My new Radio 4 series starts tonight, in which I mostly perform stand-up (often scored by the amazing Steve Dunne), but I also interview people who know me. Having got a taste for being the quizmaster and growing increasingly bored of answering questions in an email, I decided to interview the interviewer as a contractually necessary show promotion exercise. I am Rhys James by the way.
Hi British Comedy Guide. So - tell me a bit about my radio show.
Hi Rhys. It's an odd sensation to have the tables turned like this.
So, your radio show is a four part comedy series airing on Radio 4 on Wednesday nights at 11:15pm. The 15 minute episodes will also be available on BBC Radio Player after broadcast, which is probably handy as some of your target audience is probably, like yourself, what we think would be labelled "millennials". We're guessing millennials have never tuned into FM radio ever?
We classify your show as a stand-up series in our database, as we do hear you in front of an audience telling jokes. However, there's also bits off stage, where we get to listen in as you talk to people in your life. For example, in the first episode you chat to your parents about your upbringing.
Alright Database. Classic BCG. I guess some of that is true but please leave the 'guessing' about 'millennials' to the 'professionals'. If you knew about millennials you'd know 'bcg' is actually a very harrowing acronym for us. What are the other episodes about? And is there another element you're forgetting? Christ.
That tiny injection that was over in the blink of an eye? You still remember those 5 seconds of your life?
So Episode 2 is romance themed somewhat, we'd say. It's titled Rhys James Is Irresistible, but your old school friend Carmen who we hear you interview during the show seems to undermine that statement somewhat. She seems very sweet.
We haven't heard the other two episodes yet, but the blurb for the show that's been released by the BBC suggests you talk about the themes of bravery and loneliness in them?
Those are old blurbs and titles and do not reflect the content of the show at all. The shows are about different topics entirely. Please tell me about them.
Er... this is turning into a trickier interview that we thought. Have you been watching Jeremy Paxman? We note that politicians have managed to get around answering Paxo by posing a question straight back...
So, Rhys James, if that is your name (which it isn't), surely the main issue here is how comes you have changed the topics of your shows since the blurb went out for the tickets?
The reason is, I realised two things: 1. I'm not lonely. 2. While obviously very brave, I didn't have the material to sustain this episode as the guy I wanted to interview for it (source of my school humiliation) did not respond to our request. He's a guy with a family maybe and a job presumably and a life or something I bet, who maybe doesn't want to be exposed like that. Which I find pretty fuckin rich given that he exposed my teenage genitals to my classmates and an adult teacher. Then again he hasn't told me that's why, so this argument has been made up in my head.
And maybe he doesn't even remember me. Actually, when conceiving the episode we hoped he wouldn't remember, so we could parallel the significance of him to me, versus my complete irrelevance to him. Which I guess, by not responding, he has done.
Anyway. About time you guessed the last two episodes really and filled us in on the aspect you keep overlooking so patently, for crying out loud.
Right, yes, sorry, um... Dorian Grey, because you look younger than you are? And, er, Episode 4 is about Mirrors?... We say mirrors because we've seen that moody-looking promotional picture of you looking in a mirror, which you've put online to promote the broadcast.
Lucky guesses. The episodes are, as you correctly identified: Rhys James Is Privileged, Rhys James Is Irresistible, Rhys James Is Dorian Gray and Rhys James Is Mirrors. Terrific. Of course. Now - tell us a bit about why I got into comedy? And maybe finally identify this extra element to the radio show you literally refuse to acknowledge.
We don't actually know, but we presume you got into stand-up comedy Rhys for the same reasons as most male stand-ups do: To work out your inner demons, try to impress girls, to avoid getting a 'proper' job, and to bask in the challenge of trying to live on very little money whilst at the same time also having to cover the travel costs of going to comedy clubs over 300 miles away?
Nope. I got into it because I like it.
Rhys James Is..., which features stand-up, interviews and a mystery extra element, is on Radio 4 on Wednesday nights at 11:15pm. You can catch-up for 30 days after broadcast via BBC Radio Player
Published: Wednesday 17th January 2018