“My show will be me having as much fun as possible”

On April 29 Paul Sinha, star of ITV’s The Chase, is doing a one-off comedy show at Hemsted Park, Benenden School’s impressive new arts venue. Here the former doctor and now successful stand-up tells Martha Willetts how he went from being a GP to starring on TV…


Let’s start by telling us how you became of the stars of ITV’s The Chase?

I’d always been a keen quizzer at school, and on pub quiz machines throughout my twenties. But it was only later in life that I discovered there was a shady quiz underworld, packed with people who took it far too seriously. My kind of people. After a couple of years rising up the UK quiz rankings, ITV made it clear they were looking for a fourth Chaser and I applied. A few auditions later and I was hired.

How did you go from working as a GP to appearing on national TV?

I never left medicine to become a quizzer, I ended up leaving medicine because my life as a travelling comedian was becoming way too busy. Medicine was always my parents’ dream, rather than my own and I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have found a way out.


How did you get involved in the world of comedy?

Like quizzing, I was into comedy at an early age, and watched an awful lot of student comedy as at university and then as a junior doctor in London. Eventually, I plucked up the courage to book myself for an open-mic night and basically hung around, making very-little progress for three-and-a-half years. Then in December, 1998 I was booked to do a five-minute spot at the world-famous Comedy Store. And, as luck would have it, I was offered representation by an agent the same night. From that moment on, I could justifiably call myself ‘a professional stand-up comedian.’


Which comedians have been most influential for you?

I find it important that comedians find their own style rather than unconsciously ape that of their comedy-heroes. Nonetheless, I’ve been privileged to work with many true greats. And if I take this chance to name Stewart Lee, Daniel Kitson, Milton Jones, Tim Vine, and Micky Flanagan, that would be just a small fraction of the people who’ve inspired me.


What will your show at Hemsted Park involve?

I’ve had a colourful life and I’ve ticked a number of demographic boxes. And my show will be me trying to have as much fun as possible whilst revealing a lot of autobiography.


What do you expect the audience will most enjoy about your show?

I don’t have any preconceptions about any audience, but I’d like to think they’ll be pleasantly surprised at the degree to which I’m not just ‘that bloke in an ill-fitting white suit’.


What do you enjoy most about doing your shows?

Being any kind of entertainer is a privilege. The idea that people have chosen to spend their evening in your company is pretty mind-blowing. If there are moments when I ever feel weary of this career, I remind myself that I chose it and that not everyone is lucky enough to do a job they love and that I should just go out and make sure that I enjoy it as much as possible.


Are you familiar with Kent, if so, what do you like about it?

I could wax lyrical about rolling green hills, historic castles, heritage railways, and hops.But what I like most about Kent is that it borders south east London, where I live. I’d sooner gig in Kent than in any other county in England.

Paul Sinha will be appearing at Hemsted Park on April 29th from 7.30pm. Tickets, which are available to those aged 18 and over, start from £25 per person. For more information or to book visit www.hemstedpark.com

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