Pete Johansson is warming up the Therapy Room Comedy Club for the first of its three Christmas dates at The Old School House, The Brew House Hotel, Tunbridge Wells.
In 2009 Pete Johansson was nominated for the Best Newcomer award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe alongside the likes of Kevin Bridges and Jack Whitehall. After becoming hugely popular worldwide and with an appearance on Russell Howard’s Good News under his belt, he is now set to become a living legend in the country he now calls home. Don’t miss seeing a star rising in your own backyard this Christmas. Rich Gabriel finds out what keeps him going on tour and where his pet snake is now.
So, Pete, you are a Canadian living in the UK. How long have you lived here and what would you say is the biggest difference between our two great nations?
I’ve lived here off and on for about four years. Britons go out far more than Canadians but we are pretty similar other than that. Oh, you guys have a drinking problem.
I believe it was recently your birthday. Do you celebrate birthdays in style?
Not really. I’m petrified of getting older. I see no reason to eat cake along the way.
What did you think of Tunbridge Wells when you played here before?
Yeah, I’ve been here twice now. It was quite lovely. Smart crowd, up for a good time.
Did you grow up in the city or in the sticks?
I grew up in a small town overrun with bikers so Tunbridge Wells is very different. Unless bikers here manage hedge funds?
What is the most culturally exciting place that you have performed?
I was just in Malaysia and I was transfixed by how they balanced their faith with their existence in the modern world. Made for terrifying comedy territory.
What do you do to relax on the road? Are you invigorated by life on tour or do you long for home comforts?
It’s a balance. I love nice hotels but I miss my wife. If she is with me I could go forever. Well when it comes to relaxing…uhm, I work out a lot (wry smile).
What is your proudest moment as a comedian and do you ever get pre-gig nerves?
When I saved an entire crowd from a comic that was dying. Also I was mentioned in a newspaper in Norfolk once. I don’t nervous before I go on stage, although after shows I’m not happy with, I will be very agitated for a while.
You seem to have an interest in world events and politics. Are you ever tempted to use this subject matter in your act or do you see some issues as ‘outside of comedy’?
It’s a constant problem for me not to go too far into politics in my show. Luckily I’m not very smart (laughs).
Have you ever done anything other than comedy?
Somehow I was in a movie called ‘Mixed Signals’ in my early 20s. I was hilariously awful.
Do you still have a pet snake? What’s its name?
I did and his name was Franklyn. I gave him to my nephew who was and still is terrified of snakes. He sleeps by his bed because I’m a good uncle.
Canada has a tradition in exporting very successful comedians. Who would you say has most inspired you and which up-and-coming comedian do you rate?
I don’t watch very much comedy. I really love Steve Hughes, Reg Hunter and Bill Burr. I am a big fan of Kathryn Ryan and Joe Lycett. I think they are beyond up-and-comers though!
Therapy Room Christmas Comedy Club, Tunbridge Wells
18th December: Pete Johansson, Robert White, Nathan Caton and Lloyd Griffith MC.
19th December: Alistair Barrie, Robert White, Nathan Caton and Lloyd Griffith MC.
20th December: Sol Bernstein, Robert White, Liam Mullone and Lloyd Griffith MC.
The doors for each date open at 7pm and shows start at 8.30pm. Over 18s only due to strong language and adult humour. Tickets for each date cost £35 per person and include a two course meal and disco or £16 each for the show and disco only. For bookings call 0844 884 1133 or visit www.therapyroomcomedy.eventbrite.com.