INTERVIEW: Gavin Webster | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

Any North East resident should be familiar with Gavin Webster, the Geordie comic who’s been serving up quality hilarity for decades. 

Pontification On Tyne is his newest set, chock full of astute homegrown routines, silly songs and surrealist tangents. “I’m no Bertrand Russell, I try to be subtle and nuanced rather than dogmatic, but whenever I step on stage I just feel like a bloke complaining. I like words and I like going after authority, hopefully in a funny way. Listening to EMI by The Sex Pistols and that beautifully articulate way Johnny Rotten takes down the ridiculous radiophonic corporation over three verses is a fucking joy. It’s stuff like that that made me want to do stand-up, not listening to Ben Elton or whoever!”

With an expansive well of knowledge at his fingertips, the comic is as shrewd a historian as he is a comic, pulling up the heritage and plight of Newcastle and weaving it into heartfelt, patriotic comedy gold. At its heart, although not overly political, there is something passionately and undeniably Geordie throughout. “Politics can be anything from the price of your breakfast to the ticket machines at the Metro. Everything you say is sort of political in some sense. Newcastle has changed an awful lot, some of it for the good, some of it not so much so. It’s lost a bit of identity though, a lot of Britain has since Thatcher commodified everything 40 years ago. I like the fact that my audience is still very working class, they like jokes and crash bang wallop routines. The poster tends to scare off the easily offended or backwards thinking or the pretentious snobs, which makes me very happy.” 

I try to be subtle and nuanced rather than dogmatic, but whenever I step on stage I just feel like a bloke complaining

Authentic, honest and self deprecating, the alternative comedian has been forward thinking for decades, as a figurehead for the North’s infectious sense of humour. “It’s always terrific seeing Northern comedians when they go up a gear, it tends to leave Southern comics behind.” 

Gavin has seen the state of comedy fluctuate over the years, reminiscing that “the 90s circuit was great; this was all quite new, when there was literally only about 60 post-modern alternative comedians in the whole country. In the last 15 years it’s gone mad! There’s literally thousands!  Loads of them are dull as fuck, it’s the equivalent of geography teachers and accountants that were doing Eric Clapton and Rolling Stones covers in bands with corny names in the 80s and saying they were real musicians.”

As is now an annual tradition, Gavin Webster presents his latest show at Tyne Theatre & Opera House on Friday 11th November. “I’d be a sad man if I could never play the Tyne Theatre again. It’s everything doing this show, it’s the highlight of my year. It’s the Geordie Palladium, but with a good pub next door.”

Gavin Webster performs Pontification On Tyne at Tyne Theatre & Opera House, Newcastle on Friday 11th November.

Like this story? Share it!

Subscribe to our mailout