'Would you like to give comedy a go?' was the name of the course that caught Chris Norton-Walker's attention when he was a student at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).
Ten years later, Chris is making a name for himself on the stand-up circuit and will be starring in several shows at the Leicester Comedy Festival.
He said: “It was actually a Leicester Comedy Festival course and I thought I had nothing to lose so I went along with a friend.
“I remember being very nervous and not knowing what to expect. But that was it, I was hooked.”
Chris said he had always played the funny roles in plays, but the course was his first taste of stand-up comedy and he “absolutely loved it.”
This was at the start of his third year of Drama Studies at DMU and it proved to be a busy year. He became the Comedy Editor of DMU's '10 Days Magazine' and went on to have more than 10 stand-up gigs at venues across Leicester.
He said: “I'd always had an interest in drama. I knew I wanted to do something in performance but I didn't know what.
“Then it all happened and I found comedy.”
Chris said he enjoyed his DMU student experience, but admits to shedding a tear when he realises how many years have passed since his graduation.
He said: “DMU had lots of great facilities and it's centrally located, just a short walk from town. It was a great few years, from what I remember.”
Chris graduated from DMU in 2008 then went on to be awarded a Master's in Devised Theatre Practice from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London.
He said he purposely made a 'gradual progression' into comedy as he wanted to gain experience of a wider range of performance.
Chris, who lives in St Albans, has also had several TV extra roles on Eastenders, Crackanory, and the National Geographic, as well as appearing in TV adverts.
But it is comedy that remains his first love and he has done gigs all over the country, throughout Europe and as far away as The Comedy Store in LA.
Performing at the Edinburgh Fringe, his first full show was cited as being one of the 25 reasons to go to the Edinburgh Fringe’ by the Evening Standard and one of the ‘Top 100 shows to see in Edinburgh’ by The Scotsman.
He is praised for being quick-witted and his comedy is described as a selection of cheeky and playful one-liners.
His inspiration comes from everyday observations, interactions and scenarios. He also listens to the radio and podcasts to see how people phrase things.
DMU to host Leicester Comedy Festival launch
No laughing matter: DMU graduate Sarah Keyworth shares her comedy success story
DMU students helping to run the show at Leicester Comedy Festival
Chris says anyone can be funny but not everyone can be a comedian and put up with the heckling, rejection and continuous late nights.
He said: “The best thing about comedy is being able to say something that has the whole room laughing; that's a real rush of adrenaline.
“I also quite like the lifestyle of not having to get up at 6am only to be stuck in rush-hour traffic on the way to the office. I work for myself and gig when I want to.”
At this year’s Comedy Festival, he has a solo show called ‘Yeah!’ on February 11 at 2pm at The Cookie.
He is also on stage at the One Liner Show on February 7 at 9.30pm at the Exchange Bar, and the Silly Hour of Fun on February 10 at 2pm at Manhattan 34.
He is also involved in promoting and organising the DMU versus University of Leicester stand-up battle on February 16 at 10pm at Manhattan 34.
Chris said: “I love coming back to Leicester, it feels like home. I always find Leicester's people very welcoming.”
For Leicester Comedy Festival tickets, phone 0116 456 6812 or visit the Festival website.
Posted on Thursday 1st February 2018