Tuesday, September 25

Interview: Jon Richardson

- November 13, 2017


Jon Richardson discusses fatherhood, Twitter-stalking and shingles ahead of taking his new show Old Man to Brighton Dome.

The stand-up Jon Richardson is chatting from a rather unusual location. He reveals that, “I’m currently in the Aldi car park in Clevedon.”

Who said that the life of a comedian isn’t non-stop glamour?

Still, Jon admits that being on a nationwide tour in places such as Clevedon with his new show, Old Man, is a blessed relief from his full-on domestic life. He is a very proud new father – but things have been understandably frantic at home.

Jon laughs that, “Gigs have become very cathartic for me, as things are so hectic at home. Gigs are now the equivalent of going to the pub or the cinema!

“Our baby is only two months old, so it’s obviously the perfect time for me to be leaving home for several weeks! It has to be said, I’m not terribly popular at home. But I’m assuming that by the time I get back home, my daughter will be toilet-trained, capable of dressing herself and able to drive!”

One of Jon’s main worries is that his daughter will grow up resembling him. “What I’m dreading is raising her to be like me. If I hear her saying, ‘I can’t eat that chip because it’s touched those baked beans’, I’ll know she got too much of me in her!”

Our baby is only two months old, so it’s obviously the perfect time for me to be leaving home for several weeks!

Jon doesn’t want his observations about the impact his new baby daughter has had on his life to put people off. The comic, who has put out two live successful stand-up DVDs, Funny Magnet in 2012 and Nidiot in 2014, both of which are released through Universal Pictures (UK), says that, “I’m determined not to talk about my baby in a way that’s alienating.

“But it’s been such a big change in my life that I can’t not talk about it. It’s also nice to have something new to stress about. I can really get my teeth into this stress!”

Jon, who is as warm and witty in person as he is on stage, is still appealingly humble about his role as a stand-up. “I can’t believe I get to do this job! As I get older, I’ve got more and more to talk about and I have more and more confidence.

“I love the privilege of looking back on my life every three years, turning it into a comedy show and sharing it with an audience. It’s incredibly cathartic. It’s a way of converting the difficult elements of life into comedy. None of us know what’s going on at the moment, so to be able to laugh at it in unity for two hours is absolutely great.”

Since last touring the country, Jon has watched on as the UK voted to leave the EU and witnessed the inexorable rise of Donald Trump to the US Presidency. All of this prompts one key question: Why does it seem that no one else alive can correctly load a dishwasher?

As well as this pressing matter, Jon will be ranging over an array of other comic topics, including stress, a constant theme in his dazzling act. “I got shingles on the day of the EU referendum. It’s good to see that my stress has got worse as I’ve got older and that now there is a physical element to it!”

Another amusing element of Old Man is that Jon uses Twitter to interact with his audience. The comic, whose bestselling book It’s Not Me, It’s You, was published by HarperCollins in 2012, recollects that, “Recently, I talked to a man in the audience, and he was shocked because I knew where he had been that morning, what football team he supported, and what his wife’s name was. It’s a good about-turn. That’s the joy of Twitter.”

Jon adds, “That man had messaged me earlier, but people don’t always realise that when you Tweet, you’re building a public record of yourself. It’s nice to have all that free material. It means I can spend more time with my daughter and just take the mickey out of someone in the audience!”

The stand-up reflects on how much he adores the experience of live comedy. “It’s such a buzz. The instant reaction you get from the audience is such a privilege.

“Each show is a very honest portrayal of how I’m feeling that night. It can go off in any direction. The show is different every night, and that makes it much more exciting. Every evening is unique.”

But, much as he loves touring, Jon reveals, “I’ll have a break over the summer. People would rather be out in the sun than inside listening to a whingeing moron!”

And when the Old Man tour finally comes to an end, Jon discloses what he will do next. “I’ll be back at home, concentrating once again on being a dad and a pernickety husband!”

Jon Richardson: Old Man is at Brighton Dome on 12 Dec. For tickets visit brightondome.org or call 01273 709709.

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