Local comic James Alderson is bringing his first ever solo show home this month when he performs The Hunger James at The Square Tower in Old Portsmouth on November 20.
During the summer, James, from Denmead, took the show up the Edinburgh Festival.
I’ve always struggled with food as long as I can remember, which gives the show that nice sort of anchor, and it’s got some great references that people can rememberJames Alderson
‘It was worrying and exciting, but I’ve actually done it more elsewhere than I did in Edinburgh,’ he explains. ‘I’ve performed it now in Brighton Guildford, Bath, Leicester.
‘To be honest, Edinburgh is a very different animal, at any one time 80 per cent of your audience isn’t British – they’re Americans, Germans – they’ve come from all over for this magnificent festival. And they end up at a show by a Pompey lad relating to his British upbringing and they’re looking at me blankly wondering why the hell I’m singing these chocolate jingles and what they even are in the first place.
‘It’s a test of nerves – in Edinburgh, you have to believe your own convictions that your show is good, and also how to get the message across to people in a way that you hadn’t written.’
The show takes the theme of food which James then uses as a springboard to look back on his own life.
‘I’ve always struggled with food as long as I can remember, which gives the show that nice sort of anchor, and it’s got some great references that people can remember.
‘The show is really about my life with a thread of food as the struggle throughout, hence The Hunger James.
‘Anyone who’s been a kid or had kids, or grown up here, or struggled with food and weight, it’s all got bits in there for them.’
Comedy fans around here would probably know James mostly from compering at various comedy clubs in Horndean, Fareham and at the Spinnaker Tower, but this gives him a chance to show off a bit more.
‘When I’m compering I throw jokes in, write jokes on the hoof with people, making them feel, um, awful while the other 150 people laugh at them!
‘I felt it was the right time to do this – people don’t really know me, they know I stand up there and mess around. This is a bit of “warts and all” and how I got through some tough times and some good times, and got to be the mess that I am.’
He also found it a new challenge to write about something deeply personal: ‘Doing your life story, doing personal stuff, certainly was quite difficult to tackle and there are some parts you can’t joke about, but you try to find ways to make it light, as it is, at the end of the day, a comedy show.
So, it’s almost all fun and having a giggle, but it’s got a serious thread to it. Not everyone’s life is hilarious from start to finish.
‘To be honest, if I wasn’t doing the show, I wouldn’t let people in general know about my life, because it’s not been straight-forward, and that creates some funny moments too, and talking about it gets it off my chest.’
The Hunger James is at The Square Tower, Old Portsmouth on November 20, doors 8pm. Tickets £10.
Go to jamesalderson.net