Scottish comedian Danny Bhoy’s wit and storytelling knack have caused laughter from Montreal to Sydney. VICKY LEWIS posed some questions
YOUR first experiences of stand-up were from going to gigs at the Edinburgh Festival. Did you know straight away that comedy was for you?
I had a rough idea even before I went that I wanted to get into comedy somehow, but I never dreamed one day I’d be doing an hour on stage in my own show. I think seeing other comedians do it live made me appreciate the skill involved.
Which comedians inspired you to get up and have a go yourself?
I’d say Billy Connolly. He was the first person I ever saw do stand-up, on TV as a kid. We used to get a video every Christmas, back in the old days before DVDs, and I just remember it was so nice to be able to sit down as a family and watch one thing that everyone would find funny.
Speaking of your family, you were quoted once as saying your parents are “the most humourless couple you’ll ever meet”. Is this true? If so, where did you get your sense of humour from?
It’s not true at all, he says after being berated by his mother. She was very upset with me for saying that! No, it’s not true.
Your new show is called Wanderlust. What is the significance of the title?
Wanderlust is a German term meaning “a yearning or impulse to travel”. Before I got into comedy, travel was one thing I always knew I wanted to do – I was a bit of a dreamer as a kid. I used to pile up travel brochures around me on my bed and flick through them all, deciding which amazing places I wanted to go to.
Of all the places you have travelled on tour, which is your favourite?
I get bored very easily, so I need to be somewhere I can go out and do something completely different every day. New York’s good for that, it’s so vibrant. London, too.
You’re off back to Canada this year, where after that?
I’m always looking to go to new territories. I’d really like to do some shows in India next year. It’s the one place stand-ups ignore, but there’s a desire there for live comedy. It’s not their first love, and English isn’t their first language, but they still understand and enjoy it.
It’s also part of your heritage – is that part of the appeal?
I am half Indian, yes, but that’s not really the reason. It’s more a fascination with the idea of doing stand-up in a place that doesn’t already have a preconception of it. Where stand-up as an art form is new.
You’ve been called “the stand-up equivalent of Bill Bryson”. What do you think this says about you as a comic?
I got that quote a long time ago before most people knew who Bill Bryson was! So people would walk past my poster and go: “What does that mean?” But now his books have become so well known, I think it makes a lot more sense to people. He’s a travel writer, and that’s what I do too.
Do you have any advice for budding comedians?
There really is no substitute for stage time. You can say a joke in front of a mirror a million times until you’re wilting, but it’s not going to make you any better as a comedian. It’s only when you’re actually in front of a live audience that it really makes a difference.
See Danny Bhoy at The Stand Comedy Club, 31 High Bridge, Newcastle, on December 13. Box office: 0844 6933336.