Opinion: Ten Things I Have Learnt About Touring By Paul Sinha

Paul Sinha has been on tour with his latest show, Shout Out to My Ex. He shares some of his life-on-the-road wisdom with Beyond The Joke in the run-up to his two major shows at the Leicester Square Theatre on March 16 & 17. Buy tickets here. For all your Paul Sinha needs click here.


1. Do you think club comedy is high pressure? Solo comedy is even more so. You are literally the reason why good people have come out tonight. On the one hand, there is a positivity in the room because they want you to be good, to validate their choices. On the other hand, the responsibility can be suffocating.

2. Being on stage for far longer than you are used to can be tiring, especially when, like me, you aren’t exactly a beacon of good health at your best. Try your hardest to plan ahead, and not turn up exhausted. One thing that really helps is having an unemployed, teetotal boyfriend with a car.

3. Have you spent hours trying to get your pre-show music just right, carefully selecting your favourite songs from across the decades to both energise the room and complement the mood of your comedy? If so, don’t feel too shy about asking the venue to put the volume up. They are not magicians, there is no reason why they would get it right first time. Katy Perry needs to be heard. 

4. Are you touring a one-hour show? Get a support act, and preferably pick one stylistically different to yourself. If they outperform you, don’t forget that everybody on the circuit will hear about it within a week.

5. It takes a few moments to look up your venue/town/village/city on Wikipedia. Have some idea of where you are. Or at least be good at bluffing.

6. If you are going to tell a room full of Brexit voters that they are idiots, it is worth remembering that the comedian/audience relationship works both ways. 

7. You might feel awkward that there are three 95-year-olds sat in the front row. Well remember that they came out to see you, and their money is as valid as anyone’s. Play the room, not just that part of the room which is causing you discomfort.

8. One of my worst deaths took place in 1995 at the beginning of my career. Harry Hill, doing well to hide his contempt, told me to slow down. That is as true now as it ever was. It is your show, you have all the time in the world. There is no need to rush the experience.

9. Swearing. Of comedians who swear, nearly all of them, including myself, swear too much. This isn’t Up the Creek on a Friday night. Try and keep your swearing to those instances where it helps the joke.

10. When I get nervous backstage, like really nervous, I remind myself that this was all my doing. I made the life decisions that put me here. All comedians made those same life decisions. Embrace the madness that a bunch of strangers paid good money to hear your jokes, and try and enjoy every second of it. It is better than real work.

Just in case you didn't know already, Paul Sinha is at the Leicester Square Theatre on March 16 & 17. Buy tickets here. 



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