Now in its 12th edition, Latitude Festival once again sets the bar high for summer festivals with the largest comedy line up in the UK, offering festival goers an unrivalled opportunity to see the world’s most globally acclaimed comedians, alongside emerging talent and innovative newcomers. Latitude Festival takes place on 13th – 16th July in the stunning grounds of Henham Park, Suffolk.
With a great line up of acts, Latitude has booked a host of diverse comedic talent. One of those comedians, is the up and coming Darren Harriott who has appeared on Russell Howard’s Stand Up Central, supporting Jimmy Carr. He also supported Funmbi Omotayo on his national tour. He’s performed at the Edinburgh Festival 2016, as part of the prestigious Pleasance Reserve, where he featured on the comedy show, BBC Radio 4 Extra Stands Up.
#TBB10 spoke to Darren to talk all things festival and comedy…
1# Introduce yourself…
I’m from a tiny place called Brandhall in Oldbury in Birmingham B68 massive! My grandparents are from Jamaica but my parents and myself were born here.
2# When did you realise you were funny and who was the first person to say ‘hey… you’re funny’?
In school, always make friends laugh and being the entertaining fat guy with braces for the ladies trying to “lol” my way into making them think I was attractive (it never worked).
3# If you could come back as any comedian living or passed, who would that be?
Maybe Lenny Bruce. His comedy doesn’t hold up today, but he was arrested for jokes and seen as a dangerous comedian. Nowadays comics would kill for that kind of publicity and edge; most comedians try and be edgy by wearing a leather jacket on stage and think they’re Bill Hicks … I do occasionally wear a leather jacket on stage haha.
4# The journey of a comedian seems split between a life on the road, a life of TV sitcoms, or blockbuster movies Kevin Hart style… What’s your plan?
Just enough fans for a tour, and to feel like I’m truly being me on stage; as honest as I can be, then I will be happy. I think the bigger you get, the more responsibility you have, it can impact your material and who you really wanna be as you get scared of losing what you have, based on your honesty. I don’t want that, so if I stay true to myself always – I will be happy. But yeah wouldn’t mind my own show.
5# What’s your journey been like as a Black British male comedian – Are there expectations of what type of jokes you tell how do you keep your material fresh and not bow to expectations ?
I always feel pressure when I see other black British comics do TV shows, especially stand up – live at the Apollo etc. as I just think “do it for us”. I believe black people are judged by what a person does, so I think, if he does a good job then everyone will think black comedians are good and deserve more opportunities. But in terms of myself, I never really did much gigs on the black circuit a few when I started and that was really it. I always think, what do they wanna hear? What do they not expect to hear? I always go with the latter. I get a real thrill out of destroying people’s expectations… just ask my mum.
6# How important is it for you to be appearing at an event like Latitude, are you a festival guru, or will this be your first time?
I used to work as a security guard and I have worked security at most festivals over the last 8 years except Latitude so I know what to expect, and how things are. It will be my first time performing at one [and] I’m looking forward to it; it’s always nice swearing outdoors isn’t it?
7# Can you tell us anything about what you have planned for your moment?
A lot of energy mixed with intensity.
8# How do you control the nerves; Are hecklers a real issue; how do you deal with a lukewarm to unresponsive crowd?
I don’t really get nervous any more; more excited for this room of strangers to hear what I have to say and either get on board with me or not. I’m ok with unresponsive crowds it’s nice to yell at them “this is gold!” I know my goal in comedy is beyond whatever this gig is. Some comedians can take it to heart but my heart is usually icy, so it’s all good.
9# Who are you looking forward to seeing at Latitude?
I’m not much of an explorer. I’m very much a couple drinks backstage talk crap with the other acts kinda guy.
10# When you get home from Latitude the first thing you’re going to do is…
Clean my trainers and ears.
Latitude Festival runs at Henham Park from 13 Jul – 16 Jul 2017. See full line-up and book tickets here.