Finchley people: Q&A

Ian Stone

By Sue Walder
This first appeared in January 2010

London-born Ian Stone is one of the UK’s top stand-up comedians, known for his edgy mix of topical and observational humour. Ian has been performing for nearly 20 years and is a regular at The Comedy Store, where he is part of the acclaimed Tuesday night ‘Cutting Edge’ team.

He has toured all over the world and was first ever British stand-up to perform in Moscow (with a translator, in case you were wondering). His many TV appearances include Mock The Week, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, The Late Edition and The 11 O’Clock Show, and he has written for The Omid Djalili Show.

He is also a regular guest on Radio 5 Live’s Fighting Talk. Last year he joined fellow comedian, friend and Arsenal supporter Alan Davies to produce the hugely successful sporting podcast It’s Up For Grabs.

What is your earliest memory?

I remember calling my mother a schmock when I was quite small and getting a smack around the head! [It’s a Yiddish word for penis.]

Have you always made people laugh?

I’ve always enjoyed making people laugh. At school it was the only thing I was any good at. It was basically a defence mechanism.

Can you remember your first gig?

Absolutely! It was 14 August 1991 at The Comedy Cafe and I was terrible, truly terrible! My girlfriend persuaded me to get up and give it a go. Half-way through I wondered why everyone was looking at me! You need a lot of bottle to do stand-up and you also need to be desperate for attention!

Is your Jewish background important to your comedy?

Not so much as it used to be. Anger and irritation is what drives my comedy now. Things like the MPs’ expenses scandal.

What makes you happy?

Hmmm. My kids, family, girlfriend. Watching Arsenal beat Spurs! Just cracking on with mates and being on stage with a room full of laughing people. That’s just transcendental.

Have you ever referenced Finchley in your act?

Definitely back in the eighties when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister and our local MP.

What do you like/dislike about living in Finchley?

I lived in Finchley Central for about 18 years and I love the area. It’s got a good community feel and a nice mix of ethnic groups with all the different fruit and veg shops. What annoys me is what seems like the almost continuous roadworks in the area and the stupidity of the council not getting their act together to co-ordinate things better.

Which do you prefer – doing stand-up, TV/radio work, or writing?

It doesn’t matter as long as I’m allowed to show off! I prefer to perform without interruption, so live performances are best. I’m really enjoying doing the podcasts with Alan. Basically we just recreate the banter we indulge in when we’re at the Emirates watching Arsenal.

How would you like to be remembered?

Fondly.

To download the It’s Up for Grabs podcast visit: http://tinyurl.com/upforgrabs

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