Louth comedian Ben Smith, who recently overcame issues connected with mild autism and bi-polar, to perform his second gig ever, has already been invited to perform in Liverpool and Manchester.
Ben, 33, who works at the Priory Hotel, Louth, says he is ‘as nervous as hell’ about the shows, but that he is looking forward to them and ‘it should be fine’. It was only a few months ago, when a performer was forced to cancel their appearance at one of the Priory’s regular comedy nights, that Ben stepped into the breach and discovered that stand-up was something he enjoyed. ‘I went from bantering in the kitchen to being on stage’, and it went well. ‘I just had to adapt my material from butternuts and dustpans to be more relatable to people outside the workplace’, he says.
Ben, who is originally from Immingham has also lived in Grimsby, from where he moved to Louth, thinks the market town is ‘a really lovely place to live, when I can get to places on time’. The latter is a reference to part of his set where he riffs on how easy it is in Louth to ‘get stuck behind dawdlers on your way to work’. He later says he was a bit worried about how this went down at the gig, ‘I realised I was probably talking to the dawdlers’.
Ad libbing is the aspect of comedy that Ben enjoys the most and he admires quick comebacks, recalling one by his science teacher years ago. In the future he would love to do comedy – as he says, ‘getting paid to banter with a load of jokers is not a bad deal’ – but also maybe do an online science course (another interest), whilst continuing to work part-time at the Priory. This would enable him to keep collecting material and also to keep at the job he enjoys. ‘Working at the Priory is really rewarding’, he says, ‘without sounding cheesy, the boss genuinely does look after us like we’re his own family’.
Paul Hugill, Ben’s employer thinks this would also be ideal. ‘It would be great if Ben could get gigs that he enjoys, keep developing as a performer and, with part-time work here, avoid stress about paying the bills’.
Author: Anna Hoyles