New Act of the Month: Lee Kyle
Number of gigs: 147.
Tells us about your first gig: 16th November 2009 at The Laughing Penguin’s old new act night in the King’s Manor, Newcastle. I had about 20 friends along and it didn’t occur to me until about a minute before I went on that I might be shit. I talked quickly and got by on adrenaline.
Describe yourself: Non-smoker, GSOH, unconventionally handsome. I realise that almost everyone will consider giving an answer similar to this but, since I’m the first one to answer these questions, it is them that will be hack.
In reality I’m a one trick pony trying to pick up more tricks before people notice. It’s going okay so far. I mainly do stuff about flags and it’s usually funnier than that sounds.
How did you get into comedy? I’d known Steffen Peddie and Eric Scarboro for years (I was a pro-wrestler, they were involved in that, too) and had long wanted to try stand-up but was a little wary of asking them how to get started. I hadn’t realised that you could just book gigs for yourself at an open-mic night – as far as I knew comedy was some sort of closed world that you probably needed to do a course to join.
Eventually, I asked Eric and he put me in touch with Hayley Craine from The Laughing Penguin. Sorry it isn’t a more fascinating tale. I bet you’d prefer me to make something up. What are you? The News of the World? That’s topical humour, that. Well, it used to be…
Most memorable gig? I took a booking for a charity gig at a Students’ Union. 200 people expected…over time, the booking changed to being in a church in Middlesbrough. I walked for well over an hour, in the snow, and arrived at a locked church. I knocked for 10 minutes before being let in. The audience – such as it was – were about to leave but, feeling sorry for me, stayed for my set. I then performed my set, in front of the actual alter to eight Quaker ladies in their eighties, who smiled politely and then told me I was brave. Then I walked back to the station and went home. I was ill for four days.
I’ve had worse gigs.
(I should really have spoken about a gig where I went down well really…)
Who are your influences? I loved Lee and Herring when I was younger. I still enjoy them now individually, but back then they seemed like they were almost writing just for me. I think it was them who made me want to try stand-up. I loved Frank Sidebottom too; a maverick who infiltrated the mainstream for a while and a brilliant act with a home-made ethos I think I share.
Rod Hull is someone who is probably remembered as a silly old fool who died in a stupid way; but I can’t think of a single comedy act as subversive as him. He would grab flowers out of the Queen Mother’s hand and throw them to the floor – he just made them think it was a bird doing it. Also, when I get to a gig and the promoter asks if I’ve brought the flags, it makes me understand why he hated Emu.
Are you a Tweeter? To an extent, but I don’t really see the point in it. @ImLeeKyle if you’re interested, but I wouldn’t bother to be honest.
Where can we see you next? I’m doing Split Festival on Sunday 18th September so do come along to that. I’ll also be at Steffen Peddie’s Big Owl Comedy gig in Hexham on the 1st October, then I’m opening at the Newcastle Stand on 17th, 18th and 19th November.