Pierre Hollins: Going from circus to stand-up

Pierre Hollins  ' benevolent dictator ambitions.
Pierre Hollins ' benevolent dictator ambitions.
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Pierre Hollins is a stand-up comedian and writer from East Sussex. His wide experience includes working as a kitchen hand in the House of Commons, a labourer on a gas pipeline in Qatar and drama teacher.

When did you first realise you were funny?

Everyone’s funny at some point. You probably mean why did I want to become a stand-up? It sort of happened by accident. I started as a circus act (unicycling, acrobatics, showing off) then slowly stopped using the props, and began writing more jokes. I like the lifestyle, the immediacy of audience feedback, the camaraderie, the living by your wits.

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

I’d be the benevolent dictator of some small South American country, run it according to anarcho-socialist principles, become the envy of the western world and precipitate the downfall of free-market capitalism.

Or the author of a best-selling book that will unite the fractured disciplines of science and religion.

What’s been the highlight of your career so far?

Difficult to pinpoint one moment, and I hate looking backwards at what has happened, rather than look forwards at what will happen.

Of course we all write our own histories to suit ourselves and our vanities, but overall I’m blissfully content with the way things have turned out – earning good money at a job I enjoy, travelling the world, working with people I dig... it’s all good.

Tell us about three things that make you laugh.

1 The coalition’s belief that these austerity measures are working. 2 David Shrigley, the Whitbread prize nominee cartoonist. 3 Being tickled.

Who’s your biggest hero?

No one single figure, that would be creepy and idolatrous, but there are loads of people who’s work I admire, among them are William Gibson, Tom Waits, and

David Bohm.

What have you got in the pipeline?

Solo show at the Leicester Comedy Festival White Man Blues, in February, and the eventual publication of my first novel The Karma Farmers.


Pierre will perform at Jongleurs Comedy Club in Gunwharf Quays on January 25. Also appearing will be comedians Sally-Anne Hayward, Kojo and the group act Rouge 5. Tickets: £15. Call 08700 111 960 or visit jongleurs.com to book.