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I TALK TO Jake Lambert

"This show feels a lot more like me than my first one did."

Last year after five years performing stand-up comedy, Jake Lambert took his debut hour to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and not only did he sell out his entire run, but he also had to add extra dates to meet demand! So it's no real surprise that he's back this year.

Ahead of his second hour, Never Mak the Same Mistak Twice, Jake explained to me why he's opening up a lot more this year and why he describes this show as an honest rom-com.

Last year you performed your debut hour in Edinburgh and it seemed to go pretty well didn't it?

Yeah! It was good fun. I got to do extra shows because I'd sold out and I got to learn how to do an hour. It's nice to be in control and however that gig goes is completely up to you.

It's all a bit of a blur actually, I think I can remember about three different shows. It ended up being groundhog day. You do have to remember to do something a bit different every day otherwise you can go mad!

I've actually always looked forward to my second hour rather than my first. Because I feel like the first hour you sort of do the best of everything you've ever written and the second hour you get to learn who you are and what you want to talk about. This show feels a lot more like me than my first one did.

Have you found this year's show easier to write then?

Yeah, I have. God that just sounds like I'm showing off doesn't it? What happened more, was that I wrote enough jokes that when it got to February I looked at them and went "What am I talking about here? Oh OK. I think I can see what that is." and created the show off of that.

What was the biggest thing you learnt by doing your debut that you've taken on board for this year?

Just to have more fun with it. I started, told my first joke and didn't let up until I'd told my last one. This time I'd like to be more in the room, reset myself during the show and make it more of a live experience.

How did you come up with the title, Never Mak the Same Mistak Twice? Which is better read than it is said.

Well I wanted the title to be about me learning from my mistakes and I just thought it would be funny to have a mistake in the title. So there's that one and then there's the opportunity to do it twice.

I just thought, if they're laughing before they're in, you can't lose. It's important to get someone's attention. I didn't want to do a pun because I don't like the pun titles. So I thought I'd start a new trend!

What can audiences expect from this year's show?

Last year was more of a beginners guide to Jake Lambert but basically what I've written this year is a rom-com. I'd say it's an honest rom-com, so it's looking at the fact that love isn't as easy as that, it's a bit harder, and you have to earn it.

Also last year in the show I tried to talk about being emotionally repressed and how I don't open up much, but then a few reviewers said I didn't really really open up about that which kind of comes with the territory.

So what I've tried to do this year is open up more and deal with that. My girlfriend always used to tell me that I don't open up enough so it's quite annoying to have her point proven by a tabloid newspaper, so I'm trying to prove to them that I can do it and I'm trying to be more open.

I'm open about the fact that I don't want children and open about what I really think about things and actually it's been quite therapeutic.

Oh and I've got ad breaks in the show! I thought it would be a bit of fun so I'm making fake adverts and callbacks to the show. It breaks up the show a little bit and gives the audience something extra and a break so that I can walk off stage!

Having sold out your debut and added extra dates, do you feel the pressure to do the same this year?

Thinking about it, that would be a good thing to happen again because it was very flattering. But all I want this time is for people who come along again to feel like they know me a bit better.

How have the previews been going?

They've actually been really good! I probably shouldn't say that. What a terrible thing to have said. What I do is I make sure that my 20-minute club set is in the hour. So not only am I practising small bits every night but also I know that it's good enough and funny enough to work in a comedy club as well as a show in a theatre space.

I used to prefer the clubs, but now I've learnt to appreciate the hour because you can put the brakes on a bit, have a bit more fun with it and go on a bit of a journey. That took me last year to learn. I can now see the benefit of it. I can see why people go up every year because you end up craving it.

Do you enjoy doing tour support?

Yeah, I do a lot of tour support, I've been supporting Seann Walsh, Jack Dee, Josh Widdicombe... loads of them! But that's a real test because that audience have come for them, they haven't come for me. You have to get them up from zero to as good as you can.

So with Edinburgh, I don't find it that daunting because at least they're here for me. Most of the time, audiences don't know I'm about to come out!

What's been lovely to see actually is that when people tweet Seann after his shows, they often tag you in as well...

It's funny because last time I went on tour with Seann that didn't really happen so much. This year, because I've started being a lot more myself on stage, the audience can tell. I'm probably better that was two years ago but it feels like people saw me more as my own thing rather than his mate.

Seann Walsh is no stranger to the Edinburgh Fringe, has he given you any advice?

Nah, it's more the other way around. I help him out where I can. Actually, during the tour he did ask me "What have you learnt so far?" and what I said was "To be my own thing."

I think for a while what happened while I was supporting him was that I'd deliver my material a little bit Seann Walsh-esque. Seann delivers his stuff with authority but I'm not the most authoritative figure and my material, even the stuff that's a bit heavy, I can't say it too strongly because audiences won't believe it.

So I've learnt that I'm not him, I'm me and Seann has actually said that he doesn't know any other act that as close off-stage as they are on-stage. My on-stage persona is me. I don't get nerves before a gig, I just get up and start doing it.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?

No, all I make sure I do is that my trousers are pulled up correctly, my phone's on airplane mode - because I'd hate to be halfway through the set, tell the joke about where I called my mum and then Siri starts calling my mum and she hears that bit! And then I walk out. That's it really.

What are you most looking forward to about Edinburgh?

Just being around all your mates. Comedy can be quite lonely because you could be with your mates at a gig but then you jump in a car and head home on your own. But in Edinburgh you just get to hang out with them all the time.

Also, I feel like every year you get to go up and say to the industry and your peers "This is where I'm at now" because if it didn't exist you'd probably just get better in the darkness. But there you get to go "I've been practising for 11 months, here's what I've got this time."

You keep improving in Edinburgh and people notice that.

Finally, how would you sum up this year's show in just five words?

A show all about me.

Jake Lambert: Never Mak the Same Mistak Twice runs from 31st July - 25th August (not 12th) at 8:15pm at the Pleasance Courtyard (Pleasance Below). Book tickets here.

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