Belfast-bound Kevin Bridges on the Story of his success
Kevin Bridges has been branded ‘brilliant' by his idol and fellow Glaswegian Billy Connolly. Ahead of two gigs in Belfast this weekend, he tells Scene about his hectic schedule, comedy writing and doing his parents proud
COMEDIAN Kevin Bridges is in the middle of his first big tour for three years, but the Glaswegian hasn’t been idle in the meantime.
The 29-year-old wrote an autobiography (We Need To Talk About... Kevin Bridges), he’s been kept busy after buying a house, a boat and a dog and performed some shows in the run-up to last year’s Scottish independence referendum.
And now that he’s making a decent amount of money from his comedy career, he has also been treating his parents Andy and Paddy.
"I took my mum on a trip to New York. And I asked my dad, `What is the one thing you would do if you could? What is your dream?’ And immediately he said, 'A trip on the Orient Express'. So I was able to make that trip happen for him and my mum and they loved it.
“But my dad doesn’t want for anything. What excites him most is when I come to him with a new idea for material and I take out my notebook and we go over it together and he’s in fits of laughter. He’ll always chime in with his own wee ‘bits’ but he knows they’re sh**e,” he laughs.
As part of Bridges's epic 135-date tour across Europe, he comes to Belfast tonight and tomorrow and then heads to Dublin for a seven-night stint.
This is his third big tour and next week he will release his third live DVD (filmed at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow last month). He says he’s glad he took a break after his seven-month The Story Continues tour in 2012.
"My dad said to me, 'You’ve done two big arena shows and two DVDs and you’re only 25. If you want to do this your whole life then you can afford to pull back for a while,” he says.
“I initially thought that if I took too much time off [between tours] that people would forget about me, but they haven’t. You need a reason to tour and you need the right mindset; it’s not simply about the money. And in my time off I reflected and wrote the book.”
He says he made a conscious decision to turn down offers when he first shot to fame in 2009 after appearing on TV on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow.
"When things really took off in 2009 my career started to soar but I was always thinking, 'This run could end at any minute'. I was in demand for television and I was receiving calls from my agent saying: 'There are people who want to meet you and talk ideas...’ but I had no interest in being a comedian who simply went on TV only then to burn out like someone on The X Factor or Britain’s Got Talent.
"I just thought that if I put in the hard graft to write and perform another big tour and DVD, that would then afford me time off to relax.”
Bridges hasn’t had much time to relax since starting his tour in Norway in June this year. His A Whole Different Story dates come to a close on the Isle of Man on December 17.
And while he’s grateful to be selling out venues all over the world, the Scot says making his family proud of him is really important to him.
“After my first ever gig my dad welled up a bit and that was a huge moment for me,” he says. “It had come after a couple of years when I wasn’t going off the rails as such but had definitely been getting into trouble at school and getting into trouble with the police a couple of times and falling in with a bad crowd.
“From my parents’ point of view there was a sense of 'What is Kevin going to do next?' So for my dad to see me on stage for the first time it meant I could say 'See dad, the police and teachers weren’t lying – I AM quite funny!’”
:: Kevin Bridges plays the SSE Arena in Belfast on Friday and Saturday and then seven nights at the Olympia in Dublin. A Whole Different Story: Live 2015 is released on DVD/Blu-ray on Monday (www.kevinbridges.co.uk)