MOST performers dream of a career on stage, tailoring life choices to reach their ultimate goal, but comedian Michael Fabbri says he fell into comedy as it was the only thing he was any good at.
The Brighton-based stand-up, who comes to Leigh comedy club Three Flying Ducks at the end of the month, says: “I did always like that sort of thing. I wasn’t really good at anything else.
“I was terrible at school, but I was good at drama. I could make people laugh a bit. It was one of the few things I had any aptitude for. It was the only thing I was any good at at school, so that’s what I did.”
But it wasn’t an easy ride. Five years after he first stepped on stage at an open mic spot he was finally able to give up working in a job centre and embark on a full-time career as a comic.
He says: “I did my first gig about ten years ago and it was quite a momentous occasion. I didn’t do another gig for about eight months. It was silly really. You’ve got to do it three or four times a week to get any good at it.
“You do lots of these open spots then you do slightly longer sets. People come to see you and eventually start paying you. “It’s quite simple really. It’s just a long process as it takes ages to come up with new jokes that will make a room full of people laugh.
Michael soon learnt being a comedian does involve a bit of suffering for your art.
What the audience like best isn’t always what you think is funniest. He admits sometimes you end up with a set you don’t even like yourself, but it goes down a storm with a crowd. He says: “You have to be careful. If you do things that die, even if you then make them laugh, it won’t work.”
As well as his own stand-up, Michael has teamed up with fellow Brighton comic Angela Barnes, who won BBC2’s New Comedy Award earlier this year, and has enjoyed a high-profile ever since.
He says: “I’m also doing some writing with Angela. We’re trying to get things on the telly and do a podcast.
“We’ve been working together for about a year and what we’ve been doing is writing a lot of stuff for her shows – she’s got all these radio and TV appearances to do. We’ve also been writing a lot of sketches and TV shows. We’ve got our fingers in lots of pies.”
Michael admits he’s always trying to get Angela to drop in a few of his ruder bits of material into her sets, although she’s not always keen.
He laughs: “The type of material I do is not really the type of material she does. I’m always trying to get her to say really rude things she doesn’t want to say. I persuaded her to the other week, but the audience hated it.”
Michael describes his pared-down, slightly awkward style as a mix of observational comedy and silly gags.
He’s seen a steady build-up of fans after three successful Edinburgh shows, where he captured audiences with his deconstructive approach to making bizarre merriment out of the most unlikely, everyday things.
He gave the festival a miss last year and says there are lots of other options for comedians – he took a slightly more exotic trip to India, where he visited the Comedy Store out there.
Michael says: “They’re very appreciative. They like comedy a lot. The only problem is occasionally you’ll say something you’ve not really realised is never going to work because they don’t know what it is.
“Take Rice Crispies. There’s no way that could work. Rice Crispies are so obscure to an Indian audience. It didn’t just get a small laugh, it failed completely. They were just staring at me.
“But they really like quite rude humour. I think the culture is for maybe a slightly more strict upbringing, so they really like to just relax and let loose.”
Michael Fabbri Three Flying Ducks Twixmas Party, The Ship, New Road, Old Leigh.
December 29, 8pm £8 advance from the Book Inn, Broadway West, Leigh.
or £10 on the door