To find me curled up with a cup of tea watching ‘Mock the Week’ is not an uncommon occurrence when I’m home. Bad day at school? Take your mind off it with some comedy. Done well in a test? Well you deserve to watch some funny people saying funny things. Want to learn about politics but you’re finding it a tad dull? Watch Mock the Week.
It was there I first encountered Rhys James.
I instantly loved the way he created jokes and his entire persona on the show. Therefore, it came as no shock that when offered the opportunity to interview him I said yes.
His upcoming show ‘Snitch’ was inspired by the world around him. When I asked him what his favourite part of the job as a stand-up comic was, his response was ‘variety’. Doing the writing, the panel show and, of course, the actual stand-up. Yet after all his years one the comedy circuit Rhys James still said he finds performance a little bit scary, but mostly exciting. It’s especially terrifying when trying out new jokes for the first time. As someone who’s only seen him before on the BBC, as a hilarious guest on a panel show, I was momentarily baffled to how someone be so humorous time and time again, yet still be afraid they’ll die on stage.
James’ first comedy show was whilst he was still at school. It was an open mic night and on the mixed bill, interspersed between emotions bands was the name ‘Rhys James’. in our twenty minute or so chat he fondly recalled that first time. His advice to upcoming comics was to not worry about sucking. According to James, you have to suck for a bit until you get good. Though he did also make the point that aspiring comics should just stop now, because the less amount of competition would make his job just a little bit easier.
I’ve always wondered if comics like watching comedy. You wouldn’t expect a surgeon to come home and then watch 24 hours in A & E, so the idea that a comedian would watch someone else stand-up for pleasure was a question I wanted answered. Maybe they’ll watch an hour of stand-up as a learning tool to see how they build a joke. Like how a doctor may watch a surgery video to see a knack to suturing. Rhys James did have a chuckle when I explained all this to him and then Kindly answered my question. According to James, he does analyse comedy a lot when he watches it, though American stand-up such as Dave Chapel is harder to completely understand. Furthermore, Rhys James cited one of my favourite comics James Caster as one of the comics he can really switch off and enjoy when watching, as he doesn’t see Caster’s process for jokes.
All in all, James Rhys is a lovely person to chat to on the phone and extremely funny. I felt as though I was privy to a private little stand-up routing whilst talking to him, so I highly anticipate seeing him perform in Brighton on the 21st of November.