Laugh with Danny Bhoy


Danny Bhoy is surprisingly cheerful about the fact that he’s not all that well-known in Britain. ‘No-one really knows who I am here,’ he grins, happy that he can meet in a coffee shop around the corner from his Edinburgh flat without being mobbed. The name of his new show, By Royal Disappointment” To explain the title would be to give away one of the jokes of the show, but it does involve a meeting with Her Majesty the Queen that doesn’t quite turn out as hoped.

Danny in Edinburgh Comedy Fest 2010

The 34-year-old Scot has become a huge star over the past few years in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, where he spends a large part of each year touring. ‘Last year I probably spent a total of less than a month in my own flat,’ he says. ‘But I really love it on the road. I always think I can’t wait to get home, but then after a week I start to go stir-crazy in my flat. There’s that great sense of anticipation when I’m packing a suitcase and getting ready to go somewhere. When I’m on the road I feel like I’m achieving something.’

Bhoy has certainly achieved a lot in the ten years or so, he’s been a professional stand-up. He took his first solo show to the Edinburgh Fringe in 2001, only playing to 60 people. But his greatest success has come through being invited to the Melbourne Comedy Festival, and on the strength of that, touring his show around Australia and New Zealand. It’s hard graft, travelling to small towns in the back of beyond, but it’s an effort that has paid off.

‘Australia is a very rich market for comedy,’ he explains, with a smile, ‘you can go to small towns and find really nice thousand-seater theatres that have been built by the council, and the audiences are very appreciative so it’s a good thing to do. But you really have to commit to it, because sometimes it can take two days just to get to a venue.

But for now he’s back in Britain with a brand new show and embarking on his first tour here in two years, after a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe. His show is a mixture of observational material, more whimsical reflections on moments from history, and personal anecdotes, many of them drawn from what he laughingly describes as his ‘failed attempt’ to crack the American market. He’s a warm and confident performer, and knows how to win the audience over. There’s a friendly, conversational tone to his performance which gives him a wide appeal; he doesn’t set out to be ‘edgy’, and his humour is very inclusive.

He dresses casually on stage just as he does off, unlike some other comedians and it’s pleasing to find that he’s just as warm and approachable in person. He’s looking forward to the UK tour, he says, because he finds the smaller gigs far more enjoyable in terms of feeling a sense of interaction with the audience. ‘As the comic Daniel Kitson once put it, the problem with becoming big is that you can’t do small gigs any more,’ he says. ‘We all love doing the smaller venues. There’s a great feeling when you’re rocking a thousand-seater hall, but that’s more like a performance than thinking on your feet.

His love of live performance and challenging himself as a comic is such that he decided to write an entire new show for his UK tour rather than rely on tried and tested material. ‘Because I haven’t been here for two years, the temptation is to put together two years’ worth of stuff that’s been working well, ‘But I thought, no, I want to write a new show, because that keeps it fresh and interesting. For me, at least.’

Born to a Scottish mother and Indian father and raised in the small town of Moffat and went to University in Glasgow  ‘Nice to see that history degree hasn’t gone to waste,’ he jokes, referring to some of the material in his new show.

Danny Bhoy fell into comedy by accident. He decided to venture to London anyway, but one night before he left, he was making his way home in Edinburgh and passed a little bar that was holding an open mic comedy night. ‘I popped my head in to have a look and that was it, I fell in love with comedy,’ he smiled. ‘But I watched a guy dying on his arse and all the time I was thinking, I’d have said that differently. It was like I was telling myself I could do this.’

He booked himself in for a slot but when he saw the audience start to come in, he lost his nerve, slipped out the back door and started walking home. ‘Then I thought – no, if you don’t give it a try now, you’ll never know. Luckily that first gig went well, otherwise I’d never have got back on stage.’

Danny in Montreal 2007
http://www.youtube.com/v/y8VE9LqrpPA?fs=1&hl=en_GB&rel=0&color1=0xe1600f&color2=0xfebd01

Bhoy won the prestigious Daily Telegraph Open Mic competition, and suddenly found himself pursued by club bookers and interested agents. ‘I was being booked for paid gigs before I even had twenty minutes of material,’ he says, ‘so it forced me to get my first set together. I was able to give up my day job a year into starting comedy, which most people don’t get to do.’

Bhoy relocated to LA, where he played a handful of small gigs while he waited for the Comedy Central show to air. Although he was invited to prestigious chat shows – which he talks about in By Royal Disappointment – his experience of LA was quite a lonely one, “it was just me sitting in my apartment by myself,’ he says, with a shudder. ‘I was glad to come home.’

After the UK tour is over, Bhoy is thinking of returning to Australia, perhaps to buy a place there if his current touring career is to continue. But he is also thinking of moving from Edinburgh to London after his UK tour, because most of his comedian friends are based there and he misses the sense of community. I’m trying to slow things down a bit this year so that I do get to spend more time at home.’

In the meantime, Danny Bhoy is looking forward to taking to the road around Britain, making people laugh in theatres where he can actually see their faces. ‘It’s harder in a way because people expect more of you when they don’t know you from the television”, “It’s just about making each show as good as it can be.”

Take this chance to see Danny at the macrobert or you will kick yourself!

Tuesday 28 September 8pm
Tickets £15 / £13 conc

To book your tickets or for more information call Tickets and Information on 01786 46666 or book online on the macrobert website

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About macrobert
macrobert arts centre offers an exciting programme of events that welcomes everyone. Choose from a fantastic programme of live events including theatre, dance and music. There is also a full cinema programme with films showing to suit all ages and tastes. There are lots of fun activities for children and young people: creative factories, supervised arts and craft sessions in treehouse, tailor made birthday parties, and youth theatre and dance groups. TICKETS AND INFORMATION LINE 01786 466666 You can also follow macrobert on Facebook , Twitter and Bebo. For special offers and to get all the macrobert news first, sign up for our weekly e-bulletin via www.macrobert.org.

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