Comedian Joel's starring role on return to Mall
IF the streets of London are paved with gold there is a part of Bristol that must breed comedy gold. Up and coming comedian Joel Dommett grew up in the same part of the city as fellow comic Russell Howard and even delivered newspapers to his parents' house.
Now living in London, he's found fame presenting Live in Chelsea and the MTV news but is set to return to his home city to take part in Jubilee Celebrations.
He says: "I grew up in Rockhampton, near Thornbury, which is the same place as Russell Howard's parents. I used to catch the same bus as his sister and I had a job delivering papers to his home.
"It was really nice because when I went on his show, Good News, he introduced me as someone who used to live next door to his mum. There must be something funny in that part of Bristol. He's been great to work with, although everyone has been."
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Joel's foray into comedy began when he travelled to Los Angeles to visit a friend but it didn't get off to the best of starts. He says: "There was an open mike night. I just got up and had a go. I was in between these US comics and it was a horrible, horrible, experience. Everyone was staring at me and I wasn't very good."
But despite the rocky beginning Joel says he wasn't put off trying to make people laugh.
"I don't really know what inspired me to carry on," he says. "It gave me something to concentrate on and obsess over. I'm quite a loner and even though the job is talking to people every night it seems to suit my weird personality.
"My style is sort of telling anecdotes and stories about things that happen to me. I like to paint pictures of characters in the audience's mind."
And many of these anecdotes and characters hark back to his time at The Mall, where he started work as a schoolboy.
He says: "I got a job at Virgin Megastores and, for some reason, they made me a security guard even though I was only 16 and not particularly frightening.
"I remember having to chase after someone who stole something and when I caught up with him I didn't know what to do. I just kept chasing him until someone else tackled him and then I just stood there saying 'yeah, take that'.
"After that I worked in the Orange Shop, in The Mall, and I was one of the top ten salespeople in the country. I was really proud of that and I still put it on my CV."
So it will be on familiar ground that Joel returns to the city for the Bristol Jubilee Concert next month.
Brit nominee and pop starlet Pixie Lott is confirmed as the headline artist for the concert on Saturday, June 2, in a specially built outdoor arena, in front of The Mall.
X Factor finalist Misha B will be supporting the star, along with Cheltenham band Young Kato – who recently supported Olly Murs for the Christmas light switch on.
As well as providing a focal event for Bristol to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee, The Mall hopes to raise £10,000 for a Life for a Cure, Ryan Bresnahan's Meningitis Appeal. The appeal is, in association with Meningitis UK, aiming to find the ultimate vaccine to fight meningitis.
Teenager Ryan sadly died from meningitis within just two hours of contracting the disease.
Joel says: "I'll be compering the concert and sort of pulling the whole thing together. It's going to be a challenge because coming on in between each act means you lose the comedy momentum a little bit. In a small setting you build your act and you talk to people on the front row but when you've got 10,000 people you can't really do that.
"It will be really fun though and I'm definitely looking forward to it. It will be great to be back in Bristol."
Joel Dommett plays The Bristol Jubilee, The Mall Cribbs Causeway, Saturday, June 2, at 7pm. Tickets are free from www.mallcribbs.com.