‘Just be yourself. Talk about what you know. You can find comedy anywhere.’
‘The first stand up I did was at a church talent show when I was 14. I was always clowning about and some of the kids were always egging me on and daring me to do it. I thought I’ve seen a bit of stand up on TV, I’ve watched some old school Eddie Murphy. I went on stage and made jokes about some of the people at the church. People were clapping and cheering Go on Nath!
'Making people laugh gives you a buzz. It’s addictive man. It keeps me going back. I’m needy like that and I crave it.’
Nathan Caton is fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe (2015) preparing to take his show Straight Outta Middlesex to the Soho Theatre on 18th and 19th September. With a list of TV and radio credits as long as your arm, including Mock the Week, Live At The Apollo and Russell Howard‘s Good News, he is one of the busiest and most recognisable names out there.
At just 30, he already has 11 years’ experience of the circuit and a pile of awards.
‘My first proper gig was when I was 19, and I died on my hole! I enjoyed being on stage so much that I didn’t mind dying. But I was awful. It was a crap gig with maybe about 12 people there. Half of them were the other comedians. There were guys playing pool behind the stage. I had crap material. I had no experience of life. Just playing videogames and going to nightclubs. That was my material and it sucked.’
Watching a Nathan Caton performance now is like being down the pub with a mate. His on-stage persona is easy-going and his material flows like a series of anecdotes about things that could genuinely have happened on his way to meet you. Chortle describes him as confident, charismatic and upbeat.
‘I might look confident, but there are many times where I’m panicking on the inside. I just try to be myself and be me. I guess off-stage I’m pretty confident and chilled out and I try to just be myself on-stage.’
That honesty extends to his material, which is observational, personal and confessional, sometimes topical. It is what it is. In the performance you feel you are meeting the man himself.
‘Truthful things are always funny, and people will always relate to you. Just be yourself. Talk about what you know. You can find comedy anywhere.
‘I was watching Eddie Murphy movies, and when I found out he did stand-up I was like What? He’s a stand up too? Lenny Henry. He was a young British West-Indian so my family would have related to him. Robin Williams. When I found he did stand-up I was like What? He does stand-up too! I liked Steve Martin and George Carlin.'
Speaking of family, how did they feel when you turned your attention to stand-up, having gone away to study architecture? Where they supportive?
‘Ha ha! No! It was a massive curveball. There was an expectation that I was going to see it through and become an architect. My mum was like well how are you going to pay the rent? as if to say because you are not funny and I’m gonna kick you out. My grandma thought that comedy was not a career, that it’s the hobby you do when you are working.
'They all thought that I just wasn’t funny. Maybe that just egged me on because I thought I could just prove them wrong.’
So back to the Edinburgh Fringe (2015). Would Nathan recommend that every aspiring stand-up should make their way up there?
‘If you are going to check it out then that’s perfectly fine. What I would say is don’t rush it. Go when you are ready and when you know you can smash it. A lot of stand-ups make the mistake of going up when they haven’t got an hour, or when they haven’t got enough material to hold the audience. If you can go up and do a 3-hander or a AAA package then do that first.
'Look at Micky Flanagan. He didn’t do Edinburgh until he was about 10 years in. There’s no rush to nail it in the first year and you only get one chance to make a big first impression.’
Visit the website www.nathancaton.com for more new and details about where you can see him!