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Interview: Chris Addison

PUBLISHED: 08:48 16 December 2011

Chris Addison

Chris Addison

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Chris Addison is back at Norwich Playhouse this weekend — and as usual, Norwich just can't get enough of the stand-up and star of The Thick of It. ABIGAIL SALTMARSH reports.

Stand-up comedian and television actor Chris Addison is back in Norwich this weekend – and for the first time ever he is going to have a chance to explore a little.

The funny man, and star of BAFTA-winning comedy The Thick of It and Oscar-nominated feature film In the Loop, is in the middle of a short run at Norwich Playhouse.

Chris, whose current 39-date national tour is called The Time is Now, Again, has appeared in Norwich before.

But such is his current popularity that not only was he booked for three nights this week, but an extra date in February has also been laid on as tickets have sold so fast.

“It is great to be here for a bit longer this time – and to be coming back in February,” he said. “I have visited the city before but you get a very odd view of a place when you just visit to do one show. This time I have a few trips planned.”

Chris has been performing stand-up comedy since 1995, when he won the City Life Comedian of the Year Award, a stand-up competition in the North West.

His first solo show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe was in 1998 and he found himself nominated for Best Newcomer at the Perrier Awards.

He continued to take shows to the Fringe for several years, scooping two Perrier Award nominations.

“For a few years I wrote a show and toured with it every year,” he said. “Then I decided to have a break for a while.

“When I came back to it, I decided to change things a little, and not to make it so themed.

“So this one is more general - it has the jokes, lines, stories and some political stuff but it is a bit more varied.”

And he added: “Doing it this way means it can evolve a bit more as the tour progresses. Also, if you have a themed show, you have to work within certain parameters while you are writing it, whereas without one, you just pick up a pen and a piece of paper, and off you go.”

The tour runs through into the new year and then Chris will start busying himself with his television work.

He is familiar to audiences from his appearances on shows such as Channel 4’s Skins, and the BBC’s Have I Got News For You and Live at the Apollo.

He also made appearances as a guest panellist on Mock the Week numerous times during 2010 and 2011, before becoming a full-time panellist in September.

And, of course, plays Ollie in the BBC 2 television satire The Thick of It and Toby in its spin-off film In the Loop.

“There should be more of The Thick of It next year and I hope more Mock the Week,” said Chris, who also co-created and starred in the BBC 2 sitcom Lab Rats.

“I like being involved in lots of different things. I loved doing the stand-up and then the acting just happened.

“It has been nice though because in something like The Thick of It you are part of a gang whereas stand-up can be something of a solitary activity.

“But then the other side is that in stand-up you are the final arbiter – you make the decisions.”

Chris is also the author of two books - It Wasn’t Me and Cautionary Tales for Grown-Ups - and has starred in numerous radio shows, including the Sony Award-winning The Ape That Got Lucky, on BBC Radio 4.

“I am very lucky that my job is pretty much exactly as I would like it to be,” he admitted.

“I get to visit lots of places like Norwich and perform in front of live audiences, and I am also able to appear in programmes, such as Mock the Week and The Thick of It.

“I couldn’t really ask for more than that really, could I?”

■ Chris Addison is appearing at Norwich Playhouse tonight and tomorrow, returns only. Tickets are still available for an extra show on February 1, £20, 01603 598598, www.norwichplayhouse.co.uk

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