+3 Interview: Jeremy Nicholas: After Dinner Stories from My Disastrous Broadcasting Career

“This is my Edinburgh debut at the age of 55. I’ve been many times to watch and always loved it.”

WHO: Jeremy Nicholas, Writer and performer

WHAT: “Sony Award-winning broadcaster Jeremy Nicholas brings his hilarious debut hour. Based on true-life stories from 27 years of trying not to get fired on TV and radio with the BBC. There was the time he reported on the face of Elvis in the blue veins of a cheese or his catastrophic mistake to a global TV audience during London 2012. You’ll also get the inside track on the dreadful celebrities he’s interviewed. Jeremy has been described as ‘a complete anchor’, but he may have misheard. Not to be missed.”

WHERE: Gilded Balloon Teviot – Nightclub (Venue 14) 

WHEN: 13:30 (60 min)

MORE: Click Here!

Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

This is my Edinburgh debut at the age of 55. I’ve been many times to watch and always loved it.
Last year I was chatting to a South African theatre director about me doing comedy and he said ‘oh you must bring your one-man show to our theatre in Johannesburg’.

Now I’m a very experienced after-dinner speaker, but the comedy I was talking about is a class I do on a Monday night with adult performing arts academy Stage & the City at Kings Cross.

However, as we’d just done some improv sessions with our fab teacher Maddy Anholt, where we learnt to say ‘yes, and ….’, I found myself saying, ‘yes that would be lovely, when shall I come?’

He offered me a date in December, which gave me four months to weave three hours worth of long-form after-dinner stories into a punchy Greatest Hits-style comedy show.

What’s the biggest thing to have happened to you since Festivals ’17?

So on December 12th I found myself performing a one man, one hour show for the first time, in Johannesburg. I figured if I was rubbish, no one would ever need to hear about it, as it was a long way from home.

But it wasn’t rubbish. It sold out and I got great reviews in the papers. Mainly in Afrikaans, so I’m not sure what it said, but it was all good apparently.

I’d promised myself that if it was good I’d take it to Edinburgh. So I applied to six venues and waited to see if I got in.

My best ever day was on March 15th (the Ides of March) when Gilded Balloon said yes. I couldn’t believe I’d got into such a prestigious venue. I thought I’d be in a tiny space on the outskirts somewhere. And then when I looked to see who else was on at my venue and saw Luisa Omielan was, I suddenly was completely overwhelmed, because she’s one of my all-time comedy heroes.

Tell us about your show.

So now I’d got my slot, I thought I need a much better show than I actually have. I’m one of the top after-dinner speakers in my category, which is: Speakers you’ve never heard of, who haven’t climbed anything, overcome anything or won something involving a ball.’

This show needed to be more than just me rambling on. So I hired Maddy Anholt to produce it for me. She’s my comedy teacher from Monday nights at Kings Cross, who inspired me to do this.

I picked her because I saw her Edinburgh show ‘Herselves’ last year and was blown away by it. She’s superb at comedy characters and has her own production company MadMaddy TV.

Maddy has made me much punchier. She’s added theatricality to my performance. My background is current affairs presenting on TV and radio, so I’m used to being quite calm. One of my producers once described me as ‘a complete anchor’ but I may have misheard. With Maddy’s direction I came out of my shell. She allowed me to develop my stories by adding more accents and becoming the characters, rather than just talking about them.

I’ve seen the show go from quite good, to rather good, to quite possibly brilliant. I could never have done that on my own.

The show started as a ‘work in progress’ at the Cavendish Arms in Stockwell, London, with other shows at the Museum of Comedy in Holborn, Hen and Chickens in Islington and Turk’s Head in Twickenham.

I then played to a sell out crowd at the British Legion in Radcliffe on Trent in Nottingham. That’s when I thought it might be good.

The scariest gig was the Quay Theatre, Sudbury to an audience that included my Mum, Dad, sisters, aunties, uncles and old school friends. (My mum features in one of my big punchlines and I was worried she’d stand up and say ‘I never said that!’)

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

I would suggest going to see Luisa Omielan: Politics for Bitches. I saw a short bit of it at The List launch in London and it looks fab. If it’s anywhere near as good as her last two Edinburgh shows, What Would Beyonce Do? and Am I Right Ladies? it will be brilliant.

Bernie Dieter’s Little Death Club will be fab if you’re after cabaret, along with The Secret Divorce Society with Till Death Us Do Part?

As for stand-ups I’m going to Hal Cruttenden, Lou Sanders, Lauren Pattison, Heidi Regan, Tim Key, Zoe Lyons and Gary Delaney.

I’d recommend going to compilation shows like Fast Fringe, Spank! and Late ‘n’ Live. That’s where I go to find shows I’d never think of going to.

As an after-dinner speaker myself, I’ll be going to see Gyles Brandreth in Break a Leg! He has so many fun stories from inside politics as well as more serious stuff from Countdown. This time it’s all theatrical anecdotes.

I’m also a fan of interview type shows like Fred MacAulay in Conversation. I love to hear people just chatting, rather than performing and Fred is the master of that.

And one last shout out to a serious bit of drama from David William Bryan, In Loyal Company about a missing WWII airman. This guy is a phenomenal performer.