Ipswich: Regent bound comedian Stewart Francis, outstanding in his field

The last time comedian Stewart Francis played Ipswich he got two encores; so no pressure on those coming to see him at the Regent on October 18.

“I think it had more to do with the fact they hated the compere so much they were just grateful I’d showed up and entertained them. I’d never had that and never had that since. I’m not expecting that but yeah, no pressure Ipswich; that’s your legacy.”

King of the one-liners, the Mock The Week, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow and Live At The Apollo star moved here from his native “Canadia” three years ago.

He loves living this side of the pond but has noticed some of our oddest pastimes, saying: “What’s the deal with trainspotters? I spotted 47 of the losers the other day.”

An accomplished actor and writer too, Francis has performed all over the world. New show Outstanding in His Field, he says, is the same barrage one, two and three liners with the occasional song.

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“Oh absolutely, it’s a fool’s game,” he says of his style.

“When I do a new tour the amount of jokes I have to put in is like two or three times what others seem to put into theirs; but it’s the only way I can operate, it’s the way I think and it’s my favourite form of comedy. It’s more bang for your buck.

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“I don’t think I could change if I tried. It’s just how I evolved as a comedian; I love going up there and just pummelling the audience as long as I’m on stage then leaving and hopefully having the audience thinking ‘what the heck was that, that’s a good night out’.”

Francis likes to minimise his TV appearances, not wanting to become one of those comedians where people think “oh, not him again”.

“There’are too many performers just going on as many panel shows as they possibly can and it’s overkill as far as I’m concerned. When I was a kid growing up, when I’d watch TV a stand up would come on it would be once every blue moon and it would be a real treat because they would always be good and limited; you don’t want to overstay your welcome.”

Growing up he knew he wanted to do something in the arts or showbusiness; although he studied journalism at college, wanting to be a sports reporter and read the evening results. Somehow, this translated into stand-up.

“I don’t know how but it did and I’m grateful. I probably never wanted to work, probably that was the driving force. I didn’t know what I could do as far as working for a living so it was more propelled by that and growing up I always had a good sense of humour.”

A girlfriend was responsible for him stepping up to the mic.

“She probably tired of hearing me say ‘I could do that’ or ‘I’m funnier than him or her’ when we watched them at the club or on TV. She signed me up for an amateur night back in 1989 at Niagra Falls, Ontario. It was probably the highest I’ve ever felt after a performance; it was such a great sense of relief and accomplishment I was punching the air with jubilation.”

Has he any message for the fans coming to see him later this month?

“Just face the stage and when I stop talking you start laughing. I’d also like to dedicate my performance to my father who was a roofer, so dad, if you’re up there...”

For more about Francis visit www.stewartfrancis.com. For entertainment and events new follow me on Twitter @WhatsonWayne

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