‘I don’t know a lot about Belfast but it needs to chuckle’ - comedian Paddy Young

Ahead of his Belfast show comedian Paddy Young chats to Sophie Clarke about bad gigs, his hatred of the internet and how everyone is hungry, horny and scared...

Catch 'Hungry, Horney, Scared' at Limelight 2 on March 15
Catch 'Hungry, Horney, Scared' at Limelight 2 on Friday March 15

Tuxedo wearers are often described as suave and sophisticated James Bond-esque characters, oozing charm and charisma, and the epitome of confidence.

Unfortunately, Scarborough-born comedian Paddy Young is the exception, as he begins our interview by relaying his “worst gig of all time”.

“Clothes matter so much in terms of how you’re perceived by an audience, and I think wearing a tuxedo and talking about fighting over the last spatula in a house share just didn’t work,” he recalls.

Having learnt from his mistakes Young’s career is on the up between being nominated for best newcomer at the 2023 Edinburgh comedy awards and embarking on his first UK tour ‘Hungry, Horny, Scared’.

Young his preparing for his first show in Belfast with his 'Hungry, Horny, Scared' tour
Paddy Young is preparing for his first show in Belfast with his 'Hungry, Horny, Scared' tour

“A couple of years ago I started saying out loud, ‘I’m hungry, I’m horny, I’m scared’ to make my friends laugh like when you were a kid and you used to say ‘I’m hungry, I’m thirsty, I’m bored’ - it was just a new version of that.

“So that became a funny thing and then I talk a little bit in the show about a walrus because this walrus turned up in Scarborough a year or so ago and it was the first time a walrus had been seen in Yorkshire on the coast.”

Of course, Young is referring to Thor, the wandering Arctic walrus who won the hearts of Scarborough residents as well as tourists when he paid a visit to the town in December 2022.

“And the walrus started doing something which embodied all three of those words so it all kind of fit together quite nicely.

“I think it’s one of those titles that’s not only funny but there’s a certain truth to it, I mean, aren’t we all hungry, horny and scared?” he laughs.

It is said Young bears a striking resemblance to both Tamsin Greig and Aidan Turner
It is said Young bears a striking resemblance to both Tamsin Greig and Aidan Turner

A former drama student, Young had initially planned to become an actor but he had always been drawn to comedy and could not resist the buzz of performing new, original material.

“I worked as an actor when I was quite young,” he explains.

“There’s a great local theatre in Scarborough called the Stephen Joseph Theatre so I was always involved in performance and acting.

“Then I went to drama school but I struggled with a lot of it. Some stuff I loved but so much of it didn’t connect with me.

“Comedy was always something I was obsessed with but I was terrified of it for so long and it wasn’t until I graduated that I started doing a few open mics in Manchester. Originally I did it in secret then it slowly became the main thing.”

However, like most comedians Young has had to develop a thick skin in order to succeed.

“Certainly, in the early days when I first started, I left so many gigs early – it wouldn’t be going well and I’d just wrap it up and go because I thought there was nothing to be gained.

“The funny thing now is sometimes a gig is going badly and I’m confident enough to know I’m doing a good enough job and so I’ll stay on out of pure spite.”

Now, Young is a confident and relaxed performer who truly feels at home on stage and has been commended by critics for his expert crowd work.

“I love doing crowd stuff and even when I’ve got a fully finished show there’s always a good percentage of it which I keep to the will of the room.

“That’s taken time, but it’s what I think has elevated my jokes – I sometimes say that my joke writing has never gotten better but the face I pull have.”

He has also amassed a significant online following through his video skits with fellow comedian Ed Knight which technically makes him a star of stage and (phone) screen.

Young will be making his Belfast debut in Limelight 2 on March 15
Young will be making his Belfast debut in Limelight 2 on March 15

“I love making stuff, love working with Ed, all the followers are amazing - but I wish I didn’t have to be online and do it,” Young confesses.

“It’s a devil, you can download it with all intents and purposes that you’re just going to use it for work, but it sucks you in and it destroys a lifeblood of creativity, so I think if I was to become really, really unbelievably successful the first thing I’d do is higher someone to do all that stuff.

“Like a mafia boss, you know the way they never touch the phones? That’s what I’d be like – I’d say something then someone else would record it on someone else’s camera and I’d never have to touch technology again.”

Despite his complicated relationship with the internet, Young’s love of a live crowd is evident, and he is clearly looking forward to making his Belfast debut in Limelight 2 on March 15.

“I’ve never been to Belfast so I’m really excited. I’ve got lots of Irish family - my grandparents are from Connemara but I’ve never been to Northern Ireland so recommendations are welcome,” he enthuses.

When asked why audiences should kick off their weekend by watching his performance he said: “I don’t know a lot about Belfast but it needs to chuckle - the world needs laughter and I’m bringing it in spades.

“It’s a high energy, existential show about generation rent and a whole bunch of other things. I’m incredibly proud of it – it’s an amalgamation of all the funniest stuff I’ve come up with in the six years I’ve been doing comedy – it’s everything I’ve ever worked on in one show and it feels very complete.

“I’m also selling hats at the end.”

Catch Paddy’s debut stand-up tour, ‘Hungry, Horny, Scared’, at Belfast’s Limelight at 7pm on Friday March 15. Tickets and info at berksnest.com/paddy