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essence comedy

Compulsion for comedy F

Jon Richardson, stand-up comedian and self-confessed perfectionist, talks about his new tour, Nidiot (appearing at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking in October), how much he enjoys being on the road and taking risks in the pursuit of happiness...

ans of comedian Jon Richardson – and there are millions out there – can breathe a sigh of relief.

He has no intention of giving up stand-up comedy – ever. In the run-up to his latest tour, ‘Nidiot’,

Jon reassures: “I’ll be doing stand-up for the rest of my life. The opportunities it grants can’t be denied. Stand-up is both the hardest thing I do and the thing I enjoy most. There is no fooling anyone with edits or six people around you – it’s the purest possible art-form.”

Jon, who has built up a huge and loyal

live following, continues: “I’m very proud of being a comedian and having got to the point where people will come out to see me. They remind me that I’m good at it. Paranoia can set in the day after a show. But you’re never closer to the moment of remembering you’re funny than when you’re on stage making hundreds of people laugh. “At that second, there’s no argument about it. There is no discussion about the Top 100 comedians. As soon as I come off stage, I’ll tell myself that other comedians are better. But, at that moment, the focus is so pure, it’s wonderful. Hearing people laugh is infectious. It makes you feel so good.” Jon adds: “I’m obsessed with keeping

things tidy. So, when I’m focused on the job in hand on stage, it’s a blessed relief from folding towels in the dressing room!” The comedian, who last year presented

his own Channel 4 documentary, Jon Richardson: A Little Bit OCD, reckons that for him nothing beats the experience of touring. “I love being on tour. The question I always struggle with is, ‘What don’t you like


about touring?’ I love it all – the hotels, the new towns, the restaurants, finding things to do during the day of a show. I love all that.” The great news is, we will now be able to

enjoy Jon’s tour as much as he does. He is hitting the road and visiting all four corners of the UK this spring with ‘Nidiot’. He is a naturally funny stand-up, who enjoys a terrific relationship with his audiences. Others think so too. The Mirror has described him as: “Developing into a highly sophisticated comedian who is by turns hilarious and disturbing, and under no circumstances should you miss him.” Chortle pronounces that he is: “So good, he actually bends time.” Meanwhile, Time Out declares he is: “Sublimely brilliant, stunning. He is a comic right on the verge of greatness. If you haven’t seen him yet, get your finger out and sort it.” Unwinding in his agent’s office before the

tour kicks off, Jon is a contagiously amusing man. To use the technical term, he has funny bones. His comedy stays so fresh because he is

always thinking up new routines. Jon, a very popular team captain on Channel 4’s comic panel show, 8 Out of 10 Cats, reflects that: “I itch to do new material all the time. Even when I’m on tour, I’m writing stuff for the next tour. I live near a comedy club and I’m always trying out new material there. “It’s such a buzz when you say something

you’ve never said before and it gets a huge laugh in the club. If you then go on to say it on Live at the Apollo, three million people laugh. You think: ‘That came out of the reaction to something I said in front of 40 people in a pub on a Monday night!’” Jon, who has also hosted Channel 4’s

topical comedy show, Stand Up for the Week, has always had a marvellous rapport with his fans, which is just one reason why his live shows are so electric. He enthuses: “I meet a lot of people at

the stage door. They always say they’re as weird as I am! Meeting me is a cathartic process for them. People want to know it’s OK to think some of the things I’ve thought. They say to me, ‘My husband has this compulsion’, and I think, ‘That seems really sensible – I might start doing that myself!’” “It’s so gratifying they have made a special effort to come out and laugh at my show. There is no way they could have turned up by accident!” Jon, who has also starred alongside

fellow 8 out of 10 Cats’ captain Sean Lock in the Channel 4 series Hillbilly Holiday, goes on to explain the title of the new show. “It's designed to confuse radio DJs,” deadpans the comedian, who has previously been known for his pessimistic demeanour. “A ‘nidiot’ is something different from an idiot. An idiot is someone whose problems are caused by not concentrating enough. A ‘nidiot’ is someone who makes his life more complicated by thinking too much rather than not enough. I’m not an idiot, but I’m definitely a ‘nidiot’!” Jon, whose second live DVD will be

released in November, proceeds to reveal that the show majors on the idea of how a perennial singleton and misanthrope is determined to turn into a more easygoing person for the sake of his friends and his future health. He urges people to come and see if the leopard can change his spots – or whether he is doomed to be eternally furious about the fact that he was not born with a more symmetrical fur pattern.

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