weird. I think if I had to guess it’d be the fact we try and find the funny in everything. No matter the drama, the happiness, the tragedy that falls before me I’m always there thinking “hmmmm can I get five minutes out of this? Where’s the punchline?”.
5. What’s the worst experience you have encountered on stage?
Haha so I’ve had some pretty bad things happen. I’ve been punched, I’ve been booed off, I’ve been sexually assaulted on stage…. twice. A man once got so bored during one of my sets pulled his pants down, tucked his tail between his legs and showed the audience his mangina, then turned around to reveal what he referred to as “the bulldog”. But the worst thing I can do on stage is do okay. I can deal with bombing and not doing well, I’ve had enough gigs to know I’m not a bad comedian, but if I do okay my mind plays the devil, average Is not something I want to settle for.
6. What is the best experience you have had in stage?
I’ve won a couple of competitions, travelling the land a fair bit, I’ve worked with a lot of charities raising funds, but for me, I did a gig this year to raise funds for my Aunt, who sadly had terminal cancer. My Aunt was brilliant and one of the few family members that supported me early on and came to gigs when I was new, learning my craft and a little bit shit to be fair . So putting on the gig and loading it with great comedians, raising money for her and the fact that a lot of family came to that gig and it kinda legitimised what I do on stage and that I am comedian in their eyes. Talking to my Aunt after she told me I have a gift and I should stick with it as I’m good at it and life is too short not to be doing what makes you happy, as sentimental and maybe as cliche that sound, stuff like that sticks with me and motivates a lot more than a pay cheque.
Pay cheques are great too and I am available for bookings.
7. Where do you get your ideas from for jokes?
Oh this is easy, my Mum is comedy gold. Just the way she lives and behaves. If I’m ever stuck for material I’ll just follow her with a note pad. Other than that I’m a keen people watcher. Talking about yourself, others it’s all relatable and if people can relate and you make it funny then you’re on to a winning formula.
8. Are gong shows still worth it?
Ooooh I’ve not done one in absolute years. I used to love Mr. Ben’s gong show in Leeds. It’s where I met most of my comedy mates. But I think there’s pros and cons to them. Pros; it teaches comedians to tighten their material, good way of meeting other comedians, usually well attended, you have to be funny or you’re off. Cons; they can be damaging to acts confidence, a lot of time there’s not that much progression, they don’t really add much to your comedy C.V… I say do them, they helped me develop more than they hindered me. But my friend would say otherwise. It’s finding what works for you.
9. Who on the circuit is making waves at the min?
There’s so many. I mean look at acts Like Jack Gleadow, he’s basically like glitter at the moment and by that I mean he’s sparkly and absolutely everywhere, working and grinding and it’s paying off for him, awards left right and centre. Alternative acts like The Kagools, The Delightful Sausage and The Not So Late Show have been reassuring favourites of mine. Stand up wise there’s people like Scott Bennett, Steff Todd, Callum Oakley, Josh Pugh, Dawn Rigby, Jim Bayes and Ross Brierley. I literally could give you a list as long my arm of outstanding acts. Now to be geographically biased, any act coming out of Hull at the moment are worth their weight in gold. We’ve spent the last 5 years cultivating a scene and now the acts are travelling far and wide it is really showing they’ve honed their game first. Acts like Andy Woolston, Rich Austin, Steve Rimmer, Nicky Wilkinson, Amy Gledhill, David Smith, Kelli Taylor, Billy Lowther, Lois Mill, Graham Musk and I’ll be honest the list just goes on and on and on.
10. What coming up next got you Jed ?
The Hull Comedy Festival has just finished so for me it’s back to normal gigging. Hull’s first comedy club opens this weekend and I have the privilege to be hosting it’s first Saturday night, my regular duties as one of Cottingham Comedy Club’s resident comperes on the 6th with Tony Burgess headlining and I’m part of the Hull’s Homeless Support Stand Up Project, a great night of comedy which the profits help go fund a local homeless charity. Tickets can be found at www.Hullboxoffice.co.uk