Monday 27 January 2020

Jack Whitehall: What’s in his family WhatsApp and on his Cheltenham rider

Jack Whitehall heads to Cheltenham in November 2019 for his work in progress performances as part of the Stood Up tour.

Heading to Cheltenham for two work in progress dates to support his new Stood Up tour this November, Jack Whitehall has been hard to miss this year. Following the success of his recent Netflix show Travels With My Father, and appearances in The Nutcracker and The Four Realms, Sky’s Bounty Hunters and _Amazon’s Good Omens, it’s surprising that Jack has time to embark on his biggest ever live tour, this winter.

Why have you decided to tour now?

Well, I felt like there had been enough of a gap since the last tour. I’ve been itching to get back on stage and I had some stories in mind so I did a few small gigs and they went well, and it went from there. It’s very hard to quit stand-up. I feel a very strong pull whenever I’ve had a break from it.

What can we expect from this tour?

As always, I like to have a good intro and a banging ending and some VTs in the middle and really throw everything that I can at the show to make it an amazing experience for everybody.
Each tour includes the same elements: a lot of humiliating stories about myself, some jokes, a dodgy impression, and a story about the royal family.

I end with one of the most candid and outrageous stories I’ve ever told. It’s about myself, and someone else, who may or may not be my father. It will also feature my most ambitious finale to date. Each time I do a finale I think, ‘How will I top this?’, and on this occasion I think I have achieved that. It’s just the right level to give my tour manager heart palpitations every night.

The thing about stand-up is you have to go off in between tours and live your life and build up experiences that you can share on stage. But often if you’re working on sets or films, they’re quite hard places to find material that’s relatable or interesting.

But the great thing about this tour is that I’ve spent the last two years with my Dad going off to far-flung places, meeting weird and wonderful people and having quite insane experiences. That’s a great environment for sourcing material.


You’ve had to add dates to meet demand, including one here in Cheltenham – how does that feel?

Once I’ve written a tour, I love doing it as many times as I can, so expanding the show is great. I feel I’ve got a show now which is really good and so I want as many people as possible to see it.

What have you got on your rider?

Oh, nothing. It used to be Haribo for years, and I’d turn up at these trendy venues and there’d be packets of Haribo which was very embarrassing. I don’t bother any more but perhaps I should get a little bit like Mariah Carey and start demanding puppies.

Do your family come and watch you?

My dad comes to a few shows, and he’ll be making an appearance at some point, I’m sure. Despite how he comes across on our show, he’s actually very supportive and very game for a laugh. He always threatens to get litigious if I push it too far with my jokes but I think any publicity is good publicity so if he does take me to court for slander, it’ll just be good for the tour. Audiences know him now so that’s really nice. People are already aware of him so that makes the stories even funnier.

My mum will be at some of the shows, I expect, along with everyone she’s ever met because she’s very generous with her invitations. At some gigs half the arena is filled with my mum’s friends.

What’s the latest topic of discussion on your family WhatsApp group?

The last thing we talked about was pictures of Gregg Wallace’s body transformation because we’re a bit obsessed with him. He’s kind of a family hero. We love the way he eats puddings on MasterChef. Before that it was us banning my mum from using the word ‘banter’.

Do you ask their permission to tell stories about the family on your tour or do you just go ahead and say what you like?

There’s always an awkward lunch which happens just before the tour starts and I’ll run through some of the stories. It’s a tense negotiation. But I’ve now developed a system where I go through some really outrageous stories that I have no intention of telling on stage, and they’re the ones my family veto, then I sneak through the ones that I actually want to tell. It’s a very calculated tactic which thus far has worked very well.


Is your on-stage persona the same as the real you?

I think that’s what I’m like 30 per cent of the time in real life. Obviously, one can’t be like that all the time. But I try to stay pretty true to who I am. I’m a pretty upbeat guy with a sense of fun and mischief.


For more information, see Jack Whitehall at Cheltenham Racecourse or visit thejockeyclub.co.uk/jack-whitehall.

© SoGlos
Monday 11 November 2019

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