Please tell us about your brand of comedy- what can audiences expect?

Jake Yapp

Jake Yapp

Oh Lord. That's such a hard question! It's easier to say what it's not - I am rubbish at doing Proper Jokes, and I'm rubbish at doing that thing where some people can walk on stage and go 'Ryanair!' and everybody laughs. I don't really do whimsical stuff - I'd rather talk about something that matters to me: getting older; being exploited by big corporations; parenthood, and orgone (look it up or come and see the show. It's bonkers). Wait, question two might help here...

Which comedians have been your biggest influence?

Probably Bill Hicks, Doug Stanhope and Stewart Lee. Charlie Brooker, Jon Stewart, and I really like what Frankie Boyle is doing now. But also, Dillie Keane and Fascinating Aida will always have a special place in my heart.

What random things make you laugh in everyday life?

My little boy. He just turned three and he's a riot. His florid descriptions of what he has done in his potty are always entertaining. The 'snowman one' was a favourite, along with 'caterpillar', 'carrot' and 'snake'. My partner is hilarious too, and I steal most of her jokes and put them in the show. I also laugh a lot when people are really pretend-angry. Rik Mayall was so good at that.

Please tell us about your best and worst moment on stage so far.

I think I nailed both in one night: I opened for Beyonce, at the World Music Awards. Which, I mean, come on… It doesn't get any better than that, right? The audience was filled with VIPs - Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys… I was standing on the stage in front of the curtain, and behind it, Beyonce was waiting to sing. I was the warm-up act before the show started. The director had told me he needed to see the script before the show, and that I must NOT deviate from it in ANY WAY. I hadn't had time to learn it, so they loaded it onto the autocue. The moment came, and I walked out. 'Good evening, ladies and gentlemen!' I shouted. 'Welcome to the World Music Awards!'

Two thousand VIPs looked up, realised I was nobody, and carried on chatting. I looked at the autocue, and to my horror, saw it stuck on 'Good evening, ladies and g...'

The autocue operator was out in the Outside Broadcast truck, and she couldn't hear the audio from the auditorium. Which meant she didn't know how far into the script I was… Which meant she couldn't advance it. Which meant I was on my own, playing to a wildly apathetic crowd, unable to remember my approved script and not allowed to improvise.

'So, er… How's it going?' I said lamely. I staggered on for as long as I could. I was only supposed to do ten minutes, but it felt like forever. Life was going in slow motion. I told everybody I hoped they'd enjoy their evening, and walked off to the deafening sound of no applause. But it wasn't over.

'That was awful' I muttered to the floor manager as I came off.

'Er, yeah' he said. 'Um… hang on'. He listened to his earpiece. 'They're asking in the gallery if you can fill a bit more.'

'WHAT?' I asked. 'How long was I out there?' It had felt like a long fifteen minutes or so.

'Four minutes, mate' he said.

So, broken, and I mean completely broken inside, I had to go back out and try to fill for six minutes. You know that nightmare of being naked on stage? I honestly would have been happier with that. It was just shockingly, dreadfully horrible. The worst of it all, as the director gleefully reminds me from time to time, is that somewhere… Somewhere… there's a tape of it. I think he's just waiting to see if I become famous so he can blackmail me. He may have a long wait.

Do you still get nervous when you do a gig?

Yes. Absolutely. Although it's nice to be up to speed with the show. The worst part is the process where you're still building and refining the show, and you can't remember it, and you don't know if it'll work or not… Ugh. Now it's more of an adrenaline boost. I'm always excited to see what the audience is going to bring to the show. I don't pick on people - I hate that - but the show I'm doing now has some bits where I am properly interacting with the audience, and those are always the best bits. So far. Ha.

Why is Edinburgh Fringe Festival such a great platform for comedians?

Because everybody who is into comedy, either personally or professionally, goes there. So you're pretty assured that, if you can pull an audience in, they're going to be properly interested in what you've got to say.

Who are you looking forward to seeing as an audience member?

The head commissioner of comedy at Channel 4, obviously. No, the nice thing about Edinburgh, although this does slightly contradict what I just said, is that you can get a great variety of people in the audience. The last time I was in Edinburgh (in 2009) I did a free show, and little old ladies would come in to shelter from the rain. And they would always laugh hardest at the dirty bits. There aren't as many dirty bits in this show. Sorry to disappoint any dirty little old ladies...

What is your advice to aspiring comedians?

Dentistry. It's a great, stable profession, and it's really well-remunerated. You can choose your hours, pay into a pension, and probably buy a second home in France. Other than that, I'd say make sure you're doing it because you have to. That you feel compelled to do it. There's a lot of people who wistfully say they'd love to do stand-up, or write or whatever. But what they often mean is they would love to have written, and be having a wonderful time at their book's launch party. There are so few moments of glory, really. You have to make sure you have the right kind of joyless compulsion to do it. And the best advice I ever got was from a producer, who said 'Make sure there's a point to anything you're doing. It can be funny or whatever, but I want to see that there's a point'. It was brilliant advice. He went on to produce the One Show. Go figure.

What is the oddest heckle you've ever received?

I don't generally get horrible heckles. I usually get helpful heckles. I always take it as a compliment that people feel sufficiently at ease during a show to join in a bit. The other day I was doing my show and at one point a bloke just said, in quite a loud voice 'Yep, that's right...' I'm always really tickled by that.

What is next for you?

We-ell… I have a pilot show for BBC Radio 4 going out sometime between September and December, which is really exciting, and surprising, since I did a YouTube piece called 'Radio 4 in 4 Minutes' which was an affectionate parody. I'm also still doing my Sunday Breakfast show on TalkRadio with Laura Shavin, which I hugely enjoy. And there's some other bits and pieces... Lots of online stuff. It's the future, you know. They told me.

Jake Yapp performs his new stand up show 'One In A Million' at the Underbelly Wee Coo on Bristo Square for the month of August for tickets go to

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