Here’s some advice from stand-up comic Stewart Francis for those of you who want to get into comedy: “There’s enough work to go around, we don’t need you, go back to where you came from.
“No, give it a go. Be honest with yourself, if you truly think you’re funny then you have to pursue it because you don’t want to later in life be one of those woulda, coulda, shoulda people, but if you’re not funny don’t do it because stage time is precious and you could be taking that stage time away from someone who is actually funny.”
Canadian comedian Francis has become a regular on UK TV shows, featuring on “Mock The Week”, “8 out of 10 Cats” and “Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow” over the last few years. For him, comedy just comes naturally.
He says: “I was funny as a child and then grew into adolescence. I remained funny and adulthood followed and I continued to be funny and I didn’t want to work so it seemed a no brainer, as they say. I signed up for an amateur night, it’s been three weeks later and I’m still doing it.”
Francis is best known for his one-liners which allows for a fast-paced show full of gags, believing that other styles of stand up can be “self indulgent”.
“I don’t want to hear someone waffle on for 12 minutes with a mediocre pay off when a funny person can come along and engage those 12 minutes with 20, 30 gags. So it’s more bang for your buck, it’s my favourite style of comedy, and it’s just less self indulgent,” Francis says.
He practices for three minutes a day and learns his lines just like an actor learns a script, but he is yet to get bored by repeating gags. “The travel is tedious, but the pay off is having some wonderful people coming up to the theatre and watching you do what you’ve been doing for those three weeks.”
Francis continues: “It beats working. How dare I get bored when I don’t have to get up and go to work as so many people do? So I’m grateful for that, but if I do feel I’m getting bored I kick myself in the butt and say ‘it could be a lot worse mate’.”
Despite being a stand up performer Francis doesn’t watch that much stand up comedy when he’s not performing, preferring American sitcoms.
“I seldom watch [stand up comedy]. I brought one comedy album, that was Steve Martin’s and that was back in the 70s or something like that, but I do watch comedy on television in the form of Family Guy or 30 Rock or the like.”
For now though Francis is going to carry on doing what he does best, coming up with quick fire gags: “I’ll always be coming up with funny things cause it’s part of who I am, how good those gags are, and whether I’ll be performing them professionally remains to be seen.”
Stewart Francis is performing at the Engine Shed on Tuesday, October 12th. The show starts at 8.15pm and tickets are available at the box office for £15. For those who can’t make it to the show the DVD, “Tour de Francis”, is released November 22nd.Tweet