Trials and tribulations of a real northern joker
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
AFTER 20 years on the road, comedian Justin Moorhouse has no intention of resting on his laurels.
A relative late-starter at 29, he will bring his latest show, Northern Joker, to The Witham, Barnard Castle, on Saturday, January 26.
It represents something of a departure from his previous work.
“I wrote the show for the Edinburgh Festival with a view to taking it on tour but for the first time ever, I have worked with a script editor,” he says.
“It was the first time I have trusted myself to let somebody in and it was interesting to hear what a script editor would take out of the show.”
Fortunately for editor and performer, both are happy with the end result.
“The show is much better for it.
“It’s given the show more heart and I am not always looking for the quick laughs,” adds Justin.
It has also given the show more structure, he adds.
The material is taken from much of his his own trials and tribulations, whether that is dealing with a son in his early 20s and a teenage daughter, or life as a Lancastrian vegan.
A fan of the likes of Peter Kay and Johnny Vegas, Justin had been ploughing a furrow as a salesman for transport companies throughout his 20s before he realised a change was needed.
“It’s only when I look back that I realise how unhappy I was.”
His first step to a career in stand-up was at an open mic night.
“The first time was great, the second time was terrible and the third was okay,” he recalls.
“I did really well, really quickly. I got a lot of chances and opportunities – but you have to take them.”
Over the years, he has done “bits of TV” and radio and since 2013 has produced a weekly podcast of his musings entitled About 30 Minutes; No More Than 45, but it is on the road that he continues to build a following.
Rather than going over old ground, he continues to produce new shows.
“Locally (in the north west) I do quite well.
“I could do half an hour of my best material and that could be my act which I could do every weekend and have a reasonable kind of life.”
He adds: “But that would not be fulfilling.
“You have to be creative and write a new couple of shows every couple of years.
“If I sell 200 tickets here (Barnard Castle), I would be chuffed.”
Justin Moorhouse: Northern Joke, is suitable for ages 14-plus.
Tickets are £14 or £5 for the unwaged, available online at www.funnywaytobe.com or at The Witham box office on 01833 631107.