A COMEDIAN is set for an encore as he returns to home soil.
Stuart Goldsmith, who grew up in Leamington, told the Observer how breathing fire, flirting actors and his podcast led to life on the comedy circuit.
The ‘extremely’ 30-something began his career outside the Shakespeare Centre in Stratford as one half of a fire-breathing duo. He and best friend Noel were eventually moved on because they were coating the windows of a nearby shop with carbon.
The dad-of-two, who now lives in London, said the ‘fear of still being a street-performer in his 50s’ was one reason he turned to the stage.
“Ever since Noel and I counted the change we’d collected in our hat on the X16 back to Leam, and realised we need never get ‘real’ jobs, I wanted to work in comedy in some capacity.”
The former Warwick School pupil, who went on to study theatre at Stratford College, revealed an unlikely setting inspired him to try his hand at acting.
He said: “Watching actors in the pub flirting with each other away from their spouses probably made it all seem a bit more possible to make a career in mucking about.
“I was an actor for a while but although I enjoyed it I never felt as committed to the art as the people around me, plus I just couldn’t muster the confidence to be unfaithful.”
After time at Warwick’s Playbox Theatre company, and stint as a court jester at Warwick Castle, Stuart decided to swap his theatrics for the bright lights of London.
He first took to the mic stand in Soho.
The comedian recalled: “The headliner told me afterwards that I should keep going because I had ‘a good look’, which was like being told you deserve to follow your dreams because you’ve got nice shoes.”
His career soon took off before he began rubbing shoulders with fellow comedians including Stewart Lee, Simon Munnery and Jack Whitehall.
“I interviewed Stewart Lee for my ‘Comedian’s Comedian’ podcast. My podcast is fairly influential in comedy circles, and when I put it to him I was scared he might involve me in one of his routines, as he likes to victimise other people in comedy – to hilarious but painful effect. He said ‘yeah, he might’, which was oddly thrilling.
“I also opened for Jack Whitehall at Wembley Arena. They were joyous gigs. The sort of memory that warms your heart on the A46 at 1.30 in the morning.”
But as with any job, it was not all plain sailing. He described his worst moment
“Last Christmas I performed to 22 minutes of angry silence at a club in the north west, after jokingly opening with the true revelation that one of a party of very challenging hecklers had accidentally offered me cocaine in the toilets about two minutes before I walked on. No one found it funny, and now they all considered me a grass. Deadly deadly silence for 1,320 seconds. Fortunately I had a second gig that night in a rival town, and they loved the story.”
And now Stuart is going full circle as he returns to Warwickshire to perform at the Stratford Playhouse.
He can be seen at the venue’s monthly Comedy Club on Thursday March 29 at 7.30pm.
Visit stratfordplay.co.uk to book tickets from £8, and www.comedianscomedian.com for more about Stuart.