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York comedian James Christopher shows how stand-up works
11:00am Friday 3rd August 2012 in Comedy
YORK comedian James Christopher is on a mission to expose the inner workings of the stand-up scene in his 2012 Edinburgh Fringe show.
“Bring Me The Head Of Russell Kane combines the titles of the previous two Foster’s Fringe Awards winners – Bring Me The Head Of Adam Riches in 2011 and Russell Kane – Smokescreens & Castles in 2010 – to create something doubly funny, but admittedly much less successful,” says James.
His one-hour show will run at Venue 156, the Banshee Labyrinth Chamber Room, in Niddry Street, from tomorrow until August 25 at 5.30pm, except Wednesdays.
“Live comedy is now huge business. Its leading stars tour arenas and stadiums, release smash-hit DVDs and star in primetime TV shows to millions of viewers. However, some of comedy’s biggest stars such as Michael McIntyre and John Bishop worked in anonymity for years and amassed huge debts before finding success,” James says.
“I’m a comic from York who’s worked the northern England stand-up circuit for seven years. This will be my third solo Edinburgh show, and in previous festivals, I’ve frequently distributed flyers for hours, often to perform to mere handfuls of people. That can mean only one thing: I’m on the brink of superstardom.”
In preparation for this inevitability, bespectacled comedy nerd James takes a look at various comedians and styles in his new show, even offering his unlikely take on edgy comedy.
A lifelong comedy fan with a day job as a graphic designer in advertising, James first performed stand-up in 2005 and went on to establish the Black Comedy @ The Black Swan, Comedy Gold @ The Golden Fleece and Bar 1331 Comedy club nights in York before focusing on his own comedy career.
Explaining the inspiration for his latest Fringe show, he says: “My fascination with comedy inspired me to pay my respects to the acts who have helped elevate stand-up as an art form. And my background in advertising reminded me that it’s better to steal ideas which have already proved popular.”
Expect one-liners, anecdotes, props and flipcharts – “I’m a Free Fringe Dave Gorman,” he jokes – from a cheeky chappie with bags of jokes and jokes in bags.
James will be photographing and tweeting his audience and awarding a daily [un]official Foster’s Best Audience Member. “So if you’re a comedy fan – or a comedian – come and be part of an event that will delight and annoy you long after the show has finished,” he says. “And if you’re a reviewer and you don’t come, then you are merely a cog in the corporate machine that is crushing comedy.”
As well as his free solo show, James will be hosting Yorkshire Comedy Cabaret IV: Comedians, Born & Interbred, again from tomorrow until August 25, except Wednesdays.
“Now in our fourth year, we’ve been given a prestigious primetime evening slot at 7.30pm in the huge, 360-capacity Venue 56, Base on Cowgate,” he says. “We got great audiences in the same venue last year in an earlier time slot, so we’re delighted to be returning.”
Guests for these one-hour shows will include comedy magician David Alnwick, musical mirth makers Jollyboat and York burlesque act Trixie Passion, plus other stars of the comedy and burlesque scene.
“Both shows I’m doing this year are on the award-winning PBH Free Fringe, the revolutionary organisation that gives free venues to performers and free shows to crowds,” says James. “Rather than charging for tickets, there’s a voluntary collection after each performance.”