Here is a potted history of what I have done in comedy.
I’ll skip over the first 25 years of my life (Lego, Italia 90, Britpop, Euro 96, listening to The Smiths, working in Waterstones etc) and go straight to January 2008 when I did my first stand up gig in Earls Court at the Laughing Horse New Act of the Year competition. I did ok (for a beginner) and eventually fell, heartbroken at the semi-final stage (pain of Italia 90 and Euro 96 repeated). I then spent another couple of years bumbling around the open mic circuit until in February 2010 I won the Leicester Mercury New Comedian of the Year, an award that to this day I argue is more prestigious than it sounds (I also won the FHM Stand Up Hero competition in the same year, although I have never argued that this was more prestigious than it sounds). That summer I also appeared in the legendary new act showcase/graveyard The Comedy Zone at Edinburgh Festival where each year four new acts are shouted at by drunk people in a venue that has an open bar throughout the show, it is all a learning curve I suppose.
In 2011 I did my first solo show in Edinburgh ‘If This Show Saves One Life…’ and was nominated for the Fosters Best Newcomer award, something I am still quite pleased about. I think it was a good show for a first attempt and still think the title is quite funny (thank you to Roisin Conaty for help with that). I also got to separately support two of the nicest and funniest men in comedy on tour, Alan Carr and Stephen Merchant, I owe both of them far more than I will ever repay for that. Around this time I started appearing on things like 8 Out of 10 Cats, Mock The Week, Stand Up for the Week and other panel shows, which I was and still am very grateful for, it allowed me to sell out a little tour and begin my love affair with motorway service stations.
The following year I took another show to a slightly bigger venue at the Edinburgh Festival (‘The Further Adventures Of…’) and then on a tour of slightly bigger venues than the previous year. At this point it might be nice to give a shout out to my brilliant support on these tours Suzi Ruffell who I should thank for all the driving she kindly offered to do. Then for the 2012 Paralympics I agreed to do a late night show that I presumed no one would watch with two guys I barely knew, it was called The Last Leg. It actually went much better than I imagined. We then got to do an end of year special of the show which had Jamie Oliver and someone sat in a very high chair as guests, it was all very surreal
In 2013 we got a proper Friday night series of the Last Leg on Channel 4 (increasingly surreal), something at the time of writing that we still have. People seem to still like it so we will hopefully keep making it for the foreseeable future. I also got my own show on Saturday mornings on XFM, which was the dream of being paid to hang out with my friends, still the most fun I have ever had in a job. Other than that in 2013 I wrote a third show called ‘Incidentally…’ (A title so unmemorable that I just had to look it up on google as I couldn’t remember it) and took it to Edinburgh and on tour (slightly bigger venues again). Most excitingly I got to record my own stand up DVD ‘And Another Thing…’, which didn’t trouble the top of the Christmas DVD charts. 2013 ended on a hugely sad note as my brilliant manager Addison Cresswell, the founder of Off The Kerb, passed away, he was the most exciting, entertaining and generous man I have ever met and is such a loss.
2014 was more Last Leg, XFM, touring and various other things (watching a brilliant World Cup) but most excitingly I got given a sitcom pilot for the BBC. Somehow we convinced Jack Dee to be in it and David Schneider to direct it and somehow people liked it and the BBC gave it a series which we filmed at the end of the year. I was also made the host of Radio 5 Live’s Fighting Talk, a show I have listened to for years and a show I am hopeful that I am yet to ruin. The highlight of this year however was winning Celebrity Pointless with Sara Pascoe, in fact that was the highlight of my life.
In 2015 I embarked on my fourth tour (I have found people are always “embarking” on tours, it is an excellent word) ‘What Do I Do Now…’, I am pretty sure it is my best show and the venues are slightly bigger than last time so my luck has yet to run out. I was also a contestant on the first series of Taskmaster on Dave which was a brilliant fun show to be involved in and ended up with me getting my first and last tattoo. Finally, as I write, my sitcom ‘Josh’ will be coming out on BBC3 in three days time…