Interview: Josh Widdicombe about to renew love affair with Harrogate

Harrogate date - The likable Josh Widdicombe.
Harrogate date - The likable Josh Widdicombe.
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I’m not allowed to tell you what Josh Widdicombe said about his appearance on ITV’s Lorraine the morning I chat to him on the phone.

The popular comedian is a really nice bloke but you don't retain that reputation by saying the wrong thing to a reporter.

With his own sitcom now showing on BBC 3 and a lengthy British tour under way, says he can’t wait for his Royal Hall date next week.

“I always have a lovely time in Harrogate. I’ve played Harrogate Theatre twice before and the audience have always been brilliant, It’s genuinely the show I’m most looking forward to.”

With his curly hair and slightly bumbling charm, being funny and being liked seems to come naturally to the boyish, grumpy-ish 32-year-old Josh, who I once saw perform in a water-logged tent at Leeds Festival.

“It was exactly the sort of festival that anyone who doesn’t go festivals says they are like. I mainly remember it for having wet feet.”

His new self-titled sitcom Josh, which he co-wrote with Tom Craine, is blessed with a great ensemble cast including Jack Dee, Jennifer Saunder’s daughter (Beattie Edmondson) and Jennifer Saunders, herself, something Josh himself says took him by surprise

The Hammersmith-born Josh said: "We went through a lot of possibles before deciding Jennifer was the best person for the role.

"When you start off in the business you never think you are going to end up acting with Jennifer Saunders. It's very exciting."

A regular on BBC 2's Mock the Week panel show, Josh says the atmosphere in the studio is as friendly and fun in the studio as it comes across on TV.

"It helps having people like Dara O'Briain and Hugh Dennis there for years. The filming takes around two and a quarter hours. I don't know how they get it down to half an hour when they edit it."

Having co-anchored Channel 4 talk show The Last Leg, it's a massive step for Josh to have his own sitcom named after him.

Still, he’s not taking it - or himself - too seriously.

“I'm delighted the show has gone down well with people. The key thing is to surround yourself with talented people then take all the credit.”

Having worked in Waterstones in Manchester after graduating in 2004, Josh went through a series of what he calls "dead end jobs" in London.

He was also, briefly, a sub-editor at The Guardian. Finally, Josh took up stand-up in 2008 after realising an office job really wasn't for him.

He also claims he wasn't a natural in the comedy game. But if Josh Widdicombe isn't who is?

“You need some talent but it’s mainly down to hard work. No one becomes good at stand-up in under two years. It’s a long learning curve.”

Josh Widdicombe appears at the Royal Hall in Harrogate on Monday, Decemember 14.