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New Cross comic Ian Lane makes the final of Comedy Knights contest
2:49pm Thursday 15th August 2013 in Leisure latest news
NEW Cross comedian Ian Lane has beaten over 250 new London acts to reach the final of the Comedy Knights Fresh Comedian 2013, which will be held in Notting Hill next month.
Here, the funny man, who works in customer services during the day, talks about his life and comedy.
How would you describe your act in five words?
Insufferable malcontent grasps for meaning.
How long have you been doing comedy?
Two and a half years, but only on a regular basis for one and a half
What has been your worst job?
Stockroom worker at Next. I walked out after four days of being barked at for my inability to put numbered cubes on coathangers at the required pace.
Why do you love comedy?
It's the most dignified way of inflicting all your failings on unsuspecting people.
Who are your heroes?
Stewart Lee, Phil Kay, Simon Munnery, Jerry Sadowitz, Simon Amstell, Wil Hodgson, Andrew O'Neill, Mark Lamarr.
What made you bite the bullet and start performing?
I'd contemplated doing stand-up when I was a student, but put the idea on the backburner when I concluded that I didn't have enough life experience to write anything interesting or profound.
When I turned 25, I still didn't have enough, but I got bored waiting.
Also, at the time, I was trying to be a theatre director, but found the whole process of arranging rehearsals and explaining my ridiculous ideas to bemused actors so stressful that I thought I'd be better off doing stand-up, where I only need to worry about my own performance.
What was your first gig like?
It feels otherworldly when I think about it now.
I made the beginner's mistake of catalysing the audience's generosity by mentioning it was my first time right at the beginning, so whilst they laughed politely, I didn't really get a true sense of whether anything I did was funny or not.
I only said it to buy a bit of time whilst I remembered my material, which was a mixture of surreal topical stuff about Top Gear and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's 'Fish Fight' that I never tried again.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Winning both the Max Turner Prize and the Laughing Horse Brighton Fringe competition this year.
What has been your favourite gig?
Bang Said The Gun - a stand-up poetry night in Borough and to my mind easily one of the best nights in London.
Dan, Peter and Rob do a brilliant job of making the whole night a genuine experience, and one that deservedly attracts big audiences on a weekly basis.
I won a feature spot there in January, and got to perform on a bill headlined by Phill Jupitus (as Porky The Poet) and Tim Wells, both of whom were excellent.
I was worried that my set was too stand-up and not poetry enough for the night, but the crowd were really supportive, and I got a nice compliment from Jupitus afterwards. Though admittedly we were walking down the stairs at the same time, so he might've just said it to avoid any awkwardness.
And describe your worst?
My first time at Up The Creek.
It was the week after the London riots and I tried to capitalise on this by performing five minutes of badly remembered, ill-advised topical material to stunned silence.
It went so badly, I ended up threatening to jump off the mic stand into the audience just to get a reaction.
Even my camera was so embarrassed it shut itself off halfway through the set. The compere then gave a special mention of how unfunny I was, and the club seems to have been quite guarded about letting me back ever since.
A man in Bishop's Stortford once abruptly shouted out "Why does your head go backwards?" I couldn't offer him a medically accurate answer, so I just apologised for my apparently Pez dispenser-esque posture and moved on.
What is the best thing about being a comedian?
I get the most out of my monthly travelcard.
What is the biggest lesson you've learnt?
It's more important to have fun with your act than to try and preserve its integrity.
Audiences seem to be remarkably adept at sensing when I'm not enjoying myself, so whenever my material isn't really inspiring me, I try something else to keep myself entertained.
I know it's not necessarily sensible advice for those looking to progress quickly, but it's kept me going thus far.
Where do you hope to be in ten years with your comedy?
On a night bus in a dirty anorak, boring the passengers with long, nostalgic tales of how I 'could've made it'. I tend to set my expectations low to avoid disappointment.
Any other aspirations?
I would like to get back into theatre at some point.
There are some Gertrude Stein plays I'd like to have a crack at directing, as I've read that they're supposed to be 'unstageable', and I never learn.
Failing that, I wanted to be a club DJ from the age of 14 onwards, so maybe I'll go back to pursuing that when I've exhausted everything else and feel like tinnitus might be a laugh.
What's your favourite joke by another act or from your childhood?
Laurence Tuck's story about manipulating bar charts at his workplace. Probably one of the most brilliantly formed jokes I've ever heard.
The Comedy Knights Fresh Comedian of 2013 grand finale is at The Garden Bar, Notting Hill, on Saturday, September 21. Go to comedyknights.co.uk
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