Following the first New Act Night of the year at Komedia, we caught up with it’s host, Daniel Fitzhenry or Fitz as he’s known on stage.
Lise @ Bath Comedy Calendar: I’ve known you for a couple of years now as a regular audience member at the monthly gig you host at Komedia. When did you start, and how did that come about?
Fitz: I actually always thought that to be a comedian you had to have some innate skill or talent, but I attended an open mic night about 6 years ago and saw some acts do – ahem – not very well, and I thought “I can definitely stand on stage and get no laughs for 5 minutes”… And I was right! I fell in love with it then to be honest (and did even get laughs!)
L: You run a few gigs in and near Bath. What’s the best thing about putting on comedy in this area?
F: To be honest, it’s got to be seeing and meeting great acts from the area. We’re very lucky that the South West has some incredible acts and in Bath and Bristol in particular, the standard of comedy is really, really high. I love compering and it’s not difficult to get enthusiastic when you know that you’re going to introduce a really great local act, someone that the audience will love.
L: New Act Night has a great reputation with acts and audiences alike, what is it about this gig that makes it so special?
F: That’s kind of you to say, it’s something that I feel very lucky and proud to be part of. I think the best thing about this gig is that almost without exception, the audience are always really up for it! Once it’s clear that they’ll be seeing new stuff – both material and acts – I think it takes the pressure off a bit, the audience can relax knowing that not every joke will land, and the acts relax knowing that it really doesn’t matter if a new joke / bit doesn’t quite work.
L: How would you describe the current comedy scene in Bath? Is there anything you’d like to see change or happen here in the future?
F: I think it’s in a really good place to be honest. Live comedy is just lush – it can be really hard getting audiences to regularly attend but there really isn’t anything like it – something that you know and do a wonderful job of promoting yourself of course! 😊 As a comic and promoter, I guess I’d always like to see more gigs – but the work that Nick and the whole Bath Comedy Festival team do has really put Bath on the comedy map and I love that it is just going from strength to strength.
L: Are there any up-and-coming new acts who you’d encourage everyone to check out?
F: Blimey, where to begin?! Locally everyone probably knows Morgan Rees, Riordan Deejay, Alice Taylor-Matthews, Louise Leigh, Martin Pilgrim – all very different but all absolutely marvellous in my opinion. I feel terrible as there is a wealth of talent and I know I’ve not mentioned so many worthy people – sorry! (Must mention Joey Cannon here – my first comedy friend and just a wonderfully daft comic brain!). Further afield again there are so many – Laura Lexx, The Death Hilarious, Josh Pugh – not really new as such, but all just so good. The comic I’m most looking forward to seeing locally is at The Boat House in Bradford on Avon (3rd Friday of March, May, July, Sept, Nov!) in May – Simon Lomas. He’s great and a new act that I think will go very far indeed.
L: What’s your best gig-related anecdote (that you’re willing to share)?
F: Ha ha – I gigged at Glastonbury one year and saw Idris Elba in the audience – I asked him for a selfie while I was on stage and he said “piss off mate we’re at Glastonbury”. What could have been…
L: Finally, what would you like to say to readers of this interview who might not be regular comedy gig-goers (yet?)
F: What on earth are you playing at!? Comedy is so, so much more than what you see on TV. There really are so many amazing acts that you will have never heard of and I can guarantee that the standard is much higher than you probably think. Give it a go (the 1st Monday of every month is a great place to start 😉 )