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Nick Helm’s Leicester Square Questionnaire

6 Jun 2024

Ahead of Nick Helm's Super Fun Good Time Show, we caught up with the Golden Emperor himself to get answers to the burning questions on everybody's minds.

What’s your most memorable heckle?
Last year in Paignton I’d got about 5 minutes into my set – largely talking about the local shops I saw on the way to the gig – when an elderly gentleman stamped down all the steps of the theatre, stood by the side of the stage and shouted angrily “YOU ARE SH*T!” before thanking all of the staff on the way out the auditorium.

I think it’s good to be proud of where you’re from and he genuinely must have been so full of adrenaline as he walked out of that theatre, his heart must have been pounding, feeling the blood pump relentlessly through his beating heart and veins, power walking his way down to the sea front to strip naked and roar like a beast into the briny void. I bet he didn’t sleep all night. I bet he called his kids in the morning and started that hobby he’d been putting off. I bet he fixed the light in the garage and finished painting the kitchen. I bet he had never felt so alive. And I gave him that.

What is your most controversial food opinion?
I hate eggs and lots of people find that difficult to deal with. And vice versa.

What’s one word to describe the state of the UK?
Numerically illiterate.

Who’s the best upcoming performer in the country that we haven’t heard of?
Beth Moore and Charlotte Cropper. Charlotte does a monthly gig in Manchester called Slumber Party and Beth does a guest spot. I did it at the start of the year and it was a lot of fun. A bit like the sort of gigs we’d all get involved with when we first started out. Made me feel very nostalgic, but they’re these brand new comedians and they’re going through the same rights of passage as I did and all comedians do. It’s great. The circle of life. Anyway, keep an eye on them. They’ve got passion and they’ve got talent and they’ll make a name for themselves one day soon.

Who would you describe as your arch-nemesis?

When was the time you bombed the most onstage?
I did a corporate gig in… I want to say Lincoln, but it may have been somewhere else beginning with L. About 12 years ago I was opening, Josh Widdicombe was compering and Milton Jones closing. I can’t remember what company, but I think it was a financial company and they were having some sort of company celebration. They booked me specifically. They phoned my agent and asked for me by name. I only had a bit of TV work at that point and it was all shouty, sweaty, sweaty stuff. I checked to see if they really meant me. They did. I double checked. They wanted me. I triple checked. Definitely me. They were offering a lot of money to me at the time and despite my trepidation I agreed. They seemed like they really really wanted me.

I worked out my set. I had to do 20 minutes and I wanted to do a good job. If this worked out, I could make a living doing corporates and pay some bills. I’d just filmed my Heavy Entertainment pilot for BBC Three which was 28 minutes, so I took some songs and poems from that, most of the material, the sound effects for my one-liners and my costume; a beautiful white, rhinestone suit that stripped away in two parts with Velcro up the back – jacket, shirt and tie and then trousers, to reveal me naked in my pants and cowboy boots. It worked for BBC Three, what a special treat these bankers are going to get. A sneak peak at a virtually perfect BBC Three pilot, live at their event…

The soundcheck went well. The staff were nice. The organisers were stressed. There would be dinner and drinks at 7pm and then the show at 9pm. By 10pm the bankers still hadn’t made it away from the bar yet and by 10.45pm it became clear that an evening of comedy wasn’t anyone’s priority. Anyway way we started about 11.30pm. The crowd were posh, loud and hammered. Josh went out, Josh was our true hope. He was the slickest most professional out of us comedians starting out and he did well fast because he knew what he was doing. Josh did fine.

I went out and they were confused. I sang a song. They were apathetic. I did some ironic one liners, they took them at face value. I told a story, did a poem, presented some props. Nothing. For some reason the organisers had thought it was a good idea to put flyers with all our reviews out on every seat in the theatre and these incoherent, ruddy faced, ingrates started revolting. They were shouting and booing and sarcastically waving my reviews at me, howling “Four Stars!? FOUR STARS!!!?? For THIS!?!’ It was absolute chaos. I pulled all my tricks out, I shouted at them, I called them all c*nts, I humiliated the ring-leader, but nothing seemed to work.

There was a moment I distinctly remember where I was halfway through my song “Don’t Fall In Love With Me” and time stopped as I bent down and grabbed the knees of my stripper trousers preparing to rip them off. A voice in my head said “maybe THIS will win them over?’ It didn’t. I tore my clothes off and stood on the stage in my pants and cowboy boots singing my best song and the boss of the company sat on the first row started screaming. His face went red and his hair stood up! He pointed at me and started yelling “YOU’RE DISGUSTING!!! YOU’RE DISGUSTING!!!!!!!” I tried to talk calm him him by jumping off the stage with my hand out to show him I meant him no harm, but he got up and started screaming. I have never seen this before or since, but he lost control of his mind and started running around the auditorium. I didn’t know what to do because I was mid-song, so I followed him up the aisle and he ran out screaming into the lobby. I finished my set off and came offstage.

The organisers of the event were SO angry with me that they made me sit in the car that was taking me and Josh home whilst Josh and Milton finished the show off upstairs in the theatre. I was confused, because they specially hired me and wanted me to do my set, but when I gave them what they’d paid for they were angry with me.

Anyway, it turned out that the IT guy booked the talent.

What’s been your strangest fan encounter?
I would say 99% of my fan encounters are lovely. Most of the time we either have a chat or they want a hug or me to call their friend a c*nt on video. You know wholesome fun stuff. I can’t think of a particularly strange one. The other day someone wrote something sh*tty on my wall so I said hello and they immediately apologised. I guess people think that all comedians or celebrities, or people in the public eye have like a team of ten people running their lives for them, but I find if you just say hello, they apologise or back down or f*ck off. And isn’t that the dream?

How do you like to relax after a gig?
I used to like cooking, but now I like to go to bed and watch old, old films. I find them relaxing and comforting and a lot of the time boring so they send me to sleep.

What’s the one thing you want the audience to take away from your show?
An album. They’re £25 on luxurious 12” vinyl.

What would you tell your five year old self?
Don’t eat your sister’s birthday cake. The lifetime of fallout will not be worth it.

Who would win in a fight: badger or baboon?
I know it’s only a ‘bit of fun” question, but in reality the baboon would tear the badger to absolute shreds. It would be absolutely horrific. Especially if it was in an enclosed space like a shipping container that’s used as an office on a work site. There’d be blood spattered everywhere, badger guts and fur all over the paperwork, the hard hats and the wellies would be knocked over. Plus, unless the window is open there’d be a f*cking great wild baboon in there. Prowling up and down. Taking bizarre ownership of the hole punch as he guards it howling and screaming whilst beating his chest. No way. I’m not going in that f*cking office.

What’s the oddest thing you’ve overheard in London?
That a badger can manage a building site.

Nick Helm’s Super Fun Good Time Show comes to Leicester Square Theatre 7 & 8 June 2024.