Renowned comedian Jason Cook will take to the stage on 16th October at the Pavilion Theatre as part of the Brighton Comedy Festival. The Badger was lucky enough to talk to Jason about fame, honesty and the intimate connection between his stand up and family life.
Hi Jason, tell me something about your background.
I’m Geordie, married, one child, I live in Manchester now and my family live up north in Newcastle still – well my mum and my sister, my dad passed away about four years ago.
How did you comedy career start?
I used to work on oil tankers in engine rooms, I was the funny bloke in the pub, and my mate said you should do some stand up as seeing as he was doing stand up at the time. He said you should write some comed,y so I gave it a go and I really enjoyed it.
You have received incredible reviews, you were told you have ‘more funny in your middle toe than most comedians have in their entire body’.
Yeah, that’s was a nice one. This year’s show was one of the Top 25 reviews in Edinburgh Festival. I went to Edinburgh Festival for the first time in 2007 which was my first solo show. This is my fifth show that I’m bringing to the Brighton festival. The 2007 show went really well. I toured that one around the world. I did the 2008 show, toured that one around the world and I have followed that pattern ever since.
What do you aim to do for the audience when you’re performing?
I try and give them something more than just a gag. There’s always a bit of a story. This story telling is all about the things that make us happy; it definitely leaves a big smile on peoples faces.
You are renowned for being honest about your shortcomings.What do you consider some of these to be?
Oh god, I’ve got loads. My little girl wondered off in the shopping centre and I couldn’t find her and I’m paranoid so I thought she was kidnapped. I’ve got so many – I’m neurotic, I’m a mess, I can’t stop doing jokes which is pretty bad for my missus. She once counted that there was three days that I didn’t say a word that wasn’t a joke taking the piss out of her.
Do you think taking the piss is something quintessentially British?
I think what I do is specifically North Eastern. It’s how we cope with the bad stuff in life, just to make fun of it – you’ve always got to have a joke about anything. When my dad had a stroke near Christmas, for a present that year I got him three copies of the Strokes album and that’s how we deal with it. He had a lazy eye and couldn’t move his arm, so my mother bought him Phantom of the Opera on DVD, the cover has a guy with a mask on, that’s how you cope, isn’t it?
Whats specifically hard about the North East?
I think it’s because it’s depressing up there. It had industry at one point but that all closed, there’s a lot unemployment, its freezing, it rains all the time. I once heard comedy does best where the people are sad, that’s why I ran a comedy club in Sunderland for quite a while. You are told that you take the audience on a profound emotional journey. I talk about happiness and sadness, the stuff I’m mentioning in this years show is about when my dad died and he was on his death bed. You would think there couldn’t be anything funny in it, but there’s loads of funny stuff it, there always is in life.
Who is your inspiration as a comedian?
My dad was the funniest guy I’ve known. He was great at story telling.
Why exactly should people come and see your show?
It’s got 5 star reviews, every show for 5 years has had 5 star reviews. And you’ll feel something, I guarantee you’ll feel happy when you leave.
Any plans for the future?
I’ve got a sitcom on the go for the BBC which I’m doing the script for at the minute.
Finally,whats the best joke you’ve heard recently?
There’s a comic called Gary Delaney , he’s got the best joke I’ve ever heard, which is, ‘I filled the escort with diesel. She died.’