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I TALK TO Josh Jones

"Edinburgh has always been last on my list. I wanted to learn the circuit, do all the clubs and learn how to play for all different types of audiences first."

Credit: Jacob Hare

In 2019, Manchester born-and-bred Josh Jones, was part of Pleasance Comedy Reserve which meant that he was able to share the bill at the Pleasance Dome with three other up-and-coming comedians, including Lily Phillips, who I've also included in this list.

Since then, Josh has performed at the biggest clubs in the UK, supported Kiri-Pritchard-McLean, Rob Beckett, Russell Kane and Suzi Ruffell on tour and appeared on a number of television shows including Jonathan Ross’ Comedy Club on ITV, CelebAbility on ITV2, Late Night Mash on Dave and last year he teamed up with Jayde Adams to take part in Dating No Filter on Sky Max.

With all that experience, it's safe to say that Josh's debut could not have come at a better time. Josh openly admits that being gay and trying to break into stand-up at northern rugby clubs had its moments for him. Moments which have certainly helped to shape him and his comedy.

Waste of Space promises to see Josh realise that when there is some kind of drama unfolding in his life, he sees himself as a waste of space. But he’s come to accept there are upsides to this, which have changed his life.

As Josh is one of my 9 exciting newcomers to see at this year's festival, I caught up with him to discuss his decision to do Edinburgh this year, his refusal to let the stress get to him and much more.

How did you first get into comedy and what made you want to become a stand-up?

I had quite a few friends who were doing it at uni and I never wanted to do it. I kind of got bullied into doing it. But then when I did it, I was like "Oh. This is good. This is what I should be doing."

I love it. I do it night after night and I think in the North circuit, you get thrown in at the deep end. Rugby Clubs and stuff. You get hairs on your chest quite quickly.

What made you decide to do Edinburgh this year then?

Well, I was going to do it in 2020 so I'm doing it now because I've not been allowed to for the last couple of years. I've been ready to do it as soon as we were allowed, although it was a different show back then, to what it is now.

Because you've been up to Edinburgh before, do you feel like you've got a better grasp on the experience compared to those who have never been?

Yeah, there's that, but also I've been on the circuit for a while. If you look at the actual club circuit, I'm closing the gigs, everyone on the circuit knows I can smash gigs. I've started to get a bit of telly so now I just want to start doing hours and get ready to tour. That's the comic I want to be which is why Edinburgh is a good way for me to do the show for a month and improve, hopefully.

How have you found filling the Edinburgh hour?

Fine. I think compared to a lot of other people debuting, I've done the clubs - that sounds really bitchy - but I'll do 40-minute sets sometimes anyway and I'll MC loads. I really prefer having an hour than 20 minutes. It's more fun and you get to talk about what you want for a full hour. So it's nice! It's been fun.

There are many comedians, yourself included, who get opportunities that usually come after an Edinburgh run without having performed an hour at Fringe. Why did you still want to do Edinburgh this year?

I was never going to go to Edinburgh until I was full-time on the circuit. Edinburgh has always been last on my list. I wanted to learn the circuit, do all the clubs and learn how to play for all different types of audiences first.

Edinburgh is one particular type of audience that doesn't really represent the whole of the UK. I'm excited to go now because I know what sort of comic I am, it's just me getting ready to do an hour so that after Edinburgh I can tour it and hopefully build up a bit of a following.

I'm just going to go and do it the way I want to do it.

How did you settle on Waste of Space as the title?

It was going to be the title of my 2020 show and it fitted in with what that theme was, but I'm not doing that show anymore. But I still really liked the title.

The show, at the moment, is literally all about me and lots of silly stuff that I've done. I was always judged on my intelligence and scared I wasn't intelligent enough and didn't feel smart.

It was what I was called a bit when I was younger. I don't really cover this in the show anymore, but I found an old-school report and one of the comments was "He's a waste of space" which I thought was hilarious.

How have the previews been going?

Yeah, good. I've just really enjoyed messing about for an hour and having fun. They're nice and chilled, I've been enjoying them.

Ahead of the Fringe, have any of your comedian friends offered you any advice at all?

Yeah, I've got quite a few friends who are way more successful than me and have done well at Edinburgh. They've watched a preview and been like "Maybe this is how you should tie it together" - I've done the circuit, I can do all that, but I've never done a full show where I've had to make it feel cohesive.

I know a lot of the critics and stuff will look out for that. Although I'm not really writing a show for them. I'm not really bothered.

What are you most looking forward to about Edinburgh this year?

Honestly? The Dungeons. I go to the Edinburgh Dungeons every time I'm there and I absolutely love it.

What are you hoping to achieve by the end of the Fringe?

I want to start getting ready to do an hour every year and build up a fan base so that I can tour. I'm doing a mini tour in the autumn. I think it's a really good way to get stronger as a comic. Having that much time for yourself.

Who are you hoping will come and watch your show?

Just anyone who's up for a laugh, really. I'm not that bothered as long as you're up for a laugh. If you're not too prudish, that's alright for me.

Who are you looking forward to seeing?

All my friends, because we're all previewing but we haven't really seen each other so I don't know what everybody's doing. Which is so exciting! It's also nerve-wracking because while I'm previewing, I don't know how far ahead I am or if I'm behind. Normally, we see each other all the time.

So I'm just interested in seeing a lot of my friends and a lot of my friends are debuting as well. It should be fun.

How are you feeling?

I'm feeling good. I'm just trying not to let myself stress out, because it's a lot of money, I won't be able to go on holiday or anything, I won't be able to earn on the circuit because I'm at the Fringe. Because I'm doing it properly - PR, good venue and all that - I'm probably, if lucky, going to break even.

I'm not allowing myself to stress out when I've spent this much money. I'm not allowing myself to get down about it. I'm just going to enjoy it for what it is.

You've done a few bits on telly including CelebAbility, Jonathan Ross' Comedy Club and Dating No Filter. Where do you see that side of your career going? And are you enjoying it?

Yeah! I love it. It's a really fun day. You get picked up in a car. You feel like Madonna. You get free food. A lot of the times, especially if it's somewhere that's near a restaurant, you'll get a Nando's or a Wagamama's. It's good. It's so much fun.

You get your make-up done which makes me feel proper posh. I love it.

I would love to host my own history documentary. That's a big dream. I want to make it more accessible because a lot of history stuff is presented by posh men. It's quit classist and I'd like to make it more for everyone. And proper funny!

I'm obsessed with the Tudors. So drama! I used to do a podcast called Dead Drama and it was just a gossip podcast about dead people, so then they can't sue you.

Outside of the Fringe, what have you been working on? What's coming up?

I've got bits and bobs that I'm about to start doing, but I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say anything. So I have got other exciting stuff going on, which is good because then you're not just stressing about the show.

I've just started dating someone new. So that's nice. It's going well, it's still very early days so who knows? By the time this comes out it might be done! He's coming round later and I'm going to bake him a cheese and onion pie.



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