For those of you who happened to let this nugget of information slip your mind, Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival commenced only a few days ago. This means comedians from all over the country- some known; others lesser known- are right on our doorsteps, ready to make us giggle.
A little closer to home, members of DMU Comedy Society have been gearing up, ready to wow the crowds with their annual show Gagging for Attention.
With the show set to take place on 22 February, I caught up with some of the society members to find out how they feel to be involved in such a well-talked-about event.
Name: James Porritt
Course: Film Studies & Media and Communications
Year of study: 3rd
Occupation within Comedy Society: Chairman
The Comedy Festival will see the return of the society’s annual show, Gagging for Attention, can you tell us a bit more about it?
There is no real theme with Gagging for Attention, I would say, considering that it’s a compilation of comedians each with their own themes and styles of comedy. But as the name infers, it’s about a group of comedians coming together and gagging for the public’s attention. The show will be comprised of current members of DMU Comedy Society and possibly some alumni members. It will be at the Cookie Jar, there is no allocated seating but there is space to accommodate 100 people. The show starts at 8:45.pm on the 22nd February and tickets are £5.
Gagging for Attention has become an annual show, how does it differ this year:
It differs this year with a new cast of comedians with their own styles of comedy.
What is the usual reaction to the show?
I would like to think positive, with lots of laughs. If we didn’t get them then I doubt we would be an annual show now. But since all the comedians are different, obviously some people are gonna laugh; some people might heckle if they’ve had a drink or two or ten.
How long does it take to prepare for a show like this? Is it a long process, coming up with material: Organising the show has been a long process that started all the way back in October. As for coming up with material, I’ve been writing for three years and I still use some material from my first year – if it’s good, why discard it? Of course there will be some new gags from myself and that I’ve written recently.
What got you interested in doing comedy?
I always had an interest in watching stand up from professional comedians, but when I went to a DMU Comedy show in my first year and saw how good student comics could be, I knew I had to give it a go.
How long have you been doing comedy?
Three years now and still gigging when I can.
Who are your main influences?
I think that my influences change the more comedy I see. I started three years ago, inspired by more well-known comedians like Simon Amstell. But recently I’m taking inspiration from more gay comedians, which makes sense being gay myself, and trying to come up with camper and more outrageous stories.
What inspires the material you come up with?
My life; funny and embarrassing situations I get in. Even the hard unpleasant things in my life which I need to make a joke about.
How would you describe your comic style?
Self-deprecating at times, with a pinch of camp acting here and there. At the moment, I’m trying to be a bit more outrageous and shocking with my material.
The show’s called Gagging for Attention, how will you be grabbing the audience’s attention during the show?
Hopefully by keeping them enthralled with our material.
How does it feel to be performing at the comedy festival, alongside some well-known names?
Having done the show last year, it does feel amazing performing at the same venues as the professionals. And I like to think that Gagging for Attention and the DMU Comedy Society has good reputation because of how talented our members are.
How does being in comedy society prepare you for big events like the Comedy Festival?
We try to prepare as much as possible by putting on open mic nights in Leicester, along with other special shows. In December, new members of Comedy Society took the mic for the first time after weeks of comedy workshops that we had put on.
What are you most looking forward to at the festival?
Our own show obviously, but there are some comedians that I’m looking forward to seeing such as Josie Long and Diane Spencer who’s comedy I adore.
Anything you’re nervous about?
Being the Chairman of Comedy Society I’m nervous about the show going well, but after seeing our new members perform I have every confidence in them. In fact they’re a bit intimidating.
If we like what we see at the show, where else can we see you perform?
We have open mic nights the first Monday of every month at the Cookie Jar in Leicester.
Anything else you want to add?
Nothing really, probably that it would be nice if whoever is reading could come and see the show, but hey no pressure or anything!
And, with that, you can catch James along with members of his society at the Cookie Jar on 22 February.