Comedy Preview - Interview with Patrick Monahan, Colchester Arts Centre

We chat to Britain's 'hardest working comedian', on marathon tour again, hitting the Arts Centre on Sunday with his third autobiographical show, Rewind Selector 90s.

Irish-Iranian funnyman Patrick Monahan won the TV show dubbed 'the X Factor for comedians', Show Me The Funny, in 2011, and has been touring pretty much non-stop ever since. We managed to grab him for a very quick chat, ahead of his new show, recalling life as a teenager in the '90s and contrasting the more innocent era to that of teenagers today, which comes to Colchester on Sunday, February 25th.

You were named 'Britain's Hardest Working Comedian' in 2015 and have been up in the top three every year since. Do you ever feel a need to slow down?

No! I have a family life now, but this is my high. I don't do drink or drugs - playing live is the most rewarding thing for me. I feed off those immediate reactions you get live. But also, I think I have this traditional working background. My dad was a welder and he travelled to where the work is - that's how he met my mum in Iran. He didn't understand at all when I said I wanted to be a comedian. But there are no guarantees any more, no job for life, so you work as hard as you can, when the work is there.

You're famous for interaction with your audiences. Do you still get heckled?

Not really. Not anymore, because people know what to expect from me and they know I'll interact with them anyway, so they don't feel the need to steal the limelight. But back in the day, in London in particular, the people heckling me were funnier than I was! I see heckles as an opportunity to make myself better. Essentially a good heckler will teach you about being involved with your audience, and quick comebacks. Saying that, I do remember an older lady in Stratford-upon-Avon who was very drunk and a bit tiresome, but, hey, if you get one drunk heckler across 300 live shows, that's not bad going!

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This is your third autobiographical show - this time about being a teen in the '90s?

Yes. I contrast the way we grew up to the lives of the teens in 2018. I've done shows all over the UK, in the Middle East, in Eastern Europe, and every audience has been able to relate.  The show is about identity, fitting in and enjoying the decade. For me that was cake and tea and R ‘n’ B!, rather than sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll!

Yes, I thought I heard something about Milky Ways and choc ices...?!

Oh, yeah! They were my vices. I used to go to all-night raves, and everyone else was high on illicit items, and I was on a sugar rush!

Are you looking forward to coming to Colchester?

Yes. I love the Arts Centre. It's such a great venue. I just hope I get off at the right train station this time. So confusing having 'Colchester' and 'Colchester Town'!

And, if indeed Patrick does manage to navigate our transport system, his show, Rewind Selector 90’s, will be at Colchester Arts Centre on Sunday, February 25th. Doors open 7pm. The first half will be a club set with lots of audience participation, the second half, the autobiographical show. Tickets are available here. See you then!