NORTH Eastern filum star Dave Johns, 2016 winner of the BIFA for Best Actor for his lead role in Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake, headlines two comedy bills in York on Saturday.
The 8pm show in The Basement, at City Screen, York, has sold out already, so Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club master of ceremonies and programmer Damion Larkin has added a 5pm gig (doors, 4.30pm). Joining Johns and Larkin on both bills will be Jamie D’Souza, Becky Umbers and Phil Carr.
After more than half a lifetime in theatre and stand-up comedy (since 1989), Johns was picked by political filmmaker Loach to play Daniel Blake, a 59-year-old widowed carpenter, who must rely on welfare after a heart attack. Despite his doctor declaring him unfit to work, he is denied Employment and Support Allowance benefits and told to return to his job.
Johns gave an unforgettable performance but still he pounds the comedy beat, guesting on the comedy panel shows Never Mind The Buzzcocks (BBC2) and 8 Out Of Ten Cats (Channel 4) too.
Johns has played the major comedy clubs and comedy festivals, from Ireland’s Kilkenny Comedy Festival to Montreal’s Just For Laughs Comedy Festival and the Adelaide Fringe and Melbourne Comedy Festival in Australia. He has worked on stage in the Middle East, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Johannesburg, Sydney, New York, Amsterdam and the Arctic too.
As well as a comedian, he is a scriptwriter whose credits include the stage adaptation of Stephen King’s novel The Shawshank Redemption, co-written with Owen O’Neill.
He has acted on the West End stage with Christian Slater in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, as well as starring in Twelve Angry Men and The Odd Couple (with Bill Bailey and Alan Davies) at the Assembly Theatre, Edinburgh.
He is producing his own stage adaptation of Paul Laverty’s script for I, Daniel Blake, now on its UK premiere tour, playing the Courtyard Theatre at Leeds Playhouse until Saturday (7.45pm plus 2pm tomorrow and 2.30pm on Saturday; box office 0113 213 7700 or leedsplayhouse.org.uk).
Emerging from a musical background, support act Jamie D’Souza started performing comedy in the summer of 2016, reaching the finals of the So You Think You’re Funny? and Musical Comedy awards, as well as being shortlisted for the BBC New Comedy Award.
Mixing short stories and one-liners, he covers veganism, his mixed-race heritage and coming to terms with entering adulthood. He has appeared on the BBC Asian Network’s Stand Up Show and performs at clubs across the UK, such as the Comedy Store and Up The Creek.
Becky Umbers mixes storytelling and quirky observations in her “unique take on life with the voice to match”. Already a big deal down under in Australia, now she is a medium-size deal in the UK and Europe. Phil Carr favours dark humour in a deadpan delivery.
Tickets for the 5pm show are on sale at £19 (£23 on the door) at lolcomedyclubs.co.uk or in person at The Basement. The next LOL Comedy Club night at The Basement will be on November 4.