Nice to meet you Rhys! When was the last time you were in Bristol?
Cheers guys! So, I was here in early July for Comedy Garden, which is an amazing event outside with a kind of festival vibe - there were some amazing comedians there this year like Sean Lock, Stewart Lee, Tim Key… the line up was unreal. Then, I’m heading off to Smoke and Mirrors, which is a magic club, for a ‘work in progress’ show for my upcoming tour, Snitch.
There have been a few magic bars in Bristol over the years…fancy trying your hand instead of comedy?
The thing is, when you’re doing private comedy gigs, I always think a magician or a juggler would be way more suited to the event! I try to write material to be relevant to the shows, and then do a segue into my own material. Sometimes though, if you’re at something like Pension Plan of The Year, no one gives a shit about me and what I’ve got to say, so I wish I could just pull a rabbit out…
Pension Plan of The Year - exciting! Are there any shows you do where there’s more of an overlap into your stand-up?
Yeah, I mean there are a few areas where I already have material. Recently, I was doing a show at an estate agent event, where my stuff was (obviously) pretty negative. It started off okay, with everyone having a bit of a chuckle at themselves, but by the end of it the whole audience looked pretty offended as I’d just slated everyone in the room for half an hour…
I mean…they deserve it right?!
I don’t think I should say any more about estate agents!
So, back to your show - how are the previews going and prep for your tour show Snitch?
Well, it was going okay, then not so well, then I LOST MY MIND, and now I’m starting to get through it. I’ve been spending time writing and refining everything down in a focussed environment, so I’m getting somewhere.
When you spend your time alone writing, how does the day go? Do you have to run it by people and make sure you’re still being funny?
Well, the beginning of the day is terrible - I sort out what I’ve done the day before, rearrange it and try and get everything to make sense, then I eventually start getting in the flow. I do have to come home and check with my girlfriend that something I’ve found hilarious after 8 hours of writing is actually funny…sometimes it’s all good, and sometimes the response is “you’ve gone insane”. So, you could say it’s a mixed bag…
So you’ve also got Edinburgh coming up, which you’ve done 6 times now. How do you find it?
I mean, it’s literally the Olympics of Comedy, so the whole year feels like it gears up towards it. It’s stressful but it gets better the more you do! I’ll be using my material for my upcoming show to really make sure it works before I take it on tour in autumn. For the first time in my life I have too much material, so I can change up the show a bit which is great, as it can feel repetitive when you’re doing shows every single day. You get this weird muscle memory and sometimes I catch myself at the same part of the stage during the same part of the show, like some sort of weird dance routine.
Wow! Maybe you should try doing the whole show facing backwards just to mix things up…
I mean it would probably test how funny the material is if I’m not even looking at the audience…
Rhys James is performing at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2nd - 26th August and his new show, Snitch, begins touring in October.