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John Bishop's rules of stand-up comedy

(Image credit: BBC/Lola Productions/Perou)

John Bishop talks to TV&Satellite Week about his new show, The John Bishop Show, which starts on BBC1 on Saturday...

How do you feel when you are performing in front of an audience?

“It’s an incredible feeling to bring joy to all those people. It’s so nice to get personal messages afterwards. They say things like, ‘We were going through a terrible time, but watching your show gave us a real lift.’ That’s very, very gratifying.”

What are the best moments during a show?

“The best moments are those nights when something just pops into your head and comes straight out of your mouth. Everyone’s laughing and I’m laughing as well, as I wasn’t expecting it. I love those moments.”


Are you always confident that you’re going to get lots of laughs?

“When you’re testing out material beforehand, you don’t always know if it’s funny. But once you perform it, you don’t have to do a survey afterwards – you know instantly whether it’s funny or not.”

When do you think you’ll want to stop being a comedian?

“People don’t retire from comedy. You see some people and say, ‘He used to be in a band or in a soap.’ But you never say that about comedians. Stand-up to me is essential. I don’t know what I would be if I stopped doing it.”

What do you think of being famous?

“Everything else will fall away. Fame is transient, and other people overtake you in the fame stakes. But performing stand-up and making people laugh – whether it’s an arena or a 50-seater – is something I want to do for as long as I can.”

Is it hard not to take success for granted?

“I am very critical of myself because I want people to have a great night and get real value for money. That means I have to keep pushing my standards. You have to avoid getting drawn into the world of showbiz. You have to be careful not to become famous for its own sake. You don’t want people to forget why you’re famous. That’s what’s good about stand-up. You can’t do that. You have to deliver. You can’t just walk on stage and be famous.”