“My first memory is of comedy.” | Umby Winters on sharks, kittens and ten years (sort of) of comedy

How did you get into comedy?

My first memory is of comedy. When I was only a couple years old, my Dad would lie on the floor of our flat in North Shields and watch whatever was on that time of night. One night it was ‘The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer’ and I don’t remember what those silly lads were doing, but I remember loving it. From that moment on I just used to watch panel shows, sketch shows, and standup at every opportunity. Clearly at some point I just decided that it would be my life.

Give us the rundown on your comedy career so far?

I did my first gig at 17, at ‘Long Live Comedy’ at the Dog & Parrot in Newcastle. I just turned 27 so I guess you could say I’ve been doing standup for 10 years, but in those first 7-8 years I only did 60-70 gigs and it was mostly shit.

I say that my ‘career’ started when I moved to Manchester. I was only here for a year before Covid hit, so part of me still wants to say that I haven’t really hit my stride yet.

This zine is published October 2021. Where are you right now in your life and career?

Hard to say. At time of writing, I’m having a real rough time of things in my personal life. Many self-discoveries, many upheavals, many difficult conversations with people I love. My mental health is doing okay, though. I’ve been struggling with that for a few years but a combination of new meds and therapy have really helped me out. Seek help, folks! You’d be amazed the wonders it can do.

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

We’ll be fine. Comedians are like cockroaches. They can never die and there are way too many in my basement.

What are your hopes for performing in 2022?

I’ve got my first few paid opening 20 spots booked in the last months of 2021, so I’m hoping to get more of those in 2022 and break into doing paid gigs regularly. And for the love of all that’s God I NEED to do the Fringe.

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

There’s a fantastic joke that my fellow Geordie, Sean Turner, does where he does an impression of a jellyfish mating call, but that doesn’t translate well to text; so I’m going to be a kiss-arse and say that it’s our Glorious Leader Jonny’s joke “I’m non-binary, which means you’re all a bunch of ones and zeroes and I’m a fucking nine”. I’m still annoyed I didn’t write it.

Would you rather fight a shark sized kitten or a kitten sized shark? Why?

I would rather fight the shark sized kitten, as I couldn’t live with myself if I had to harm a precious teeny tiny baby shark (doo doo doo doo doo).

What would you hoard in your own nuclear bunker? Why?

Bottlecaps. I know how the economy works.

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

If you want to make a career off it, you’ve really got to throw yourself at it. I’m so constantly impressed by the work ethic of some of the other open spots I get to gig alongside. They’re out there literally night after night, and reaping the benefits of it.

But if you just want to do it for shits and gigs, I think that’s wonderful. We need more folks who are just doing it for fun and yet still care enough to learn the craft.

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

No ❤

Umby 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 Umby’s work by following them on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Twitch and Tumblr.