When a nasty injury scuppered his chances to play for Millwall FC, funnyman Prince Abdi thought his life in the spotlight was over.
But thanks to encouragement from his friends, the Somali-born Londoner went from teaching to stand-up and hasn’t looked back since – apart from one year when he decided he wasn’t funny enough.
Now a successful TV comic, Prince is kicking off new monthly event Runaway Comedy in Erith on October 28.
The 30-year-old told News Shopper: “I started six years ago but quit for a year because no-one laughed.
“My friends told me to do stand-up but the joke was on me – they were laughing at me not with me.
“It was a long ride home after those gigs.
“All comics die on stage – but you learn from it.
“Now I’d say 95 per cent of the time the crowd is with me.”
Prince will be opening the night at The Running Horses pub, joined by an impressive line-up including headliner Bob Mills.
He added: “I talk about general stuff, anything that makes me laugh.
“Stuff about being from Brixton, observations, my background coming from Somalia – I just like to tell jokes.
“Last Saturday I had the worst hecklers I’ve come across since I started.
“They were heckling, but saying things that didn’t make sense, like “I love tea” and “chilli sauce”.
“I couldn’t try any of my new material out.
“But I’ve learnt over the years to be calm and keep my cool.
“Some comics lose it and start shouting “you f***ing w*****” – the audience can be taken aback by that.”
Prince hopes to have his Erith audience in stitches with hilarious tales about his experiences in America and France, and also hopes to finally try out his new gags.
He continued: “Comedy is the best thing.
“To be honest, I hated working nine to five – I always hated being told what to do.
“Before I wanted to be a comedian I really wanted to be a footballer.
“I trialled for Millwall but I was injured so badly when I was 15 I couldn’t play anymore.
“Then stand-up came along and I really love it, it’s such a rush when your first joke gets a laugh.
“I’m so lucky to be doing something so creative that I love.”
Patrick Lee, Jenny Beake and Mat Wills will also be stepping up to the mic during the event.
Jason Simmons, organiser and MC for the evening, said: “I want to provide good quality, affordable entertainment for the people of Erith whilst also providing a platform for local acts to perform alongside professional comedians.”
Tickets are £7 each and the comedy kicks off at 7.30pm.
News Shopper has two pairs of tickets to give away to the show.
To enter, answer the following question: Who is headlining Runaway Comedy?
A) Bob Mills
B) Jim Carey
Text your answer to 80360, starting your message with NSCOMEDY, leave a space and then put your answer, name, number, email and address.
Closing date: October 22.
Terms & conditions: Texts cost 50p plus your normal operator text charge. Lines close October 21, at 11.59pm. Full terms at newsquest.co.uk/terms