A guide to grouching, with Jon Richardson

Tuesday, November 17 2009

BBC 6Music DJ Jon Richardson this week brings his Edinburgh Comedy Award-nominated show, This Guy At Night, to Soho Theatre. LiF spoke to Jon and found that, yes, he's a bit of a grumpy sod, but he's got some answers up his sleeve as well...

Pick your battles
"Things like Afghanistan and BNP – I do care about them, and we are constantly updated on them, but you can't really influence them, you can't deal with everything, so why not start with the small things. Pick your battles. And that's where a lot of stand-up comes from.

"I have some bits in the show about this, deliberately tackling why I don't deal with bigger issues in my comedy. And the difficulty with big issues is: they're complicated. That's why they're big issues! Comedy is often about eliminating viewpoints and saying 'it's like this', and when I've done environmental material in the past I've ended up in a debate because people are able to react and post comments and so on. I just think, is it worth it for a ten-second gag?"

Relationships exacerbate grumpiness
"Being in relationship makes you milk problems for more than worth. Sitting down at the dinner table and listening to your partner sound off about what annoyed them today isn't really helping them cope with something, it's allowing them to prolong something they shouldn't."

Don't stress about your reputation, even if it's a bit inaccurate
"The 'grumpy' thing is something I can't really get away from but I've made rod for own back really, I can't complain.

"I think it's not so much being grumpy as taking life seriously – and that's more of a theme in This Guy At Night. I'm accepting of human failure, but I can't help but pick up on mistakes and irritations. I hope that with the little things I talk about, even if people don't understand the irritation, they'll understand the compulsion behind why it irritates me."

Live somewhere that suits you, even if it's a shithole
"I used to live in Bristol with Russell Howard, Mark Oliver and John Robins. John is still there and he's near his family and friends and the city's great but it's too distracting. There is always a pub to go to in the evenings and things to do, it's a life I'd like but not for another 20 years.

"I know nobody in Swindon, it's kind of why I live there, I need that focus on my comedy. Sometimes I raise my eyebrows to the girl at reception in my gym. I work six nights a week so I don't want to do anything but lock the door, shut the curtains, maybe have a drink, watch a film and go to bed. I'm only an hour from London too... it's pretty ruthless!"

Taking control of your life is incredibly liberating
"When I got into comedy, it was the biggest decision of my life. The expectation was to go to grammar school, get some A-levels, go to uni, get a job. My decision was to turn my back on that, say this isn't for me, while all my mates stayed at uni.

"Once you've done that, you realise no decision is irreversible. Life is surprisingly easy once you've got used to making decisions – and you can take pleasure in making mistakes as you learn from it."

If you've been lucky, don't be a dick, give a bit back
I have an inherent guilt in that I probably wouldn't have my 6Music show if I hadn't originally started it with Russell [Howard]. I feel a lot of comics looking at me and saying, I could do that. So it's my obligation to get stand-ups into the show that I think should be more well known, and give them that chance.

"It's really loose so it can really kicks off sometimes. Will Smith came in and he was going to a dinner party that evening with his in-laws, and they were going to be playing Risk. So we asked listeners for tips on how to beat your father-in-law at Risk, it really kicked off and that's a really good showcase."

This Guy At Night runs from November 19-21 and 26-28 at 9.45pm, call 020 7478 0100 for tickets. For his full London gig list click here.


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