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To get our readers ready for the hopeful return of live comedy to Peterborough as lockdown eases, our resident comedy columnist Sarah Slack spoke to comedian Darren Walsh who hails from the city about the impact of Covid on the comedy industry, what he doesn’t miss about attending the Edinburgh Fringe, and his favourite lockdown inspired one-liners…

ESP: What were your plans for 2020 had lockdown not happened?  Did you have to cancel many gigs, and have any of them been rescheduled? 

Darren: “I was planning on going to the Edinburgh fringe, Brighton fringe, Buxton fringe, Shaftesbury fringe, Bath Comedy Festival as well as a load of other gigs. So yeah, a lot has changed but hopefully things will be running again in 2021.”

Have you been watching any other comedians, podcasts, or comedy shows during lockdown?

“I honestly had so little time for that. I kept reading about how much time everyone had on their hands but for me it was the opposite as I was full-time daddy day care. I’ve written a lot of sketches, which I will now hopefully get the chance to film.”

Have you taken up any hobbies or picked up any new skills during lockdown?

“I’m much better at cooking now, I’ve mastered the art of batch cooking and really appreciate Tupperware.”

What were your plans for Edinburgh this year?  Did you plan to bring a show to the festival, and if so what was its theme?

“Actually for Edinburgh this year I hadn’t written a new show, I was planning an improv hour of jokes off audience topics. Next year’s show is going to be about space. The working title is ‘3rd Rock from the Pun’.”

Is there anything that you didn’t miss about attending the Fringe this year?

“Flyering in the rain, constantly comparing yourself to your peers and being away from family.”

How important has it been for you to continue producing jokes and creating comedy at the moment, and have you found it difficult?

“I found it difficult due to having less time, but I have written a lot of new jokes now, I can’t wait to road test them!”

How has your approach to performing stand-up comedy changed as a result of Covid-19, and would you ever consider taking to platforms such as YouTube and Twitch to perform shows in future?

I haven’t looked at Twitch yet, but I would say it’s hastened my ambition to create more stuff online. Every comedian has a podcast now so it’s a bit cliche, but I am currently writing one.”

What are you looking forward to doing most when lockdown is over?

“It would be nice to perform to a packed crowd again.”

Finally, do you have any Covid-inspired jokes that could lift our readers’ spirits that you could share?!

“Yes! Here are a few…”

  1. No one really understands why COVID-19 infection rates are so complicated. They just R.

  2. I asked my hairdresser how her biceps had gotten so big…. She said she’d spent most of the lockdown doing curls.

  3. Just came back from the supermarket….  ‪Everybody seemed really spaced out.

  4. ‪I can tell you how this coronavirus started straight off the bat.

  5. They called it a novel virus because it keeps everyone indoors reading books.

  6. ‪Went shopping for a Hoover that could cure coronavirus… There was no vac seen.

  7. My partner and I said hi to everyone in the shopping queue… They were really happy two metres.

  8. Anyone got a solution to this Covid thing? I’ve herd immunity works.

  9. Right, time to catch up on the news of this virus thing, starting from 17 November in Wuhan… I want to watch it corona-logically.

  10. Mick: Why have you named your bear ‘Covid’?   Me: Cos it’s a panda, Mick.

Photo: Portrait photo by Steve Ullathorne, other images from Darren’s own video sketch

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