Comedian Leo Kearse: ‘You’ll see more exciting stuff in the clubs than you will on the BBC’
A regular face on British television, on programmes like Good Morning Britain and channels such as GB News, Leo Kearse is an award-winning comedian who will be heading to the county next month.
The Scottish Comedian of the Year 2017/18 has also written for BBC shows including Breaking the News, Mock the Week and The Mash Report, and played Mick Fleetwood in the ITV drama Breaking the Band: Fleetwood Mac.
Leo, the UK Pun Champion 2015, is scheduled to perform at the Huntingdon Comedy Club (Commemoration Hall, 39 High St, Huntingdon) on Saturday, June 4. As well as his TV appearances, the right-leaning comic also has own YouTube channel where he offers his thoughts on subjects such as censorship in comedy and ‘cancel culture’.
What would Leo say to people who deny the existence of cancel culture? “Well they obviously haven’t been cancelled! I mean there’s evidence of cancel culture everywhere - look at Laurence Fox. He had a really successful acting career and then because he expressed a perfectly reasonable opinion he gets cancelled.
“So if you want to protect your acting career - you’re making a million pounds a year from it - then you’ve got to post the right thing. I speak to people who say ‘I voted for Trump but I’m posting on Instagram that I voted for Biden’. In this country it’s the Conservatives. For some reason, on Facebook everybody’s voting for Corbyn and then the Tories get in.”
Leo has enjoyed a successful career but he does feel that his opinions may have held him back a little. “Yes and no,” he says, “I mean I won’t be getting booked at the Soho Theatre or anything like that, but I wasn’t going to get booked there anyway. I’m a white male, I’m in my 40s - I’m not what they’re looking for.
“But there are definitely some people that have stopped booking me and it’s definitely held me back in some areas, but I feel like it’s opened up other areas. But also the whole thing about comedy is you’re supposed to speak your own personal truth.”
Leo, who cites Jerry Sadowitz and Bill Burr among his favourite stand-ups, says he mostly performs accessible comedy sets that anyone can enjoy. “It's relatable, it’s fun, I don’t go too deeply into politics,” he says. “I talk about Covid and the NHS, I talk about Margaret Thatcher being a hero...”
That said, some of his shows can be a little more risqué. “It’s much more on the theme of cancel culture and what it is to be right wing these days, so it really depends,” says Leo, adding: “The horrible thing about doing topical material is it’s got a lifespan so you can have a really funny bit but then it just has to go.”
On the subject of his upcoming show, Leo concludes: “It would be great if people came to support live comedy because we’ve got such a great circuit in the UK - you’ll see more exciting stuff in the clubs than you will on the BBC.
“People are probably freer to say what they want in the clubs than they are on TV, but also if people could watch my YouTube channel that would be great because then I get money!”
Leo Kearse will be performing at Commemoration Hall in Huntingdon, along with Dane Baptiste, Thomas Green and fellow Scot Paul Pirie, on Saturday, June 4. Visit chuckl.co.uk/comed-clubs/huntingdon-comedy-club. For more on Leo, go to leokearse.com.