Paul Kerensa heads for Worthing comedy date

Matt's Comedy Club in Worthing kicks off its 2016 season with one of the BBC's top gag writers.


Paul Kerensa will be headlining the family-friendly club in the Connaught Studio on Thursday, February 11, at 8pm. The winner of ITV’s Take the Mike in 2002, exiled Cornishman Paul is a writer and comedian who is a regular at the UK’s biggest venues.

Paul is more than happy to meet the club’s family-friendly criteria: “I always play the room to a certain degree, but I am generally on the clean side of comedy, but even then, it changes, depending whether you have got a room full of nuns or a room full of children or are doing something for the BBC.

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“More often than not, I start knowing what I am going to be starting with, and then I just see where it goes from there. The audience are happy with that as long as they trust you. If you deliver a fully-scripted gig, then they might as well be watching you on TV.”

The idea is to give an audience something that feels specific to them: “Sometimes I will refer to other gigs, and sometimes that feels like I have been dirty, that I am actually seeing other audiences, that I have been gigging around!”

But the point is to tailor – and also to capture the zeitgeist: “It can be difficult to think ahead. I have got some bits and pieces from last year that I am carrying through, but also I am thinking about what is current. I am thinking what is the theme for this year, 2016? And it is difficult to say. At the moment, it is dead rock stars, and you wouldn’t want to do that. Some years it is easier because there is an election coming. This year, I am not so sure yet.”

It’s about taking it as it comes – unlike a certain breed of comedy newcomers, as Paul says, who turn up with their five-year plan, who want to do Edinburgh in year one, Mock the Week in year two, etc etc, every moment and landmark thought out in advance: “I am of the generation of comedians that have ended up doing comedy because we can’t really do anything else. That seems to me to be the more hearty way of getting into it. People like John Bishop didn’t start doing stand-up until they were older than I am now. They had other experiences in life first, and I think that makes you a better comedian.

“You listen to some of the newcomers and their routines are all about hotels and service stations because that’s all they really know. You can hear them wanting to get together to have a great big adventure that goes wrong so that they can have something else to talk about. Or they dream about getting caught up in a bank robbery!”

Paul’s own background is a theology degree – though never with the intention of becoming a vicar. He thought he might end up as an RE teacher, but tried it for a day and quickly moved on. Drama school and five years of temp jobs followed: “I felt like I was Mr Benn every week because I was putting on a different uniform. And then I started gigging, doing some stand-up…” or 01903 206206.

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