How Comedian Josh Howie Spends A Day in Notts

Saturday 05 November 2016
reading time: min, words

The international comedian tells us how he likes to kill time in our fair city before making with the funny in the evening…


When people ask what it’s like to be a comic, they’re referring to the relatively short amount of time you actually spend on stage. And while that’s certainly the highlight, it’s images of town and city centres that fill my mental landscape. Learning how to successfully fill a day in a strange place is as much a part of this lifestyle as banging your head against the computer to find a perfect punchline, or memorising the toilet cleaning schedule for every motorway service station along the M1.

I now have my daytime schedule down to a T after a decade of making the people of Nottingham laugh – minus a year or two at the beginning where audience reaction oscillated between bafflement, pity and anger. Sorry Nottingham audiences of 2005-6.

You’d think with four kids under the age of seven, I’d use the time to have a lie-in, idly stretching myself across the hotel bed with no fear of a miniature foot kicking me in the balls. But alas, I can’t break the pattern of rising at 6am in an effort to keep said gonads intact.

First stop is breakfast at JamCafe. Good food, friendly staff, relaxed atmosphere and, most importantly, I get to people watch first dates which turned to sex, followed by a breakfast filled with hope. All that possibility reminds me what it was like when I was alive, before my only breakfast choices were which of the children’s crusts I get to wolf down before the school run.

Then, it’s across the road to graffiti shop, Montana. During my second encore, I like to tag the stage backdrop as a warning to future comics that I killed it. Hence, I’m constantly running out of spray cans. Also, they’ve got a fine selection of skate wear that I buy in the same way that women of a certain age buy anti-ageing skin cream: utterly delusional, but when facing the cruel mistress of time, what other choice do we have?

With nourishment and presentation taken care of, it’s time to feed the mind at Page 45 for my comic book injection. I’m worried some readers might now take me to be a little bit of a geek, but don’t worry, I’m actually a massive geek. I follow this up with a trip to the Dice Cup cafe. Alone. Just to see what it’s like for people with friends to play board games together and have fun.

So what’s it like to be a comic? Honestly, it can be a bit lonely. But, after a day of wandering the city streets in silent contemplation, that night when I hear my name announced and walk out onto the stage, all those words I’ve held back get to burst forth like an exploding dam. Come along – I’ll need to unload.

Josh Howie’s Messed Up, Canalhouse, Sunday 6 November, £8.

Josh Howie website

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