• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Geordie comedian with a chocolate challenge

'The beauty of a Geordie accent is that it's a free pass in Scotland, Wales and Ireland," Kai Humphries says in an accent that is as authentically Geordie as stotties and Alan Shearer.

"When I'm in Scotland people who might have a natural disdain for a cockney accent are like 'he's English, but he's Geordie. It doesn't count."

Humphries, originally from Blyth, is 31, Scottish comedian Daniel Sloss's best mate, flatmate and opening act, a UFC fan (cage fighting, keep up) and someone whose ambitions include making the Soccer Aid squad sometime soon.

He's also a man who sees it as a challenge to make you laugh by the way he pronounces the word Toblerone. That's an accent thing. "I think it amplifies the funny."

Maybe the best way to sum up his comedy is mischievous. "I do like stuff that you're learning from, or if someone makes you think. But, man, if something hits my funny bone ... It can be something silly. As long as it make you laugh then that's comedy."

Humphries is a latecomer to stand-up. Truth be told in his mid-twenties he thought there were only five or six comedians in the world. "I thought there was Jo Brand, Jack Dee, Jasper Carrott, Lee Evans, Peter Kay ... And I was scraping the barrel after that."

But a trip to a stand-up gig in Newcastle made him realise that comedy stretched a little further than he thought. "I was like 'that's a job? That's something you can do? I fancy that'."

A few weeks later he was onstage at the club himself in front of people he knew suddenly realising that the stuff he thought was hilarious when he'd written it suddenly didn't seem quite so funny.

"But I said my first line and everything just flowed. Have you ever seen a child getting dunked in the water for the first time and they come back up?

"They're gasping, but they're happy. They've had an experience they've never had before. And I wanted to be dunked under the water again. And now I'm a keen swimmer."

Soon comedy was his job after a lifetime of working in factories and manual labour. What was the worst job he's done? "I worked in a factory putting lids on Tommee Tippee cups.

"You had to make sure on the mould there were no sharp edges, file them down, put them on the conveyor belt.

"Twelve hours later you were getting a lid that was the exact same colour, the exact same shape, doing the exact same thing. It saps the life out of you. The social interaction is the only thing that keeps you going. I've worked in factories and stuff where if you don't laugh you'll cry."

Laughter is a currency, he says. "It's possible to make a joke about anything as long as it's worth it. It's a weight on a scale.

"If you put terminal illness on the scales that means the laugh on the other end of the scales has to be heavy. You can't put a cheap joke on a heavy topic."

As for his topic in Edinburgh this year it's rules and the bending and breaking of them. And the consequences entailed if you do.

What rules has he broken then? "Some of the drug laws I've broken. Guilty as charged, your honour. And if there's a 'Don't Touch the Turtles' sign at an aquarium my hand's going straight in there."

He has, he says, a natural inclination to question the rules at the very least. Of course some rules can't be broken. "I wanted to call the show F*** Protocol. But due to protocol ..."

Kai Humphries: Stuff Protocol is on at the Gilded Balloon until August 25

Contextual targeting label: 
Arts and Entertainment

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

253991