An Interview with Travis Jay

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An energetic South London story-teller is heading to Edinburgh this August…


Hello Travis, first things first, where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
Hey guys, my family are from the Caribbean. My Dad’s family are from Dominica (not republic) and my Mother’s side of the family are from Jamaica. I grew up in South London but currently reside in East London.

What is the banter like in South London?
The banter in South London is strong. It’s a very creative place with the likes of Stormzy and Michael Dapaah bring from here. There’s an energy that you don’t find in most other areas because almost everyone is on a creative grind and as a comedian that competitive energy helps bring out the best in me. Nothing gets me going quite like the spirit of competition.

When did you first realise you could make people laugh?
I suppose I’d always been able to make people laugh throughout school. My friend Stephen blames me to this day for him not getting his GCSE in English because we sat next to each other, the banter was endless. I think the turning point was being in the crowd at a comedy show and thinking ‘I can do that’.

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You are the son of Angie Le Mar, how much has she inspired your own comedy?
Her inspiration has been huge, I grew up watching her perform so I’d seen her abilities on countless occasions. I had basic rules of comedy explained to me even as young as 8 years old where my mum would say to me ‘If you have to explain a joke, it isn’t funny’ whilst I’d be doing chores. She inspires me quite a lot because she has achieved so much, each time I reach another level of my career I stay quite humble in that because I’m following the footsteps of somebody who has done so much. E.G. when I won the gong show at the comedy store in 2011, I posed for a pic with the winner’s hat in front of a pic of my mum which was on the wall at the comedy store.

As a post-Millennial, do you find that comedy is changing, is the material of older comics still relevant?
I think the material of older comics will always be relevant, stand-up comedy will always be an older man’s sport. Simply because life experience is where the material comes from in most cases, I don’t mean that as a slight on younger comics (I’m only 31 myself) but all stages of life provide great material. In terms of what is no longer acceptable because it’s offensive and an outdated view which is now no longer PC that’s a different conversation. My view is, things are very sensitive now but for the most part people still want to laugh. I don’t think you can be true to comedy without delivering material you find funny, you can’t satisfy everybody’s moral compass but I wouldn’t co-sign ridiculously offensive material for the sake of proving a point. Modern society is going through a transition right now, there’s a lot of conflict happening. The last thing people want to do is find themselves in a comedy club for some light escapism and have their views and lifestyles laughed at. With that said, I don’t blame the comic who pulls the trigger on that joke if it’s hilarious.

You’ve got three famous comedians (dead or alive) coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starters, mains & dessert?
Dave Chappelle, Katt Williams and Bernie Mac… tbh I think we’re ordering a Chinese and discussing comedy. I’m not missing a moment of this, but I’d order salt and chilli chicken wings to start, sweet n sour chicken Hong Kong style with egg fried rice and then ordering dessert from somewhere else that does waffles or crepes because most Chinese restaurant places have awful dessert. If you’ve never tried, please never try.

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You’re performing at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe; what are you bringing to the table?
I’m bringing a unique perspective, my route in comedy has been slightly different to most comics going up to Edinburgh. Most of my years in the game have been on the black comedy scene, which is probably considered quite underground. I’m bringing a new energy, I’m a story teller, I love to go the extra mile on stage and I always commit to having fun and bringing the audience into my world when it’s my time. I’m bringing a special edge to this fringe and I really can’t wait to entertain.

If your comedy style was a soup, what would be the key ingredients?
So it would definitely have a few heavy portions of ‘Funny’, a dollop of south London, 2 slices of ‘did he really just say that’, some cut up chunks of ‘engaging storytelling’, some chopped up ‘intelligence’ then finish it off with a spoonful of ‘Feel good’.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the play to somebody in the streets of Edinburgh, what would you say?
Listen, Dave Chappelle thinks I’m amazing.

What will you be doing for the rest of 2019?
I like to focus on one step at a time, so Edinburgh is all that’s on my radar right now but I’ll be all over the place gigging and developing a few projects.


Funny, Petty, Cool 

The Attic Room, Just the Tonic

Aug 1-25 (14.35)

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www.travisjay.co.uk

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