Chris Addison: In the thick of the comedy world


Chris Addison will perform his stand-up show at the LPAC this Friday. Photo: Avalon

Politics: the word can fill us up with hatred and the desire to shout or throw something at the television. But Chris Addison, star of “The Thick of It” and an ambitious stand-up comedian, has made some of us see a more funny side to the people running our country.

In 1995 Addison performed his first gig at The Frog and Bucket pub in his home town of Manchester, and since then his career has expanded from live stand up to television and film.

Whilst studying English at the University of Birmingham, Addison never considered entering into comedy. The opportunity only arose in the following years: “It’s an awful year after University because no one really tells you where to go and you’re very much on your own,” he said.

Addison attended numerous open mic acts in Manchester, a thriving city for comedy at the time with people like Steve Coogan entering the scene, in the hope of getting noticed.

Breaking into comedy wasn’t difficult in a city like Manchester. Yet this doesn’t mean Addison didn’t have his fair share of nightmare performances at the beginning of his career. The star participated in “Raw”, an open to all open mic night where he was the first to arrive. “The people were completely indifferent” he said, but standing up in front of a real live audience is the only way to practice.

The comedian has always been passionate about his politics. When asked if he initially thought a political programme such as “The Thick of It” would ever be as successful as it has been, he said: “At the beginning we knew we were on to something good. Now there seems to be an incredible love for the programme.”

The amount of praise it receives isn’t surprising. The world of politics is captured in a simple office environment with witty quips and clever caricatures. Furthermore, the spin-off film “In the Loop” won a British Independent Film Award and was nominated for both a BAFTA and an Oscar this year – not bad for a guy who stumbled into comedy. But Addison remains modest, seeing awards as a “pat on the back” rather than something to aim for.

The star is passionate about his career and entertaining his audience is his drive. He disagrees with the notion that comedians should get into stand-up in order to appear on the television: “Television is something else to get involved in, you don’t just progress on to that after doing stand-up.”

But having been able to experience both mediums, he explained that the grass is not always greener on the other side: “When you’re doing stand-up it’s very lonely, you’re moving from city to city barely talking to anyone. Whereas in ‘The Thick of It’ you’re working as a team and constantly around people you know. I can’t choose between the two because when you’re doing one you prefer the other.”

The comedian is currently travelling all around the country from Glasgow to Cardiff performing his latest live show. His aim is to never target a specific audience believing that “if you choose a group of people to entertain, it’s just not good for creativity.

“You react to stuff from reading a book or hearing something on the news, so from that I write what I think is funny and hope that others will laugh with me,” he said.

Addison has moved away from detaching himself and speaking on worldwide issues in his shows: “This tour is a lot more personal, focusing on some of my own failures and opinions. I really believe in the saying ‘it’s funny cause it’s true’, and that’s why this time, I’ve chosen to focus on things other people can relate to.”

As well as his stand up tour, Addison has a lot more work going on taking him to the end of the year. To name a couple of things, he will be performing at comedy hot spot the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and continuing with his radio show and podcast “7 Day Sunday” on BBC 5Live.

All this success and yet Addison remains humble with his proudest moment being crowned the Northwest Comedian of the Year 1995: “My trophy was a wooden plinth with a brass chicken on top. I’m very proud of that.”

Addison is performing at the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre (LPAC) on Friday, March 26th. Tickets are priced £15 and can be purchased by calling the LPAC’s box office: 0844 888 4414 or by visiting their website. For more information on Chris Addison’s tour dates visit his website.

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