Funnyman Lee Peart lines up for a Night Of Northern Comedy (video)
Stand-up comedians need courage... and a good sense of humour. Entertainments reporter Lucy Greensmith chats to Grimsby 22-year-old Lee Peart, who is taking his place in the spotlight...
AN UP-AND-COMING comedian who has performed to 5,000 people is making it in the Manchester comedy scene.
Former Humberston School pupil Lee Peart, 22, pictured, has performed at the city's prestigious Comedy Store and also hosted Manchester Pride last year.
And people in this region have a chance to see the Grimsby-born funnyman live in Night Of Northern Comedy, on Monday, February 11, at the Royal Hotel, in Scunthorpe.
Lee, who describes his jokes as coming out "a bit like vomit", began his comedy journey studying performing arts at University Of Salford and was inspired by a stand-up module.
He said: "I thought I'd try it out and there was a stand-up society, too, so I started writing material, but it never came to fruition.
"So I thought to myself, what do I do with this material? I went to a local pub in Manchester called the Town Hall Tavern and did five minutes of stand-up. It went well, so I kept doing it.
"Before a gig, I get so nervous and I always think 'Why am I doing this? Why am I putting myself through this?', but then afterwards – providing the gig has gone well – I go 'Ah, that's why!'
"It's a great feeling. I guess I've always liked performing, and always wanted to be an actor. But you start to realise your limits as an actor and so I thought why be someone else when you can be yourself?"
Like any comedian, Lee gets nervous before a show and to blank them, he once drank too much alcohol and became a "slurring wreck".
He said The Comedy Store "was the big one", adding: "My nerves were horrendous. I remember being in my dressing room before the show and they gave me pizza, but I couldn't eat anything.
"But it was amazing. The crowd were great. Also Manchester Pride was a success, hosting in front of 5,000 people and I got to introduce all the famous acts.
"I think Pride has to be a favourite of mine. Introducing blues singer Alison Moyet onto the stage and going for drinks with her afterwards... it was all very surreal!
"Before I go on stage I close my eyes, shake a bit, and hope for the best... I tend to try and not think about it so much.
"I have a terrible habit of imagining the audience are going to hate me. I remember once I got so nervous I just kept drinking and by the time I got on stage, I was a slurring wreck. It was quite embarrassing.
"The worst thing about that night was one of the comics I was gigging with said 'Oh, I didn't notice, I thought you always talked like that!' Charming!"
Lee believes the great thing about comedy is that it's so subjective.
He added: "Some people find you funny, others not. But mainly people have been really lovely and supportive of it. The best is when you are doing a set in a small pub in Burnley or somewhere similar, and men who look like they could kill me with one touch say they enjoyed it. That's always weird!
"For shows, I know an order of what I say gags in, but that can sometimes change depending on heckles and what not. It just comes out... a bit like vomit."
Lee has performed in Scunthorpe before and he said the audience was "lovely".
"I thought they were going to hate me as soon as I mentioned Grimsby. I shouted 'Up the Mariners!' and they got a bit feisty!"
See Lee on stage at Night Of Northern Comedy, on Monday, February 11, at the Royal Hotel in Scunthorpe, from 7.30pm. Advance tickets cost £7 or £9 on the door and they are available from www.standups.tv. Follow him on Twitter at @SirLP
Favourite food: Italian.
Favourite film: I'm a Harry Potter geek.
Favourite item of clothing: My salmon blazer!
Favourite clothes designer: Vivienne Westwood
Two items you can't live without: Headphones and my phone (gotta Tweet!)
Favourite memory: Hosting a Candlelit Vigil in summer 2012. Emotional and inspiring. That will stick with me.