Jason Cook

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Jason Cook

Jason Cook is a happy man. Today, he cheerfully tells me, he has purchased a new Xbox game. But Cook has other reasons to feel upbeat; his 2007 début fringe show My Confessions was a critical hit and was successfully followed by a show about happiness appropriately entitled Joy. ‘I’ve already gone way past where I thought I’d be with this game,’ admits the Newcastle comic. ‘I thought I’d just be stuck on the circuit doing 20 minutes.’ Citing storytelling comedians Dylan Moran, Alun Cochrane and Daniel Kitson as inspiration, Cook set himself the challenge of telling nothing but the truth on stage. The most personal touch, however, was the influence of another of Cook’s comedy heroes: his dad. ‘He’s the funniest bloke I ever met; just one of those people who could make you laugh by saying very little, which I can’t do.’

His father’s stroke and subsequent illness was central to My Confessions and the heart-tugging conclusion moistened even hardened critics tear ducts. One year on and with Joy, he is discussing his father’s death. ‘He asked me to do it,’ Cook explains. ‘When he was dying, he said I should talk about it in the show. The second half of which we kind of wrote together.’ This collaboration is poignant for the happy-go-lucky performer, whose objective is to find joy in everyday life. ‘I wanted to write a show where you actually feel something,’ Cook says before adding more specifically, ‘where people go away feeling happy.’

The Stand, Edinburgh, Tue 18–Sun 23 Nov

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