He’s mid-way through a huge national tour which he brings to Hastings White Rock next Thursday, October 26, from 8pm.
Then with laughter still ringing in his ears Joel Dommett is off across the world to co-present Extra Camp, the add-on bit of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!
The 31-year-old comic has been delighting audiences for nearly a decade on the comedy circuit. But after causing quite a stir during his time in the jungle – in which he was runner-up – he’s been rocketed into the big league.
Much of what won Dommett votes on the ITV reality series shines through in his stand-up; his irresistible charm, perpetual upbeat attitude and nimble quick wit.
But it’s live on stage where the Gloucestershire-born stand-up is at his best. His shows are grand and ambitious, weaving gripping stories amongst smart observations and goofy set-pieces. No wonder he’s had to add more tour dates.
He commented: “I’m really enjoying it. Everyone keeps on saying to me, ‘You must absolutely hate it, you must be really bored of the show’. No, I think it just gets better and better, and I’m enjoying it more. I’ve taken my best friend Steve as my tour manager, we’ve known each other since we were 11, so we’re like two little kids – we’re both very giddy. I’m travelling around the UK with my best friend performing to people who actually want to see me. It’s a dream come true.”
“My shows, weirdly, have always been quite big, but whereas before they were kind of ironically big in small venues, now they just fit the bigger rooms. There’s a real story arch to the show, a huge crescendo, and a really big epic ending – it’s a really fun, big, stupid show. And that’s what I think is important for the position I’m in; people saw me on a reality show being kind of funny, but I feel I’m in a real position where I have to deliver more. I’m fully aware that this reality TV thing might be a small bubble and that bubble might burst, so I’ve got to do my absolute best to deliver a show which is beyond people’s expectations so they come back to see me again.”
Joel has won over a whole new fan base since he was such a hit in I’m A Celebrity and commented: “I was really scared that it would be an absolute nightmare. I thought: it’s going to be lots of screaming young girls and younger people who haven’t seen comedy before. But the demographic at the shows has been so mixed. There are older couples, groups of lads, groups of women, and everyone’s been a delight. It’s such a pleasure to be doing a show where you feel like everyone’s excited to be there. For a lot of people it is their first comedy show, but we’re trying our best to entertain them as well as educate them. It’d be quite easy to do a generic, easy stand-up show and just talk about the jungle. But even though I’m quite commercial in my comedy, I like to think that it’s also slightly weird and not completely straightforward. So hopefully they come away from their first comedy show going, Oh, that’s what stand-up can be.”
“Before the tour I wrote loads of jungle stuff because I thought that’s what they’ll want, I thought they were going to demand it. But I quickly realised that they just didn’t want to hear it. Now, I barely mention it, it’s just part of the story. At the first couple of shows I called Carol Vorderman on stage, just because I thought it might be funny. Then I realised that, although it was funny, I can’t call Carol Vorderman every night, it could start to get a bit grating for her.’”
It was a tricky decision for him to go on the reality show in the first place: “It was a real gamble. I thought a lot about the pros and cons. But I felt like I’m quite an optimistic person and if anyone could do it maybe I could – I don’t really get angry or frustrated with other people very easily. The entire time I was in there I was so scared that the comedy community was going to shun me because I’d gone into a massively commercial reality show. But since I’ve got out it’s been so nice, they’ve been so lovely, as well as this new demographic of people. To have both of those teams on my side is the dream, really.”
Show starts at 8pm on Thursday October 26 - tickets £21.40 from 01424 462288 or whiterocktheatre.org.uk.