My Comedy Hero: Paul Sinha on Daniel Kitson

Comedian salutes talent and supreme ambition of friend and hero

My Comedy Hero: Paul Sinha on Daniel Kitson

My comedy hero is Daniel Kitson. I am certainly not breaking new ground with this choice. There is a breed of comedy fan who speaks of Daniel Kitson’s body of work with hushed reverence, and for many years bootleg tapes of his best work have been passed around in a manner reminiscent of samizdat publications in communist Russia.

I am ashamed to say that despite Daniel being a friend, I have not come anywhere close to having seen his complete body of work. I do remember the gladiatorial yet playful work of his club comedy years but none of this prepared me for my comedy epiphany in 2005, watching his late-night solo show at The Stand in Edinburgh. I had simply never seen such a happy marriage of rich lyricism and comedy that was downright viscerally funny. Yes, his persona was undoubtedly pleased with himself, but who wouldn’t be? It opened my eyes to just what could be achieved with a bit of effort.

Then, last year at Edinburgh, I stumbled into his early morning one-man play at the Traverse Theatre, It’s Always Right Now Until It’s Later. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but this deeply moving, exquisitely written and utterly hilarious show was the single best thing I have ever seen at Edinburgh. I’m not sure how he keeps reinventing himself so successfully other than to say that Daniel Kitson’s unique blend of talent and supreme ambition makes him my comedy hero.

Paul Sinha’s Fringe show Looking at the Stars is at The Stand, 3–28 Aug.

The Stand, Edinburgh, Thu 23–Sat 25 Jun; The Stand, Glasgow, Thu 7–Sat 9 Jul