Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Tuesday 02 February 2021

Comedian John Bishop Set To Return To The Brighton Centre With More Universal Tales For Everyday Folks

If Liverpudlian comedian John Bishop seems relaxed onstage that is because he is. Storytelling comes as naturally as taking a breath to this former semi-professional footballer.

"I just want to recreate the feeling of talking to my mates in the pub," says Bishop. 

"I know it sounds odd doing it in front of 16,000 people, but I can."

It's many years ago now when Bishop was chatting about his family and the trouble with travelling on budget airlines where the tea costs more than the flight, and playing to tiny audiences.

At one gig there were only five people. He suggested giving them all a refund, until the promoter said only two of them had paid.

Bishop was being unfair on himself for comic effect when he joked that he had not achieved much. 

For a working-class son of a docker he did well, becoming sales director for a leading pharmaceutical company.

But he chucked it in to have a crack at comedy. In 2000 he was separated from his wife Melanie and found himself in the Frog and Bucket club in Manchester on a talent night.

He spontaneously decided to do a few minutes and left to rapturous applause after half an hour.

"All I was doing was talking about my divorce," Bishop recalls. 

"At a later gig Melanie was in the audience and she was clearly impressed because they got back together."

Things do not always go to plan with Bishop. Once when he performed in front of a sell-out 16,000 crowd at London's O2 Arena, he only decided what he would talk about onstage a few minutes before going on.

"When I found out I was being introduced by James Corden I went on and talked about how I went to the Brits party with him and Freddie Flintoff and met Robbie Williams.

"And then in the morning our picture was in the papers and one of them had the caption, 'James Corden with Bez from The Happy Mondays'" 


Building up a loyal live following comes first. The other problem about appearing on television is that it eats up material.

"I won't do routines at gigs that I've done on television. I'm essentially a storyteller not a joketeller, so I have to keep coming up with new stories.

"To me comedy is like being a magician, once they know the rabbit is coming out of the hat they won't care. 

"I want people to keep coming to see me and not think there is no point because I've already said it all on telly."

Being more mature than a lot of comedians Bishop has an interesting past to draw on.

After studying politics at Manchester Polytechnic he cycled around the world, was a midfielder for Hyde United and did some soccer coaching in America, but returned because he had problems with women. 

"They couldn't understand my accent. They thought I was Hungarian."

He puts his treacle thick brogue down to the fact that when he was ten his family moved to Runcorn, where kids tried to 'out-Scouse' each other to remind people where they came from.

Eventually he 'blagged' his way into the pharmaceutical business pretending he had the right A levels and ended up with a company car and all the trappings, but he was unhappy.

That talent night in 2000 changed everything.

Comedy for Bishop is a dream come true, but it also helped him to fulfill another ambition.

In 2009 he pulled on the famous red shirt and appeared alongside his Anfield heroes at a Hillsborough benefit.

He even made a few decent passes. So would he swap his comedy success for a professional football career?

It is the only time during the interview that he has to pause before answering.

"I'd swap all the telly, but there are very few things I would swap for being onstage. 

"I love the feedback from an audience and I love the feeling of being a one-man gunslinger. 

"If I could have been Steven Gerrard that's different but to be in the Third Division maybe not."

And now John Bishop is heading to The Brighton Centre, on Wednesday 16th and Thursday 17th March 2022. with his eighth show, Right Here, Right Now. 

"After the months we've all endured, it feels like a lifetime since I last performed in front of a live audience. 

"There's nothing like stand-up comedy to put a smile back on your face, so I can't wait to get back out on the road to perform this new show across the UK, Ireland and around the world."

To purchase tickets CLICK HERE.

by: Mike Cobley




Share    

Credit Kuba Dabrowski

New Writing South launches a brand-new LGBTQ+ online book group this week. The Hear Us Out Book Group is part of New Writing South's Hear Us Out project, an online programme celebrating older LGBTQ+ people's real-life stories.
Credit J McArthur

A new survey conducted by Born Free has conducted a survey which reveals that nearly 4,000 dangerous wild animals are being privately kept in Great Britain – 124 of which are living in Sussex. 

As always, Fun Lovin' Criminals, the multi-platinum New York trio have plenty to celebrate, but the opportunity to escape the lockdown gloom of the past year and party with fans in Brighton, later this year, is what's fueling their current optimism.

Bulgarian artist Vera Hadzhiyska was chosen to exhibit in the In Between Gallery - a temporary gallery in Fabrica's large window space, showing contemporary photography in the heart of Brighton's busy city centre for all who pass by.

Twenty-five years on from the release of the band's debut single, Mogwai's tenth studio album As The Love Continues opened at number one on the UK Official Albums Chart, their first chart topping album.



Brighton and Hove Food Partnership is partnering with WRAP, the UK's leading sustainability charity, as it begins its inaugural Food Waste Action Week.  
Credit © Charles Jeffrey

The Horrors make their long-awaited return with new single Lout, the title track of a 3-track EP due next month.
Credit: Donald Milne

Endless Arcade is the upcoming eleventh studio album by Scottish band Teenage Fanclub. It is the band's first record since the departure of co-founder Gerard Love in late 2018 and their first with former Gorky's Zygotic Mynci member Euros Childs. 

The Alarm's new album WAЯ was completed last Friday, and is now available from the world's digital music suppliers. 
Credit Nicole Nodla

When lockdown was declared in March 2020, Paul Weller decided he wanted something to focus on, since it seemed unlikely he'd be able to tour his then latest album On Sunset as planned that summer.
Credit Christa-Holka

An art project and community enterprise that looks at innovative solutions to the often-ignored problem of illness, intimacy, sexual function and pleasure, has been launched. 
Kerry Banks - Martha Trust

Mary House in Hastings, part of Martha Trust, is the third recipient of the PS&B community charity grant campaign.

Arab Strap's new single Here Comes Comus! is an ode to the debauched night out that the band's singer Aidan Moffat is missing in current times.
Credit Carlotta Luke

Brighton Dome has revealed the latest stage in the refurbishment of the Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre. The Grade I and Grade II listed buildings, located on the historic Royal Pavilion Estate, are being revitalised as arts venues and facilities in the centre of Brighton. 

Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd