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

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

It takes a particular kind of talent to be effortlessly funny, some people just have that quick wit and sharp eye for observation that makes them adept at tickling your funny bone without even trying.

Jason Cook is one of these people; the North East comic has been in the biz for nearly two decades. He talks about how he got started: “I’ve always wanted to be in comedy, but didn’t have a clue about how to get involved. Then, a couple of mates of mine started a sketch show at the old Hyena Comedy Cafe in Newcastle, and I was hooked. I sold my house and my car, and started on the path of endless gigs.”

Thankfully Jason’s newly chosen career path suited him to a tee, thanks to his affable nature and ability to riff off the crowd, and it’s this interaction which helps him to keep material fresh. “I improvise when I’m doing stand-up all the time. It’s great to have a ‘bank’ of gags but I’ve already heard them so I enjoy just rolling with it, the audience can always tell when it’s fresh stuff so there becomes an electricity in the air.” The old improviser’s tenet of always saying yes has also stood him in good stead when it comes to being a great comic. “[You need] a sense of fearlessness, which you only get from a LOT of years of gigging, but also being open to everything around you and embracing it.”

I’m lucky to have traveled far and wide doing stand-up, so I bring the best from all over the world to South Shields

Jason fronts his own comedy club at South Shields’ Customs House and has brought huge stars to the region, from household names to exciting up and comers, and over the years he’s developed a reliable antennae for top class comics. He says of his booking policy: “It’s a very selective process, a lot of faceless, ‘brand name’ clubs will book anyone, but this is my club with my name is above the door, so I only take people I have gigged with, and seen absolutely smash it from all over the world. Canadians, Australians, Americans…I’m lucky to have traveled far and wide doing stand-up, so I bring the best from all over the world to South Shields.”

One of Jason’s specialties is working alongside other comics to produce a night of improvised comedy, with two shows coming up at The Customs House this month. “They are best described as ‘freeform comedy’, two comedians with no plans or backup material, just riffing with the audience.” Jason explains. “They are the best gigs I’ve ever done, because even I don’t know what’s going to happen in them!”

Joining Jason on Saturday 6th August will be popular sharp-eyed comedian Scott Bennett, and on Sunday 7th August he’ll be joined by whirlwind stand-up Carl Hutchinson. “Scott and Hutchy are two already in demand comedians, with national tours and Live at the Apollo appearances between them.” Jason explains. “I’ve been writing with them for years on live shows and sitcoms, so it’d be nice to share with an audience the amount of fun we have when we are in writing rooms, going head to head, knocking the gags out of the park.”

Cook & Bennett Make It Up As They Go Along comes to The Customs House, South Shields on Saturday 6th August, and Cook & Hutchinson Spouting Nonsense takes place at the venue on Sunday 7th August.

Like this story? Share it!

Subscribe to our mailout