Comedian was then, this is now…

Generally speaking, labels are good. They stop us sprinkling salt on our cereal or brushing our teeth with hair removal cream. However, when it comes to people, labels can be tricky. 

Even though my on-screen career began with acting, for many years, I’ve been, comedian Andi Osho and for many years, that was fine. 

I loved stand up long before my first gig in 2007. A dodgy boat in Surrey Quays where the locals would heckle from the back while a tipsy compere, glass of white wine filled to the brim, ushered us newbie lambs to the comedic slaughter. Fun times. 

Scroll forward three years and I landed my first Mock The Week. Promoters, producers and bookers became interested and before long I notched up appearances on Buzzcocks, Live at The Apollo and Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, played the O2 in London, Just For Laughs in Montreal and wrote, performed and toured two Edinburgh shows. In other words, if stand up were Call Of Duty, I completed it, mate. 

My career was travelling at breakneck speed but there was a cost. By 2012 I was exhausted, depressed and uninspired. Acting had fallen by the wayside and there was this widening chasm between me and my on-screen persona. I decided to take a break and headed for the sun – Los Angeles. My intention was to stay only a few months but in the end, I was there six years.

Being an unknown gave me the space to reflect, reinvent and decide, what, if any labels I really wanted. 

It quickly became apparent, ‘comedian’ wasn’t one of them. In the UK, when I’d seen peer after peer offered their own tv and radio vehicles, I’d resented it. I felt that, even though I delivered time and time again, producers saw me as a risk. But with room to think, I realised, what looked like missed opportunities were blessings because, what I wanted to achieve wasn’t possible through stand up. 

All this may sound like I didn’t enjoy my time on the circuit but I loved it. There can be no greater joy than making a roomful of people laugh, feel a little lighter even if it’s just for a couple of hours. 

But as much as there was boundless joy, there was, as I say, a cost. Gradually the gap between gigs got longer and longer, the space soon filling with acting and writing. I could feel how much more content this made me. No more anxiety caused by the suffocating expectation that came with every TV appearance.

Instead, I started enjoying evenings in, hanging out with mates, watching movies, basically normal people stuff! 

But letting go of the label ‘comedian’ was tough. I genuinely thought, what am I without it, will journalists still value an interview with me if I’m not being funny? 

At that time, I hadn’t filmed shows like Line of Duty, Kiri and I May Destroy You or written my novel. Without comedian, wasn’t I just jobbing actor and unpublished novelist? Not quite as fun, eh? So I continued using the label, assuming, at some point, either I’d return to it or like a shed skin it would fall away. But sometimes we have to actively peel off labels that no longer fit, like comedian, TV presenter, vlogger and filmmaker – which are all part of my past not my future.

So now, a good seven or eight years since my last gig, what does letting go leave me with? Well, Actor – a job I’ve always loved, Writer be it scripts or novels, and my new label, podcaster. These are the ones that give me the most joy (and the most nights in).

So as I hang up my microphone, smooth down the big hair and slip off the high heels for good, I want to say a huge thank you to all the fans and folks who’ve contacted me over the years to say they’ve enjoyed my work and LOLed at my silly jokes and impressions of my mum. To everyone who bought Edinburgh and tour show tickets, thank you. It meant the world and always will. Thank you too, to every producer who did take a chance on me. And of course, just because I’m not doing stand-up, doesn’t mean me and funny can’t be friends as many of you who’ve read Asking For A Friend will know. I’ll just be doing it from the comfort of my desk, with a packet of kettle chips on the go. 

Big, big love to you and don’t let anyone tell you what your labels should be or even that you should have them. Onwards, good friends, onwards!

My new podcast for the creative in you, Creative Sauce with Andi Osho has a new episode every Tuesday – come join the convo! Creative Sauce is on all the main podcast outlets: Apple, Spotify and Deezer. There’s more info over on Insta @CreativeSaucePod.

Creative Sauce Podcast

3 thoughts on “Comedian was then, this is now…

  • Thanks Andi. You had me believing this… until you suggested giving up the shoes, then I knew it must be a delayed April fools thing.

  • Ah… I’ve just read this. Please ignore the email request I’d sent. Big love on your big choices. Hopefully see you on set, someday

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