Charlie Talbot swaps the City for the stage
Comedian Charlie Talbot talks to Rhiannon Edwards about giving up his ‘proper job’
Since being born in the Whittington Hospital, comedian Charlie Talbot has taken some interesting career diversions. His CV includes sports writing for The Daily Telegraph and – as he describes it – “a proper job” in the city as a head hunter.
“As a head hunter, you are a parasite feeding off parasites,” he says.
“I spent a while moving people from banks to hedge funds and then back again.”
The Islington-based performer, who recently did a gig at the World Development Movement’s Joking for Justice event in Camden Town, swapped the proper job back in 2007 for a more fulfiling role in comedy writing. “I talked about wanting to do stand-up and, after the headhunting job, I wanted to do something creative,” he says. “It was always in the back of my mind that it was something I wanted to try.”
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Talbot considers himself a newcomer on what he calls “the second rung” of a comedy career.
“It’s difficult when you get to the second rung of the ladder, which is getting gigs outside of London, because none of your London jokes will work,” he says. “No-one wants to hear about your stressful commute.”
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His debut Edinburgh Festival performance marked a successful transition to the second rung. A stage musical which documented the financial crisis to a backing track of an oom-pah band, it is described by Talbot as “bankruptcy meets ACDC”.
The show earned him some warm reviews, suggesting his switch to comedy writing may not have been in vain.
This summer, though, his subject matter was a little closer to home. “My Edinburgh show this year was very personal, as it was just me standing there telling people about my failures and my life.
“The reviews were mixed. Some people loved it and some people didn’t.
“Four reviewers gave it two, three, four and five stars and, weirdly, I was disappointed that no-one gave it one – otherwise it would have been a full house.”
Even with a mixed critical response, Talbot still favours stand-up over anything else he has done. “The feedback is instant in stand-up. You have an idea, you write it and people tell you whether it is good or not. It’s a great way to test and refine your material.”