An old head on young shoulders

    Popular comedian Jon Richardson is coming to the Assembly Hall with his new Old Man show. The Times of Tunbridge Wells finds out what the star of such top TV shows as Live at the Apollo and 8 Out of 10 Cats has to say about life and becoming a father

    FUN TIME Jon Richardson

    STAND-UP comedian Jon Richardson likes emphasising the power of comedy: “I can’t believe I get to do this job! As I get older, I’ve got more and more to talk about and I have more and more confidence,” says the man who has been described by the national Times as ‘One of our most individual and interesting stand-ups’, and by Time Out magazine as ‘sublimely brilliant, stunning’.

    “I love the privilege of looking back on my life every three years, turning it into a comedy show and sharing it with an audience. It’s incredibly cathartic. It’s a way of converting the difficult elements of life into comedy. None of us know what’s going on at the moment, so to be able to laugh at it in unity for two hours is absolutely great.”

    Since last touring the country, Jon has become a husband and father, watched as the UK voted to leave the EU and witnessed the inexorable rise of Donald Trump to the American Presidency.

    All of which prompts one key question: Why does it seem that no one else alive can correctly load a dishwasher?

    As well as this pressing matter, Jon will be covering an array of other hilarious comic topics in his new show. The British Comedy Award nominee will, for instance, be discussing the impact his new baby daughter has had on his life.

    “I’m determined not to talk about my baby in a way that’s alienating,” he says. But it’s been such a big change in my life that I can’t not talk about it. It’s also nice to have something new to stress about. I can really get my teeth into this stress!

    “When you’re single, you’re not beholden to anyone, and you can shut down more easily. In the past, I had the idea that I’d live in a caravan with a dog near a pub with no responsibilities. But now when bad things happen in the world, I feel responsible for them because they’re going to impact on my daughter.”

    One of Jon’s main worries is that she will grow up resembling him. “What I’m dreading is raising her to be like me. If I hear her saying, ‘I can’t eat that chip because it’s touched those baked beans’, I’ll know she’s got too much of me in her!”

    Stress is a constant theme in Jon’s brilliant act. “I got shingles on the day of the EU referendum. It’s good to see that my stress has got worse as I’ve got older and that now there’s a physical element to it!”

    Cleanliness – or the lack of it – is also a cause of stress in his life. Jon admits that: “When the kitchen is not clean, it gets to me. I’m quite methodical, while my wife is more creative!”

    Another very amusing element of Old Man is that Jon uses Twitter to interact with his audience. The comic, whose bestselling book It’s Not Me, It’s You, was published by HarperCollins in 2012, recollects: “Recently, I talked to a man in the audience, and he was shocked because I knew where he had been that morning, what football team he supported and what his wife’s name was. It’s a good about-turn. That’s the joy of Twitter.”

    Jon adds: “That man had messaged me earlier, but people don’t always realise that when you Tweet you’re building a public record of yourself. It’s nice to have all that free material. It means I can spend more time with my daughter and just take the mickey out of someone in the audience!”

    Jon proceeds to reflect on how much he adores the experience of live comedy. “It’s such a buzz. The instant reaction you get from the audience is such a privilege.

    “Each show is a very honest portrayal of how I’m feeling that night. It can go off in any direction. The show is different every time and that makes it much more exciting. Every evening is unique.”

    But, much as he loves touring, Jon reveals he’ll have a break over the summer. “People would rather be out in the sun than inside listening to a whingeing moron!”

    And when the Old Man tour finally comes to an end, Jon discloses what he will do next. “I’ll be back at home, concentrating once again on being a dad and a pernickety husband!”

    Jon Richardson’s Old Man show is on at the Assembly Hall on Saturday [March 25] at 8pm. Tickets from £24.50 plus £1.75 per ticket booking fee. Box office 01892 530613 or www.assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk