“A life without hummus isn’t a life worth living” | Ben Hodge on his plans for 2022, comedy and his nuclear bunker

How did you get into comedy?

I was always that class clown in school (typical backstory, innit) and I was obsessed with watching stand-up comedy from like the age of 14, it was something I always wanted to try performing stand-up but never knew how to go about it.

When I went to uni at Salford, I joined the comedy society and was really excited to see people a similar age to me out there performing. I wrote my first set and got on stage at the Uni’s comedy night, and loved the buzz it gave me. And I’ve just been loving it ever since

Give us the rundown on your comedy career so far?

Oof where to start? I’ve been gigging for nearly 3 years at the time of the Blizzard Comedy gig. I’ve beaten the frog, performed at XS Malarkey, Blizzard Comedy in Feb 2020, and did a 2-week run in Edinburgh in 2019 with a compilation show as well as performing at 2 gigs in Edinburgh this year! I’ve also gigged in Lincoln at the Chortle Student Comedy competition (which I got people’s choice for in 2019!) and recently at the Bradford Fringe and at Laugh Tracks in Cambridge.

There’s that many gigs, honestly you’re better looking at my instagram to see where I’ve been (which is @benton_media, this could be a shameless piece of self-promotion, but it’s actually ‘cos I can’t think of anywhere else I’ve gigged).

Where are you right now in your life and career?

What a question! So I’m writing this whilst working as a youth worker as well as freelancing in acting and comedy. By this point, I will have performed in my first professional acting role in a play called ‘The T-Word’ by Dian Cathal and hopefully will have a few more gigs lined up.

I’m also hoping that, when people read this, I will be living with my partner and hopefully we’ll be finding/living in a place of our own!

How are you feeling about comedy as an industry as we approach the end of 2021?

I feel quite positive, with the few gigs I’ve done after the lifting of restrictions, people seem to be itching for any form of live performance. I think audiences are bored of online shows and just want to experience the atmosphere and collective joy that comedy nights can bring. I think it’s definitely going in a direction where audience’s physical safety is being more considered so they are no longer being squished into a tiny room, but also their mental health as people begin to understand that offensive comedy isn’t ‘dark humour’, it’s just a shitty way to gain a cheap laugh.

What are your hopes for performing in 2022?

My hope is, by the end of 2022, I’ll have at least 30 mins of stand-up written and ready to test out and I will have gigged in a few more locations. Also I hope to gig more in London and maybe even go up to the Fringe again for as long as I possibly can. But we’ll see.

What’s the funniest joke you’ve ever heard (and who told you it)?

Hmmmm good question, the funniest joke I have to mention would be from my dad (because if I didn’t mention it here, there’s a high chance I could be disowned and my free bus pass taken away 😛 )

A guy walks into the bar with a newt on his shoulder
The bar man says ‘what’s your newt called mate?’
The guy says ‘tiny’
Bar man goes ‘why dya call him tiny?’
‘’Cos he’s minute!’

(minute? My-newt? Idk if it works written down but here we are.)

Would you rather give up underwear (including socks) or shampoo?

This is difficult as I do love a jazzy sock but also I don’t trust my hair without shampoo.

Feck it, shampoo. I’ll just tattoo my feet with fun designs.

What would you hoard in your own nuclear bunker?

Interesting, probably like Haribo Giant Strawbs, Cadbury Twirl, Galaxy Ripple and board games. And also nachos and hummus… a life without hummus isn’t a life worth living.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in comedy now?

One thing I was really worried about when I started was dying on my arse and getting no laughs and people seeing me as a failure. I have died on my arse, but I am yet to be seen as a failed comic because of it. Don’t worry if your material doesn’t work in front of a crowd, allow yourself a moment to maybe think about what you could’ve done differently but then don’t dwell on it. It’s one gig, and chances are you’ll smash the next!

Have you got anything exciting coming up that we should look out for?

I’ll be performing as part of an improvised musical on October 26th and November 30th at the Peer Hat. Not sure where tickets are available but chances are I will post about it on my Insta @benton_media when they go live! Come along to watch some made-up madness with made-up songs!

Ben is performing at Blizzard on Monday 4th October at Gullivers.

Book your ticket here.

This interview – along with more interviews, comics, articles and puzzles – is available to buy as a digital or physical zine. Get yours from the Blizzard Comedy BigCartel here.

You can keep up with Ben’s work by following him on Twitter and Instagram.

%d bloggers like this: