Filming an episode of Never Mind The Buzzcocks November 20th, Joey Page is an up and coming comedian with a surreal style that’s seen him compared to Noel Fielding. Andrew Nicholls had a chat with him.
You appeared on Never Mind The Buzzcocks back in November last year; who was there? What was it like? Did you struggle to show yourself off and be funny?
I was on with Noel Fielding and Pixie Lott against Chris Ramsey, Phill Jupitus and Example. Tinie Tempah was the host and it was the first time I’d ever been on Telly. I got it because I’d been working on Noel’s Luxury Comedy program on E4 and he was like “I bet I can get you on” and I was like “There is no way you can get me on, no one knows who I am”. I turned up for it on the day and a woman took me through to see Noel and she was like “Noel, Joey’s here” and he was like “who’s Joey?”, she was like “You know, Joey Page, you told me to book him” and he was like “You didn’t actually book him did you? I was joking”. The woman’s face just dropped. He was just joking, obviously. Noel gave me loads of good advice about how to get on and it helped having one of my mates on my team. He was encouraging me to say stuff all the time. You film it for about three hours so you just keep talking. I just went for the scattergun approach of just talking and talking. I think it went alright.
You’ve been described as being “very Noel Fielding”. A lot of people seem to use that as a barb to smack you with but what does it mean to you?
I’d rather be compared to someone like that than Jim Davidson. It’s the style I half chose to go down the road of and also it’s just the way my mind works. I couldn’t write a normal joke to save my life so I just write long, rambling ideas. I’ve got a south-east London accent and I’m lucky enough to work with Noel so I guess people just put those two things together. I don’t mind, as long as people aren’t saying I’m blatantly shit!
He’s quoted as saying “Joey has a sonic imagination and a twinkle in his eye”. What’s he like?
He’s just the nicest guy. I did a gig with him about four years ago and he said “Your remind me of me when I was younger. I’m going to keep an eye on you because we’ve got to stick together us weirdoes”. I just thought “Ok yeah, whatever mate” but he took my number and every couple of months dropped me a text to see how I was doing. He’s just really nice and he looks after me really well. He gives me chances other people wouldn’t. I think he knows how it feels so I’m lucky because he probably didn’t have anyone like that. He’s a true original which is hard to be nowadays. In the last five years I would only say that Paul Foot, Tony Law and Andrew Lawrence are truly different. Everyone else is just a shadow of someone else.
You’re bound to get asked who your heroes are quite a lot. So, who are they?
Massively Reeves and Mortimer. When I was a little kid I used to watch them and me and a friend used to remake what we saw. That’s what got me into weird comedy. I always used to think stand-up was pretty boring, but then I saw Harry Hill on Lee Hurst’s Saturday Night Live. They became big influences before I even knew I wanted to be a comedian.
Have you ever played after anybody that was particularly hard to follow?
I did Leeds festival three years ago and Jack Whitehall was on before me. I’d known him when he was just coming through so I just thought “oh, it’s just Jack”, but a lot of people had come just to see him. There were about a thousand people crammed in this tent for him and when I went on stage there was probably only two hundred people left. They were heckling and throwing stuff at me. I lost my temper a bit.
Hecklers can be a real problem for some. How do you deal with them?
I have a couple of diversionary tactics; I talk really fast and I don’t have a set pattern so it’s hard for people to work out when to chuck something at me. Also, I wear a hat on stage so it’s usually something to do with that so I’m usually prepared. The rest of the time if I think they’re going to be particularly nasty I have a joke about how people shouldn’t heckle me because I might burst into tears. At least then the female half of the audience normally goes “awww he’s nice, let’s leave him alone”.
You supposedly have a look that styles you as a comic Pete Doherty. Explain that.
I wear lots of blazers and hats so when I walk down the street people often go “eurgh, Pete Doherty”, but I don’t look anything like him. I had a review once said that I looked like him off the drugs; i.e. fatter. It’s just a reference point for people really.
Why do people call your stand-up surreal, and why should anyone bother paying to see you?
I guess because it is. I never talk about stuff that’s actually happened. There’s so many people doing jokes and that’s great but I don’t think the world needs another guy telling normal jokes. It’s just a shitty old world so at least if you’re watching me I’m not going to bring up the stuff that’s pissed you off during the day.