Getting To Know…John Scott | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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John Scott is one of the most popular faces on the North East comedian scene. A regular headliner and compère, he performs at gigs up and down the country, as well as running his own night at The Stand in Newcastle. We caught up with John to find out more about his comedy adventures.

Hi John, so, how’s comedy been treating you of late?
Surprisingly well considering the live British scene is in a state of collapse. I’ve had 3 busy months and made some money for a change. It won’t stay like that but hey, I’ll take one win at a time. So that’s good and in September I start a degree in Drama and Script writing at Northumbria University. It was my comedy CV that got me accepted. It’s nice to know what I’ll be doing for the next few years. I can sit back and watch the collapse continue while playing fiddle like Nero watching Rome burn.

How did you get started in comedy?
I did a workshop in 1999 with The Stand Comedy Club in Edinburgh. A few months later they offered me a Fringe run in a showcase for new talent. I was ridiculously naive/arrogant and in the early days and thought that being given a Fringe run was just something that happened every year. I then became part of a critically acclaimed sketch show, but I didn’t write that I just put on the funny hats and voices. It did early on provide an appreciation of the strength of a good script.

You’re known for being very political, do you find this easier to write or did you feel it’s what you should be talking about?
I became a more overtly political stand up by choice when the Conservatives came back to power. But I don’t call it political comedy. It’s socio-political. That’s a much wider target than just politics. I actually found it quite difficult to write at first but once you wire into the mainframe of things for a bit it gets easier. At first I found the research quite dull but enjoy it much more now. It really surprised me that other comics didn’t head that way too. This is the most abhorrent government I’ve ever seen. Even beating the Thatcher years. The fact the British comedy industry had absolutely nothing to say about it is just a sad reflection of the appalling state of British stand-up. Most comedians I see on British TV are more like business people than actual comedians. Thankfully the American scene is streets ahead so hopefully things will wake up here at some point. Surely by now we’ve observed all there is to observe and might actually start forming some opinions? Probably not…too much money in Arena tours.

You’ve ran your own nights at The Stand for a while too, could you tell us about those?
Yes, I devised and formated a panel show called Sod The Tories And Have A Nice Week. The show worked very well live and we had a great core team of writers and comedians. Buuuut…the slot The Stand give me is the last MONDAY…of each month which takes a ton of work to get people into. When uni arrives I wont have the time to work on that so I’m winding things up in December. Something new will replace that… But its a secret just now.

What keeps you inspired?
American stand-up comedy on Netflix and a few of the people over here. I still enjoy watching good stand-up. There are still many I think way better than me so that keeps you hungry for self-improvement.

What makes you laugh the most?
I’m always laughing at stuff so I’ll just list a few favourites of recent times. My two new cats, Tom Stade’s latest tour, The Jeremy Corbyn the cat shits on the English flag episode of the latest Stewart Lee, I Am Road Comic documentary on Netflix, Mark Maron Thinky Pain stand-up gig, working with Carey Marx this weekend who’s Jewish and cracking loads of inappropriate Jewish jokes between us in this horrendously politically correct time.

What’s your favourite thing about being a stand-up comedian?
Getting paid to do what I love and creating new stuff.

The North East comedy scene seems to be doing quite well of late, what’s your favourite thing about gigging here?
The audiences are OK. Bit more switched on or friendly than other places. But there’s a few promoters in the North East who won’t book me. I genuinely see that as one of my best achievements of recent times. My favourite thing about working in the North East is being able to walk home after the show.

You run comedy courses too, how do you find essentially teaching comedy?
I can’t teach just anybody to be a good comedian, but I can give a lot of good pointers, and as with anything there has to be ability there in the first place. I have set a couple of folk off on very successful paths. Ethically the workshops I do cost a third of workshops that are taught by non professional types. That really boils my piss. Not the fact that charlatans are teaching it but that they’re making great money doing it and I’m not.

What’s next for you?
Scripts, scripts and more scripts. Study, young people, taking myself out of my comfort zone. Proving it really isn’t that hard to run a successful open mic night outside of The Stand if all the open mic types would just listen to the advice we’ve been trying to give you. That and storytelling. I’d like to do more storytelling stuff and a new show provisionally called Your Money Is Worthless And So Are You…I should have that ready by this time next year and I’m just about to start selling the CD of my last show Dissent.

John Scott can be seen doing his show John Scott Smashes It To F**k at Jesterval on Tuesday 7th June and his show Free Thinking Radicals returns to The Stand on Monday 27th June.

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