Punchline Comedy returns to the GCC

We chat to musical comic Jonny Awsum ahead gigs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha

Punchline Comedy returns to the GCC

Flying into Doha for a one-night only performance are three stand up comics from the Punchline Comedy Club. We caught up with music comedian Jonny Awsum ahead of the show.

Jonny Awsum. Is that your real name?
No. My real name is a closely guarded secret! Tell you what though, let’s do a reader offer: if someone comes to the show in Doha and says ‘Time Out’ to me I will tell them my real name…

How would you describe your style of comedy?
Feel-good musical comedy or guitar comedy.

How did you get into comedy in the first place?
I was in rock bands for years playing guitar and I’d always have a part time job on the go. The last one being a bar man at the Chuckle Club in London. One or two acts did music and seeing them was a light bulb moment for me.

When did you first pick up a guitar?
There’s a great Rod Stewart quote that goes ‘What I do now is all my dad’s fault, because he bought me a guitar as a boy, for no apparent reason’ – this is exactly what happened to me.

In your life, what comes first – music or comedy?
Music, I love it. I think it’s the closest thing to magic there is, the way that hearing a song can transport you back to a time and a place is incredible. Fusing music and comedy is my new love though.

Who do you look up to in the world of comedy and why?
Steel Panther. They are my favourite comedy music act. It is my dream to support them one day. Perhaps Time Out can help me achieve that dream?!

When you’re off stage, how funny are you really?
I feel no pressure to be funny off stage. Of course when people find out what you do they want you to tell them a joke or whatever but I just tell them to come to a show. Apparently my groom’s speech at my wedding last year was funny but that was on stage so maybe that doesn’t count?

We heard a rumour that you not only play guitar, but you can also rock a triangle. How underrated is this instrument?
Very. I sometimes end a show with an 8 Mile style rap featuring a member of the audience on the triangle – many a house has been brought down with that bad boy.

Who is the funniest heckler you’ve ever encountered?
Having starred in the popular Cravendale milk advert [in the UK] I once had a bloke shout out ‘Can we have some free milk please?’ What was lovely though was that he put on a kind of Oliver voice – a bit ‘please sir, can I have some more’. It got a big laugh.

What pre-gig rituals do you have?
I listen to [great] music like Lostalone. These guys are friends and their stuff gets me hyped up and ready for action.

What can we all expect from your show in Doha?
I will meet, greet and then include the audience in my show. I will lift the lid on the noises heard through my Travelodge wall and find out if the audience can honk like angry swans! Oh and the triangle may make an appearance if I can get it through airport security.

Is there anything you particularly want to do while you’re here?
Write a song about the place so that I can use it in my 2014 Edinburgh show. That, and snorkel. I love a good snorkel.
Jonny Awsum, Alex Boardman and Phil Butler are at the monthly show on January 14. Tickets are QR150 for show only or QR300 with a buffet dinner and two drinks. Buy tickets at www.itp.net/tickets/qatar. Hilton Doha, West Bay (4423 3333).

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