May is drawing to a close and that means it’s time for us to crown another Comedian of the Month, and this time around we have one of the UK’s most established comedians, Jeremy Hardy.
Hardy, who is now entering his fourth decade in stand-up, began his career in the early ‘alternative cabaret’ scene of London in the 1980’s after graduating from the University of Southampton, going on to the Perrier Comedy Award at the prestigious Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1988.
Today, Hardy has been a regular face, or rather a disembodied voice, on a variety of Radio 4 panel shows such as The News Quiz, I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue and Just a Minute.
His political nature has seen Hardy star in a documentary directed by Leila Sansour titled Jeremy Hardy vs the Israeli Army following the International Solidarity Movement and their activities in Palestine, as well as a welcome feature on such TV news panel shows like Mock the Week and the fact hunting QI.
When he’s not appearing on stage or on screen, Hardy is an avid writer who has had regular columns for both The Guardian and Red Pepper, with three books on the shelves titled Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation, When Did You Last See Your Father, and My Family and other Strangers.
Now, Hardy is in the middle of touring the country with his 2018 comedy show, and we had the chance to quickly catch up with him and ask a few questions. Here’s what he had to say:
So you’re currently touring with Jeremy Hardy: Live 2018 – why is it that you shy away from the long, ‘punny’ tour names so often seen?
What can you tell us about the show?
“I could give away punchlines, but I won’t because I’m not a comedy ‘critic’.”
As somewhat of a comic veteran, what differences have you noticed in the comedy circuit over the years?
“People seem very attached to the word ‘fingering’.”
How do you think you’ve grown as a comedian in that time?
“I haven’t. I was 5’6” in 1984. Now I’m 5’5”.”
You’ve always been particularly critical of the right-wing, frequently incorporating your political views into your acts. Have you found your audiences always reflecting these views, or are there negative reactions?
“I always lose a few at the interval, but I have a Radio 4 demographic so some have probably died.”
As an active Twitter user, how do see social media platforms as an avenue for sharing, communicating and discussing issues?
“It is what it is.”
What advice would you impart on those just starting out in comedy?
“Get out while you still can.”