In Conversation With… Dan Nightingale

Dan Nightingale
Dan Nightingale

By Adam Humphreys 
Meet Dan Nightingale, one of the fastest rising comedians on the UK comedy circuit.
Since going to see his first comedy gig during his uni days in 2001 he quickly caught the comedy bug. Dan’s comedy material covers anything from everyday stuff to whatever is believed to be interesting, or stuff from his own life. For the past 18 years on the circuit he has been rubbing shoulders with other well-known comic greats such as John Bishop and Jonathan Ross, he was a warm-up act for them after all. Dan Nightingale’s comedy routine has seen him tour around the UK and as far as Norway and New Zealand. He even put in an appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival five times between 2008 to 2018. When he isn’t doing his comedy routines for audiences, he does his podcasts; The Hack Radio Pod and ‘Have a Word’ with Adam Rowe. But don’t ask him about Bill Burr..
“I’ve been taken to a lot of places to have fun and got paid for it.”
So, you’ve been performing on the comedy circuit since 2002, that’s 18 years, how’s it been for you?
When you say it like that, it feels like a long time. It’s been great. I’ve been taken to a lot of places to have fun and got paid for it. I’ve been to New Zealand, the Middle East, Majorca, Norway… Hull. It’s been pretty exotic. I’ve loved it though. The driving can be a pain, but it’s worth it. *I didn’t drive to New Zealand. That would definitely be a pain.
… and what inspired you to get into it?
I wanted to be a radio presenter but quickly realised that commercial radio is where dreams go to get middle-aged, depressed and eventually die. I was at uni in Newcastle and got taken to a comedy club and I knew instantly I wanted to do stand-up. There’s something about the atmosphere and the energy, I was desperate to be involved. A few months later I’d given it a crack, I wasn’t terrible and I went from there.
Now there’s lots several types subject matter that stand-ups cover e.g. politics, marriage, satire, observational, everyday life, feminism etc. What are your areas?
Whatever I think of that’s funny. I wouldn’t say I’m topical or controversial, I just try and do stuff that I think is funny and original and interesting. About my life, about our lives… whatever occurs to me.
Since you’ve been performing you done gigs in the UK, New Zealand and International Festivals. Is there anywhere else you’d like to take your comedy?
Australia and the States. The Far East have a lot of English speaking gigs that sound fascinating, but I’ve got a 2yr old so those tours abroad will have to be put on hold for a while. If my wife divorces me, I’ll be gigging in Kuala Lumpur in no time.
You’ve mentioned that you are inspired by American comedians such as Chris Rock, Bill Burr and Nate Bargatze to name but a few. What is it about State-Side comics that you enjoy?
I think American stand-up is a little more advanced than ours and the influence of HBO and Netflix has meant comedians over there have been allowed to push boundaries. It’s also easier watching comedians you don’t know personally. Bill Burr might be a dick, but I’ve never met him… so I don’t know. Peter Kay on the other hand… lets just say I can’t watch Peter Kay.
So presumably there are some British comics that you like too? 
Mickey Flanagan, Jon Richardson, Romesh, Acaster and all the good acts that the public don’t know that have made the circuit what it is for the last 30 odd years.
Now since you been active on the circuit you’ve been a warm-up for people like Jonathan Ross, John Bishop as well as Celebrity Juice. How was the audience feedback from that?
Pretty good, but it was very intense. You try and do your stuff but it feels incredibly difficult. People haven’t come to see comedy so your jokes end up seeming out of place and even a little crass. It’s weird struggling at what you love while U2 are doing a sound check 12 feet behind you.
Any aspirations on going onto Live At The Apollo?
Yeah, I’d love to. I just want to my stand-up and if that’s on TV then so be it. I don’t like talking heads where comics have to pretend they care about sitcoms from the 90s or the forced banter on out of date panel shows, not really my bag. I just like doing my comedy. On Netflix ideally.
Now I hear through the comedy grapevine that you also do a couple of podcasts; The Hack Radio Pod and Have a Word with Adam Rowe, where can we listen to these?
Both of my extremely funny podcasts are available on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. And I would truly appreciate the listens as I’m desperately trying to make them commercially viable because I don’t want to have to drive to Hull anymore.