Ivo Graham: 'I got the addiction that has led to me continuing to chase comedy ever since'
- Brian Donaldson
- 15 April 2019
As this year's heats for prestigious competition So You Think You're Funny? get set to begin, we speak to past winners and find out some tricks of this particular trade
Peter Kay. Dylan Moran. Rhona Cameron. Tommy Tiernan. Aisling Bea. Lee Mack. David O'Doherty. Phil Kay. Miles Jupp. This array of British and Irish stand-up talent might not have a huge amount in common in terms of style, technique and content, but there is one key thing linking them. The crown of So You Think You're Funny? has been placed on all of their heads at the end of August ever since the number one comedy competition in this country was founded by the Gilded Balloon in 1988 (a young Bruce Morton was the inaugural winner and his post-SYTYF? career hasn't been too shabby either given that he's had his own Channel 4 series and played a ghoulish undertaker in Still Game).
The list of those who made it to the grand final but didn't emerge victorious on the night is equally as impressive: Sarah Millican, Kevin Bridges, Jack Whitehall, Josh Widdicombe, Romesh Ranganathan, Micky Flanagan, Hannah Gadsby, Jimmy Carr, Daniel Sloss, Doc Brown, Sara Pascoe, Reg D Hunter, Russell Kane, Zoe Lyons, Mark Watson, Nina Conti, and, well, the list just goes on and on.
Ten years ago, at the tender age of 18, Ivo Graham became the youngest winner of the prize and his rise up the comedy ladder has been impressive to watch. He's racked up numerous TV credits, played to sell-out audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe and gone on his first full solo UK tour this year.
'It made being a comedian as a job seem suddenly not impossible,' he recalls of his moment in the SYTYF? sun. 'I got a bit of attention from the industry, I got an agent, I got the chance to return to the Edinburgh Fringe the following year. I got the bug, the addiction that has led to me continuing to chase comedy ever since, a decade of semi-viable larking around that has brought with it the occasional moment of further pride to my father, but also a hefty dose of further shame upon the family.'