Comedian Josh Widdicombe live @ The Glee Club, Oxford + interview

Josh Widdicombe

Comedian Josh Widdicombe (Live at the Apollo; Stand Up for the Week; 2011 Edinburgh Comedy Award Nominee) performs at The Glee Club in Oxford, England on April 15th

Show: Josh Widdicombe - Spring Tour
Date: Sunday 15 April 2012
Doors: 7.00pm
Venue: The Glee Club, 3 Hythe Bridge Street, Oxford, OX1 2EW
Box Office: 0871 472 0400
Admission: £10 (£6 NUS)

Josh Widdicombe interview
By Dave Freak

Just four years on from his stand up debut and rising star Josh Widdicombe has already performed in some of the UK's biggest venues.

"I have almost forgotten," he smiles. "I did eight nights at the Hammersmith Apollo and most acts can't even do one night there!"

While Josh certainly has the comedy chops to make it, his appearances at these mighty halls and large theatres were as chosen support act to such household names as Alan Carr, Kevin Bridges and Stephen Merchant.

"Playing big nights with those people you learn a lot - I've really improved as a comic. When you go back to a smaller room now, it's far less stressful. I remember the first time I played The Glee Club and I thought it was so stressful - 'how am I going to do this in front of an audience that big?' But now I've supported Alan and Stephen, suddenly appearing at The Glee is easy.

"After the tour with Stephen I thought 'wow! I've really come on ... before I was rubbish!'"

While Alan and Kevin are stand up veterans, Stephen's debut tour came in the wake of extensive TV sitcom work. But finding himself the more experienced of the two, Josh never presumed to offer the co-creator of The Office, Extras and Life's Too Short any tips.

"I wouldn't be so arrogant to give him advise, he was such an excellent stand up," cries Josh, clearly shocked by the suggestion. "I don't think some people knew what to expect, but Stephen was brilliant. He did stand up before he did The Office, so he's not completely fresh, but he's also not an old hand either, but it was exciting for him. It was a real big success, it had great reviews."

Despite bonding, the chances of seeing Josh in the next Merchant/ Gervais project are slim.

"I'm not that good an actor. Acting is not a strong part of my arsenal" Josh confesses, adding, "I enjoy panel shows, although they are stressful. With stand up you are in control, but with TV panel shows, you have to be confident, get your bit said. If you ever go quiet, you disappear. Doing panel shows is like starting to do stand up all over again - you get more confident as you do more."

Josh's biggest confidence builder has been as part of the cast of Channel 4's topical comedy series Stand Up for the Week, alongside Jon Richardson, Rich Hall and Seann Walsh.

"There is pressure," reports Josh of the series, which returns soon. "When you turn over that amount of material every week, the pressure is massive, but it's like when you're at university and you have to do an essay over night, it does become a lot easier the more you do it. Coming out of that experience, I found writing this show much easier. So I'm looking forwarding to doing it again."

Moving from Dartmoor, Devon, to Manchester for university, Josh eventually tried his hand at stand up in 2008 while doing odd jobs.

"I worked in Waterstones, and worked at the Guardian, on the sport bit on their website. I was freelance doing two shifts a week and then doing stand up for the rest of the week ... and wishing I could do stand up all the time and leave work. Which is what eventually happened."

Quickly establishing a relaxed and effortless style, Josh picked up a raft of comedy awards and nominations in 2010, including FHM's Stand Up Hero, with critics comparing him to legendary US comic, Jerry Seinfeld.

"I'll take it!" he laughs of the comparison. "I'll settle for that now. It's always best to be compared to the best, although I have a long way to go on that one - Seinfeld is an unreachable target. I really liked Seinfeld before I started out, and watched loads of him [on DVD]. But I try to watch a lot of different stand ups as if you spend a week just watching Dylan Moran DVDs, you do pick up his rhythms and begin to sound like him - so I think I must have picked up some Seinfeld somewhere along the way.

"He's good. He has a more laid back approach. I certainly would never say I was like him though... although maybe people should come to both shows and make their own comparisons," he laughs, referring to the American's forthcoming UK appearances.

Josh's debut UK tour, which already includes a string of sell-out performances, is titled simply Spring Tour 2012.

"I don't go for overtly specific titles as you can get trapped by a title. My title ties me to nothing. In Edinburgh [at the Fringe Festival], people do big complex shows around big themes, but I just like to do an hour and a bit of stand up, not big theme shows, nothing specific. I'm certainly doing stuff on Devon, but also relationships. It's a whole range of stuff. The joining factor is that I'm uncomfortable with all of it. I'm not very good at life."

Show: Josh Widdicombe - Spring Tour
Date: Sunday 15 April 2012
Doors: 7.00pm
Venue: The Glee Club, 3 Hythe Bridge Street, Oxford, OX1 2EW
Box Office: 0871 472 0400
Admission: £10 (£6 NUS)

Josh Widdicombe Official Website

The Glee Club Oxford Official Website

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