Andrew Dipper

Five questions for Kai Humphries

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Kai Humphries is a stand-up comedian from Tyneside who’s currently supporting Daniel Sloss on tour. Ahead of his latest Edinburgh Fringe show, Stuff Protocol, Kai takes five questions from Giggle Beats.

Last time we spoke you were getting trampled on by a hoard of bulls in Pamplona – have you been keeping out of trouble since then?

Ha! I wouldn’t quite say keeping out of trouble; since then I’ve got matching tattoos with Carl Donnelly whilst on a drunken bender in Australia, when we were out there performing for Best of the Edinburgh Fest at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. And just last week I woke up on a beach in Benidorm with a hangover and a tan line where my (now stolen) wrist watch used to be.

Getting into trouble keeps life colourful, and I’ve managed to keep the grim reaper at arms length whilst getting up to mischief this year. We’ve all heard the story of Icarus, and that little stampede I got caught up in was close enough to the sun for me.

You’ve been touring with Daniel Sloss for a couple of years and now you live with him in Edinburgh – how have you not killed each other yet? Do you think working so closely with Daniel has made you – or him – a better comic?

We get along exceptionally well! You’d think with his cynicism and my optimism there’d be some static, but sparks are yet to fly. I wouldn’t worry about him killing me – he is as weak as a small child. Maybe he’s plotting something. But as long as he’s still offering me tour support I think I’ll let him live.

I think we definitely improve each other as comedians because we bounce all of our ideas off each other and provide absolutely honest feedback without the worry of it being taken the wrong way. Also there’s not many situations where another comic will see you perform 50 times in a row, that person’s input is invaluable.

Tell us about Stuff Protocol…

I wanted to call the show Fuck Protocol but due to protocol I couldn’t. It would have limited where I could promote my show, providing a sweet irony to my newly titled show Stuff Protocol. It’s actually quite fitting because, although in my hour I will be questioning protocol, systems and etiquette, and my natural tendency to rebel against such social boundaries, I also talk about the necessities of some of life’s protocols and how, as I find out, they can be a matter of life and death.

What challenges did you face in writing the show?

The story I focus on to close the show is of a quite personal, life-defining moment in which I saved a man’s life when I was 19. It’s an event that has shaped who I am and has been part of me for well over a decade, but in the half of that decade I have been performing stand-up, I’ve never drawn on it as a topic for comedy.

But this year I’ve stepped up to the challenge of finding the humour in the story without embellishing it or being distasteful. This year I want to strip back the layers and show my audience a bit more of what makes me, me. And that, for me, is the biggest challenge and the ultimate goal.

What are your plans after Edinburgh? Back on tour with Daniel?

After Edinburgh I’m going to be clocking a lot of air miles. For the remainder of 2014 I have a bunch of overseas gigs in Dublin, Tenerife and the Middle East, as well as a 21-day European tour with Daniel which starts in the Autumn where we’ll be visiting cities like Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris to name just a fraction.

And yes, my Geordie accent will need a lot of work to be understood in some of these countries. Daniel [Sloss] finds it hilarious that he bought me English lessons for my birthday. I’m not even going to speculate on what 2015 holds, this time last year I couldn’t have imagined all that has happened in the last year.

Kai Humphries: Stuff Protocol, Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh, 30 July – 25 August, 6.45pm, £12.50/£10 concessions,