Things could have been very different if Wayne The Weird had had another car when he was starting out in his career.
‘The name came about because of an old car I had,’ he explains. ‘My real name’s Wayne Shakespeare, The start of the number plate was W5, so that was like WS, it was coincidental, I never noticed when I bought the car.
‘And the last three letters were WTW, so rather than get a personalised number plate, I thought I’d personalise my name to match the number plate. Wayne the Wizard was one idea, but I found out there’s already a guy who uses that in America. I e-mailed him, but he wasn’t keen on me using it too, so that’s why I went with “weird”, because that’s like a lot of people’s reactions to the magic.
‘The only issue now is that I don’t have that car or that number plate.’
Over the past few years, Hampshire-based Wayne has been making a name for himself with his blend of magic and stand-up.
It was receiving a David Blaine autobiography for Christmas about 12 years ago that was the catalyst for the young Wayne to begin dabbling in close-up magic.
‘When I started off I was terrible, it was practice mostly for the first year or two rather than going out and performing.
‘Every time I’d go out anywhere, I’d have my pockets full of tricks and things to try stuff out on people. Then about six years ago it evolved into the stand-up side of things.’
For Wayne the move into comedy was a natural one.
‘I’d always been a fan of stand-up growing up and always gone to watch comedians – and not just them, but things like ventriloquists and other shows, so that was something I was into even before I started performing myself. It was something I was fascinated with growing up.
‘Going back years, my grandad used to perform in music and he did some comedy in his shows. He always used to give me little bits of advice and stuff.’
But he didn’t want to abandon the magic, as he realised it gave him a bit of an edge.
‘There’s not a lot on the comedy circuit who do magic and comedy, which is why I like to incorporate the magic still – it is a bit of a niche.
‘There are people like Pete Firman, who’s been on the telly quite a bit, and Alan Hudson, who’s been on Penn and Teller and a few other guys who’re London-based, but I’ve not bumped into a great deal.’
He also bills himself as the ‘master of stupidity and nonchalance.’ Where did that come from?
‘It actually came about from something when I was playing football, for the way I was playing. I thought it was quite apt for my act and what I try and portray on stage, so that was the tagline I adopted.
‘I don’t think he was being complimentary.’
Wayne opens the Dockyard Comedy Night. Next up is Welsh comedian David Arnold, who is quickly establishing himself as one of the most exciting new acts on the comedy circuit.
Headlining the show is the undisputed master of one-liners Gary Delaney, as seen on Live At The Apollo, Mock The Week and Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow. Compere for the night is reigning WOW247 Best Comedy winner James Alderson.
Historic Dockyard, Old Portsmouth
Thursday, November 17