Jack Whitehall: Settle Down, Skechers and ignoring his dad's parenting advice

Jenny Lee chats to comedian, writer, actor and new dad Jack Whitehall about how he’s prepared for parenting and why he’s not taking his father’s advice

Jack Whitehall: Settle Down Is coming to The SSE Arena, Belfast on October 6.
Jack Whitehall: Settle Down Is coming to The SSE Arena, Belfast on October 6. Jack Whitehall: Settle Down Is coming to The SSE Arena, Belfast on October 6.

HE SPENT years teasing former Liverpool footballer Jamie Redknapp about wearing Skechers and even incorporated it into his Settle Down stand-up tour. Now comic Jack Whitehall has admitted to becoming “a full-blown dad” as he announces to the world he even wore Skechers to see his newborn daughter in hospital.

Earlier this week Whitehall and his model girlfriend Roxy Horner, 32, were pictured leaving the private Lindo Wing at St Mary’s in London with their new daughter.

Jack was quick to share his joy on social media. The proud father was pictured cradling his daughter in his arms. Writing on Instagram, he admitted the experience was both “utterly overwhelming” and “joyous” in ways he “couldn't have imagined”.

“Having vowed I’d never be that guy, I am now 100% going to be the parent that shows everyone endless pictures of their kid. I also wore Skechers to hospital, I think I must accept I am a full-blown dad now,” he added.I caught up with a “nervously excited” Whitehall via Zoom, just days before the birth, when he shared with me how he gradually learnt to love the trainers."I wear Sketchers in my stage show because I wanted to make a joke about Jamie Redknapp teaming up with

Skechers for its men's lifestyle campaigns.

@jackwhitehall Coming for Jamie Redknapp's Skechers gig. #builtforcomfort ♬ Good as Hell - Lizzo

"I started wearing them back to my hotel to save me changing. Then the next morning when they were sitting beside my bed, I started to wear them. Recently I got papped wearing them out and Jamie was laughing at me. "I will probably be wearing crocs chinos and a polo shirt by the time I come to Belfast," laughs the 35-year-old. The comedian describes the Settle Down tour, his first in four years, as his "most personal show to date"."It's about my struggle to settle down gracefully. I've got a long-term partner, a ridiculous dog and am now hurtling towards middle age without a clue.”Amidst the jokes and banter, Whitehall discusses his partner's miscarriage. "I've had a very positive reaction to that.  Life isn’t all Instagramable - the raw emotions need to be dealt with too."I’ve been doing this for 15 years and the audiences have changed too and grown up with me and many are going through some of this stuff themselves," he reflects with genuine maturity.Whitehall has taken a two-month break from his Settle Down tour to embrace parenthood and to write some new material for his updated show, which comes to Belfast's SSE Arena on October 6. "The show is continually evolving as my life is evolving. When I started in America, we hadn't even announced Roxy was pregnant. I'll definitely be doing some writing in the next couple of months for the show."Whilst the baby scan picture has already made an appearance on stage, Whitehall isn't apologetic for the dad jokes. 

"I'm in the dad zone, so they are inevitable. Though the fact I was using the baby as a punchline before she was born is a bit worrying."Belfast comedy fans are renowned for being a vocal crowd - but it's an energy Whitehall thrives upon.

"I enjoy coming to Belfast because I often get a bit of heckling. It makes a nice difference from sitting in a quaint theatre in Oxford."Read more: 

Living it Large: Jack Whitehall is Belfast-bound

Whilst he admits he runs material about his partner by her with no complaints, when it comes to their 'furkid' – cavapoo rescue dog Coco, it’s an entirely different matter.“I’m not sure how the dog will react to the baby as she is the Princess of the house,” he laughs.Having already made an appearance the premiere of Clifford The Big Red Dog, will we be seeing Coco make a stage appearance during the remainder of the tour?

"No way, she would poop," he shrieks.

Whitehall is now firmly on Hollywood’s radar, with roles in Jungle Cruise and Robots. He can currently be seen in the second series of Apple TV+ comedy series, The Afterparty.

His Netflix show Travels With My Father, which saw them tour the world, sampling different cultures and beginning to see others in a new light, was a massive hit.

And now the new father and grandfather are embarking upon another journey of discovery with the new four-part comedy travel series, Fatherhood with My Father.

No release date has been announced yet for the show, which sees the duo travel to different countries and cultures to try and crack the answers to parenthood’s endless questions.​

There's quite a generation gap between father and son, as 83-year-old Michael was almost 50 when his son was born.

This has certainly influenced the kind of relationship they have – and the parenting advice Whitehall senior has passed onto his son.

"When I was shooting our new Netflix show about fatherhood, he was forthcoming with some advice. He told me not to get too involved too early because you’re setting the barrier too high. I think I will ignore that.”

So what type of dad does he think he will be?

"My dad was an embarrassing dad, so firstly I will try hard not to be an embarrassing dad. I just want to make sure she has the best life she can.”

And is a Jack Whitehall: Travels With My Daughter inevitable in the future?

“I will probably try to dissuade her from entering the industry. My mum was an actress and she tried to do the same but it didn't work.

“They wanted me to become a lawyer or doctor. When I finally told them I wanted to be a stand-up, of course they supported me and I would like to think I would do the same.”

I end by asking Jack if he would contemplate bringing out a book about parenting in the future?

"The Netflix show will probably be my contribution to parenthood. I did three books with dad and, as he said at the time, that is three more than I've ever read," he chuckles.

Jack Whitehall: Settle Down Is coming to The SSE Arena, Belfast on October 6.  Tickets at Ssearenabelfast.com/whats-on/jack-whitehall