Banter comedy showcase in Havant

James Alderson
James Alderson

SHORT STORY FOR THE WEEKEND: Red Noir by Richard Salsbury

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Thirty-six-year-old Denmead businessman James Alderson hit the stand-up circuit in October and hasn’t looked back since.

Now, next week, he launches his own comedy club with a free showcase at Havant Leisure Centre. He says: ‘I’ve done about 40 gigs now since October, and travelled all over in a short amount of time.

‘I’ve met some great acts, and what I wanted to do with this comedy night is bring half a dozen of those comedians to my home town of Havant regularly to show the lovely people here the new up and coming talented chaps I’ve met around the country.

‘I would love Banter to happen every month, especially as I grew up in Havant, but next Friday is really a trial to see how the people of Havant respond to the concept,’ he continues.

We found out more about James.

When did you first realise you were funny?

I’ve always loved making people laugh. It breaks down so many barriers and inhibitions, but usually – when I was younger - it got me into trouble, especially with teachers. I just couldn’t stop being the class clown. My maths teacher once said: ‘You’ll never get anywhere being the class clown Alderson!’ I’m trying to prove him wrong.

What would you be if you weren’t a comedian?

I’d be spending evenings with my family. However, I reached a time last year when I realised I had to try comedy or regret it forever. Comedy seems to be a young person’s game, so at my age, I’m trying my best to show that while I may not be the youngest, life-experience can count for a lot when engaging the audience.

Which three things make you laugh?

My children, my wife and my life. My children are forever coming out with hilarious things, and they give me great ideas for my comedy routine, or put me in scenarios that are very comedic.

My wife always makes me laugh, in a good way, and she is often the focus of my jokes (although a lot is exaggerated, but she remains very patient, supportive and understanding, watching me from the wings).

I am an avid people watcher. There is nothing like sitting with a cold beer with the family on these lovely sunny days and soaking up life. Watching the foibles of the world and getting inspiration.

What’s your favourite one-liner?

I have so many favourite comedians, I honestly would feel like I was cheating on them if I picked one gag. I love surreal stuff from Sean Lock, like: ‘One word of advice, never read a pop-up book about Giraffes’, but then the classic material of Lee Evans and Peter Kay, the story-telling, is more my style.

Who’s your hero?

My comedy hero would have to be Ronnie Barker. He could immerse himself in any character, and I often have to remind myself that Fletch, or Mr. Granville is him. He was such an amazing actor and comedy writer – such a loss, and often under-rated.

My personal hero is my mum. She somehow brought me up on her own, had a full-time stressful job, and gave me a great life, every opportunity manageable, with very, very little money, but it never felt like it. An amazing lady, always smiling and enjoying life.

The free Banter showcase night is on Friday, June 3, at Havant Leisure Centre. Alongside James as host, the night will feature Simon Feilder, Cal Halbert, Alex Perry, Russ Gold, David Hannant, Jonny Awsum. Doors open at 7.30pm. Arrive early to avoid disappointment.