Jeremy Hardy Speaks
PUBLISHED: 16:14 31 October 2016
Jeremy Hardy brings his one-man show to Chelmsford this month. Kate Everett caught up with the stand-up performer and BBC Radio 4 presenter who shows no signs of slowing down
After more than three decades as a stand-up performer and a BBC Radio 4 portfolio that includes The News Quiz, I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue and ten series of Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation, Jeremy Hardy isn’t planning on slowing down.
With a non-stop tour schedule that covers almost 30 dates in a little over two months, and a stand-up comedy career spanning 32 years, one would guess that Jeremy loves his job. Known for his acerbic wit and contentious content, Jeremy’s audience can expect a show that changes with the headlines and doesn’t rely on feigning a chirpy demeanour to get a laugh.
‘There’s this awful vogue for false cheeriness in comedians,’ says Jeremy. ‘I don’t go with this perkiness that’s around at the moment. I appeal to people’s chipper sense of resignation and stoical determination to keep going. I should have been around in World War II. I was born after my time.’
So what might we expect from Hardy’s new show? ‘The great thing about doing a live show is that it keeps evolving,’ observes Hardy. ‘I keep changing and developing it. It won’t be the same at the end of the tour as it was at the beginning. I talk about class, race, identity, Britishness, food, death, health. There are only seven or eight things I ever talk about.’
One thing you can be absolutely sure of is that Jeremy will be discussing politics — the subject is as vital to him as breathing. ‘It would be very hard for me to do a set without mentioning anything about the news,’ reflects the comedian. ‘But I feel it’s not forced coming from me. Politics is part of who I am.
‘I actually think it’s weird for comedians not to be political. I think, Why are you standing on stage and not talking about what’s happening in the world? When comedians do stuff about their flatmate or football or their mum and dad, it’s fine. But I think increasingly audiences ask, why are you talking about that?’
But, Jeremy adds: ‘My material always has to be entertaining – and appropriate. I don’t want to be shrill or belittle serious things by doing jokes about them. When horrible things happen, I’m not going to feed off them like a carrion crow. I don’t want to see the world as fodder for my comedy.’
So will the comedian be able to enjoy any free time in Essex? ‘Sadly my tour schedule won’t allow it this time,’ he says. ‘I’ve been to Chelmsford and Colchester a lot, and played in Southend on Sea and Westcliff, but most of the countryside I get to see is when I’m travelling. It’s quite nice when the weather is good to be on a train looking out of the window and just taking it all in.’
Find out more
You can see Jeremy Hardy Live at Civic Hall in Chelmsford on Thursday, November 3. Visit www.chelmsford.gov.uk/theatres for details.