Geordie comedian Chris Ramsey modestly describes his comedy style as ‘doing stupid things and telling loads of strangers about it’, but if anything, Chris’ rise to the top of the comedy scene has been triumphant. He began his career in 2007 after dropping out of university, and since then has made appearances on TV comedy staples Live at The Apollo and Mock The Week, as Jack Pearson on the BBC’s comedy drama Hebburn and even on his own chat show on Comedy Central, The Chris Ramsey Show. He’s now returning to tour his new show, Is That…Chris Ramsey? across the UK, and we caught up with him ahead of his London dates to talk about the show, getting recognised, and the success of North-East comedians.
London Calling: Tell us a bit about the material for your new standup show. How long have you been working on it and how does it differ from your previous shows?
Chris Ramsey: This new show is my favourite one yet. It’s full of stories about my life (as usual) but as you get better and better at stand up, you find better and better ways to tell these stories. I’ve been very strict with myself in writing this show to not just have a load of stories about being a new Dad… don’t get me wrong, there are some - it’s my life after all. But the ones that are in are specifically from my point of view as a Dad and the ones that felt slightly generic were dropped in the early stages of writing the show. I’m really happy with this show and just absolutely love telling these stories to crowds up and down the UK.
LC: Your new show is called Is That…Chris Ramsey? Do you get recognised in the street a lot and is that ever awkward?
CR: Depends where you are in the UK. In London, it’s very rare to get recognised for me, but in the North it’s pretty common. And it’s 99.9% amazing that people care enough to say hi or ask for a photo or whatever. It’s never a problem at all. Only a couple of times in my life has it been awkward… and one such incident is the grand finale of my tour… so I can’t really give it away here (sorry!).
LC: You’ve toured all over the UK, but where would you say has the best crowds for stand ups?
CR: It’s really hard to say. I’ll always favour the North East over everywhere, for obvious reasons, but crowds can vary in so many ways. It can even depend on night of the week, temperature of the venue, sound system, weather… literally anything. There are no rules to what makes a good crowd… you just stand backstage praying they will be brilliant.
LC: The North East has produced stars like Ant and Dec, Sarah Millican and of course yourself. What do you think it is that makes Geordies funnier than other people?
CR: I wouldn’t say funnier than other people, I’d just say that when there is a North-East accent on TV you tend to notice it more… especially when it’s not on Jeremy Kyle or something.
LC: You once got pizza delivered to a train. Have you got any more stunts coming up or can nothing top that?
CR: Well… this actually spawned the entire ‘on a train’ section for The Chris Ramsey Show on Comedy Central. So you name it, I tried it! Haircut on a train, Workout on a train, Dinner on a train, Football on a train, Band on a train… the list goes on! I can’t believe I’m not banned from trains yet.
LC: Alongside your stand up you created the Chris Ramsey Show and starred in Hebburn. What do you think has been the highlight of your career so far?
CR: Career highlight has to be having the words ‘The Chris Ramsey Show’ in the Sky planner. It’s SO WEIRD seeing it written there. In fact, the best bit had to be watching Friends on Comedy Central and seeing my advert in the commercial break… that’s when it felt real!
LC: What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t a standup?
CR: Zoo Keeper. Hands down.
LC: Who is your ideal comedy lineup?
CR: Me hosting the night. Louis CK opening, Lee Evans in the middle, Billy Connolly closing (notice I say ‘closing’ and not ‘headlining’ because they are all headliners.)