Justin time for gags

Justin Moorhouse, Blackpool Grand
Justin Moorhouse, Blackpool Grand
Share this article
Have your say

Comedian, actor, writer and radio presenter, Justin Moorhouse seems to be all things to all people.

But how does next Monday night’s bill topper at Blackpool Grand Theatre see himself?

“Being a stand up comedian is what I do,” he says. “The rest is just jam on the bread but if everything else dried up I could still tell jokes – and get paid for it.”

Having said that he admits: “I don’t know if I’m a particularly funny person. I just grew up with mates and a big family where everyone was funny. It was a case of who could put other people down the most – I think it must be a North West thing. It might be something to do with the old mill days? You had to be sharp to be noticed and I was always the one who’d take it just that bit too far. I was the one who had the nerve to do it so, yes, I’ve upset people along the way, but I’ve always apologised.”

Supporters of the former Poulton (now Blackpool) based Comedy Station sessions have become used to Justin trying out new material on them prior to heading to the Edinburgh Festival but this year he took a break.

Because of his Radio 4 comedy show Everybody Quite Likes Justin he “just didn’t have time to write a new hour’s worth of material.”

“It’s actually been quite nice,” he says. “I’ve had time to spend with the kids which has been good.”

So he cut back on all his gigs but when the Grand came up he jumped at it.

“I played it on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow so when the chance came to headline I said yes straight away.”

As for material he says it will be a combination of routines he has perfected before plus jokes he will be writing right up to the moment he steps on stage.

“No two shows are the same and I always carry a notebook with me,” he says.

Behind the smiles though there has been the recent health worry of his daughter, now recovering from a cardiac operation.

“That’s a huge relief,” he says. “A girl is like a Faberge egg – you worry about them all the time whereas with a boy you know what they are like. You’ve been one.”

Justin says he found it difficult watching the recent Show Me The Funny television series searching for the next big thing in comedy.

“I knew most of them on the show so it wasn’t easy viewing but I take my hat off to anyone trying to do something different,” he said.

“There’s no substitute for experience – you don’t learn anything from a good gig. You need to be struggling a bit to give you a kickstart. It’s too easy to go into auto pilot if you are doing well. I wouldn’t want to be doing the same material every night, the joy of stand up is making a new gag work.”

So how far would be he go?

“The recent riots gave me a lot of material but it’s not material that will last that going – which is good,” he said. “I love doing new jokes. It’s what this job is all about – convincing people that what you think is funny, is funny.”

So apart from his ever present notebook how else does he gather material?

“People do come up and tell you jokes,” he says. “But generally speaking they are racist of otherwise offensive.

“Even at alternative comedy clubs they’ll come out with completely unusable stuff – or even tell you one of your own jokes as if you hadn’t realised!”

A salesman for 10 years he admits he was never very good at it but interviewed well an could always sense when the sack was imminent – both of which have served him well as a stand-up.

As for the Grand he regards it almost a home town gig,

“My grand parents lived in Cleveleys so I feel like I know the area because I used to come here as a kid,” he says. “In fact my first ever gig was at the Royal British Legion there – when I was eight.”

n Justin Moorhouse is at Blackpool Grand Theatre on Monday, September 26 at 8pm. Over 16s only.