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Rhys James

headlines a right royal variety show line-up in Bath's premier venue to celebrate Bath Comedy Festival in style! Click the link to read our chat with Rhys...

We are looking forward to seeing you at this year’s Bath Comedy Festival. What do you have in store for the April Fools Gala Comedy Show?


A selection of the best bits of my recent tour, plus whatever new ideas I feel brave enough to throw in. Looking at the rest of the line-up of character, cabaret and exciting surrealist acts, I’ll be bringing the show home with a crash back down to earth in the form of normal, man-and-mic stand-up comedy. Sorry everyone!


Did I read that you started out in comedy at just 17?


I don’t have any idea what you’ve read, but it is possible you’ve read this, yes, because it is true.


That must have been a baptism of fire. Did you have to learn your trade very quickly? If so, what did you learn about yourself or your act?


Everyone thinks it’s a huge bonus to start so young, and it is in some ways. You get to do lots of the hard yards while you’ve got time and energy. But at the same time, you don’t know who you are off stage yet, so it takes even longer to work out who to be on stage. I’m jealous of comics who start in their thirties or forties for knowing exactly the type of person they are from the start of their careers, with a fully formed world view and a clear perspective to write from. Plus they didn’t have to negotiate with bouncers to actually let them into the venue… The grass is always greener! 

"I go through phases of writing instead and I enter a creative zone. Well, I call it a zone. Some would call it a shed. I write in a shed. "


Production photographs by Manuel Harlan

So, what advise would you give a young comedian setting out in the game now?


Get a fake ID. 


When you are on a bill with 4 other comics, is there much competition?


When you start out there’s lots of competition, but that’s because there’s lots of competitions. Literally, the way to get stage time when you’re new is to enter various new act competitions, so naturally that creates rivalry. Once you get past that phase it really serves no purpose to be competitive on a comedy bill when the aim is just to give everyone a great night, and ideally you’d be bringing something unique to proceedings that makes comparisons pointless. That’s the diplomatic answer. The truth is I hope every other act tanks and I smash it, obviously. 


Are you a fairly competitive person?


On Christmas Day in 2019 I called my Nana a “workshy liability” as she failed to pull her weight in a gingerbread house making contest. On House Of Games, when I bottled a 4 day lead on the very last day, Olympic gold medalist Dame Denise Lewis had to remind me “it’s just a game.” But no, not really.


Are you constantly working on new material, or do you have a particular structure when creating a new tour?


I used to see everything through the lens of how I could use it in a joke, which I think is typical of newer comics. Now it’s a much clearer process. I go through phases of writing instead and I enter a creative zone. Well, I call it a zone. Some would call it a shed. I write in a shed. 


Other than Bath, where else can we find you on tour this year?


No tour for me this year as I spent the entirety of last year on tour and didn’t see my cat enough. Instead, I’ll be popping up at various festivals, and trying to launch my street food start up selling cake mix (It’s called Lick The Bowl). Just a joke, unless any venture capitalists reading this are interested? 


two tickets to see the New Act Competition Grand Final on 21st April at the Old Theatre Royal


book tickets for this year's Bath Comedy Festival - 1st - 21st April.  Click the link below for more details and to book tickets

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