Interview with Jacob Hatton: “I have never made any man laugh outside a pub”

Hello! How would you describe your comedy to a middle manager from Dunstable, should the need arise as hopefully it never will?

Imaginative stand up with a dreamy twist (the dream is the bad one where you are late to an exam and also naked) 

You’ve been described as hyper-absurdist, possibly by me, a fictional owl. Is this a fair description?

Honestly, probably not. I’m far to observational for the cool music-room kid comedians, but too alternative for the mainstream rooms. Plus ca change. I am once again, an innovator, a trail blazer, just some guy. 

Who were your comedy heroes when you were shorter than you are now, and are you anything like them at all?

I am as good as, if not better than my comedy inspiration, when someone falls over with a big tray of drinks in a busy room. 

I’m also a big fan of the recently departed Sean Lock who could do it all, pathos, hilarity and everything in between. 

Can you think of a eureka moment, when you realised that you could channel your ability to be funny into something more profound than making some men laugh outside a pub?

I have never made any man laugh outside a pub. But inside for money. I actually think I’m still waiting for that Eureka moment. I’ve always loved comedy, and I want to do it but I don’t think there’s ever been a lightbulb that told me, I really can. I see it more like woodwork, or problem solving, something you practice and play with. 

Why do you think the need to be funny is buried so deep within the British psyche? The Germans, for example, can be very funny indeed but there seems no similar universal urge in their culture.

And yet German comedy is extremely good and a lot of what passes for humour amongst British people is truly dreadful. Comedy likes to see itself as transgressive, but sadly, as this is Britain I think actually it’s the acceptance of humour amongst its elites that has made it so universal. “Good conversation”, and being “a wit” has always been a solid upper class thing to do.

Our greatest early satirists like Swift of Waugh were at absolute best whiggish in their politics. I think though what sets us most apart is our language. We’re a polyglot nation who only speak one language. We beg, steal and borrow and delight in the inventive flair of slang and ribaldry.

I see that you’ve written for Newsjack, and also that newsjack has been cancelled. Do you feel it was indeed time for it to be boiled down for glue, and what would you like the BBC to replace it with, as the corporation’s only open submission comedy show?

Newsjack was shit but it was also one of the few defined ways into becoming a comedy writer of sorts. But my only request, please, not more topical comedy? I get that it’s a convenient hanger for everything else but I hate it. 

Picture the scene. You’re a ghost. You’re haunting a fairly well-to-do family in a detached house in Surrey. What would you do to most shit them up?

Remind the no doubt Tory Surrey freeholders that as a ghost that is at some level property ownership. 

This is your first time performing at Factually Inaccurate, south London’s premiere owl-run sketch and character comedy night. How well have we explained our own remit to you?

I imagine I’ll find out!

We haven’t sold many tickets yet, unusually, which is leading me to panic that this will be a terrible show. So to make me feel better, what was the worst show you ever did, and what on earth happened?

I was booked for a fringe show in Brighton. The venue owner told us they had marketed. We found one poster outdoors wrapped round a pole. There was no upstairs or separate room.

The venue didn’t turn the music off and they were showing football. They placed a microphone in the middle of some families having dinner who had no idea that there would be a comedy show happening. We were not, let’s be honest, welcome.

That’s it! Please use the space below to either say something extremely profound or to plug whatever it is you would like our readers to know about.

I’m back to writing some silly stories on my fiction substack: Jacob’s Story Hatton .

You can also follow me on @jacobshaton on Twitter/Instagram/TikTok etc 🙂

Published by jamesofwalsh

My past blogs haunt the internet like ghost ships on a digital sea.

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