Better known for his high-profile stunts, or the comedy character Lee Nelson, the name Simon Brodkin may not be as instantly recognisable as perhaps it should be given the infamy some of his comedic moments.
Making the switch from character to performing as himself, Brodkin’s next challenge is to step outside the safety net of wearing a mask and reveal his true identity.
Damian Robinson caught up with Simon to find out more ahead of his stand-up show at The Stand.
The transition from being a well-known comic character to removing the mask and becoming a stand-up seems challenging. What prompted you to make the change?
I felt like I needed to be challenged more, and as I find challenges fun, I realised there was something in the idea that I could excited about. I’ve done shows and performances as Lee, plus the work that I’ve done with some of the stunts, but in that time I’ve never really revealed anything of myself. I felt it was time to do that.
What key differences are there between making people laugh through stunts and being a stand-up, and how are you preparing for those?
I suppose the key difference is the realisation that a lot of the swaggering confidence I had when I performed came because there was always a character; if a show didn’t work well that was Lee’s fault rather than mine, or if someone didn’t like Lee then that was okay as I could still go home as Simon.
So the characters helped you build confidence?
They did yes, the stand-up is more challenging as there’s more on the line. If people don’t like the show then there’s no character to hide behind and that forms its own risk and challenges. I’m ready to be myself now, and talk about my own life, and in some ways that’s maybe the hardest challenge there is.
You’ll be bringing the show to Newcastle – do you notice any difference in humour as you take a country on tour?
There’s probably a more natural, instant, connection I have with people from the south as we’ve possibly had more shared experiences than people I meet from other parts of the countries, but aside from that there’s very little difference. People in the North tend to be more playful and more interactive as an audience, which I love; maybe it’s the cheaper alcohol. But no, there’s not a big difference really, I think we all look for comedy to make us laugh and lift us up.
Simon Brodkin plays The Stand, Newcastle, on the 29th March.