FROM hosting his own topical weekly chat show to embarking on his next mammoth UK tour, it's set to be another busy year for Geordie comedian Chris Ramsey. But it was by no means an easy path to the top, he tells Gemma Dunn

The Chris Ramsey show is back but the format has changed - it's now a weekly topical chat show? 

Yeah, we're not tackling massive news stories, but we're talking about things that interest me, like viral stories and daft news stories. I also do a bit of stand-up [comedy], but you can't write a guaranteed laugh. It's impossible. So I was slightly worried about that, just because I hadn't done stand-up on the last series.

So the content is highly topical. Where do you do your research?

Twitter, Instagram, Reddit - it's just the stuff that everyone is talking about. Obviously Trump, we're not bothered. Sometimes I find all those stories so depressing I can't even try and be funny. It's like 'Give teachers guns'. Well you know what? I'm not going to make a joke about that because it's terrifying.

Do you think viewers are in need of a good laugh in the current climate?

People like a bit of escapism, because let's be honest, we've got Brexit looming and we've got Trump in the White House who basically does all the jokes for you. I'd hate to be a satirist because he's done and dusted. He does his own punchlines.

You've also got celebrity guests, studio challenges and film junkets in the mix. What else can you tell us?

A celebrity and comedian are going to do head-to-head challenges each week, like little pub games. And yeah, I'm going to be doing some junkets. I'm terrified. This is really strange, but the thing I'm worried about the most is, I don't want anyone I idolise to turn out to be... (Ramsey uses an offensive word). I'll be really upset, I'll take it personally.

You're also set to embark on your next UK tour, Just Happy To Get Out Of the House. Is stand-up still where your heart is?

Being on stage live, with a live crowd, is the best. Weirdly, when you're doing telly you want to be on tour and when you're on tour you want to be doing telly - but after recording the show, I just want to be on telly. The shine might come off, but I enjoyed it so much I just want to do that.

It must be nice to have the opportunity to do both?

It's ridiculous. I'm in a situation I never thought I would be in when I started doing stand-up at pubs. It's weird, you don't want to constantly be going, 'Isn't this brilliant?' because you want to look like you deserve to be there. I've done gigs in pubs where no-one knew comedy was on. I did a gig in a pub where the only flyer for the night was in the urinal. I've done nights when no-one listened and no-one laughed.

How do you come back from that?

It makes you stronger. I went to the Brits the other week and no one took my photo. It was madness. In my head I was going, 'This is comedy, though'. I mean, at the time I wanted to cry, but it grounds you. It's good to get something like that to go, 'No this isn't your world, mate. You're a comedian'.

Do budding comedians have it easier today, what with social media?

I've got no frame of reference. All I will say is I'm a little bit annoyed that I missed the YouTube train, because I would have loved to have gotten to where I am now without having to leave my bedroom. I was schlepping up and down motorways, but it's a totally different world.

You've had a great ten years on home soil. Would you ever consider trying your luck across the pond?

With this accent? You're having a laugh, aren't you? If Cheryl Tweedy can't do it, I can't do it. It's a different kind of humour. I am more of a storyteller and there's not as much of that in America. But I'm a home bird. I don't want to start again anywhere, I've worked really hard to get up the ladder in England.

Do you have any plans post-tour?

Nothing planned. I think planning all the way up to Christmas is enough. Hopefully another series of this, but we'll see what happens. And then always another tour. I'll be touring as long as I'm upright.

  • Watch The Chris Ramsey Show on Wednesday nights on Comedy Central.