Joint winner of the 2011 Leicester Mercury Comedian Of The Year title, maverick Comedian, Actor and Artist Ben Target (pronounced the french sounding Tar-jay, dontcha know) is a critically lauded alternative comedian renowned for his absurdist approach to comedy. Ben has been gaining a cult following on the UK circuit since 2010 with his shows well known for being, surreal and wildly inventive, often utilising storytelling and props to punctuate his narratives. In 2012 his hit show Discover Ben Target was nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award newcomer and also, featured on BBC Threes Comedy at the Fringe.
Ben has toured internationally, supporting Edinburgh Comedy Award winners Jonny Sweet and Adam Riches, as well as the popular indie alt-rock group Noah and The Whale. Ben was lauded for his performance in the leading role in Waiting for Gaddot by Richard Gadd at the Edinburgh Fringe, winning an Amused Moose Best Show Comedy Award and subsequently transferring to London’s Soho Theatre for a sell out run.
Ben has written and performed for Comedy Central, BBC, Ch4 and Virgin Radio and is a regular performer at some of the most prestigious alternative comedy clubs in the UK, including ACMS, Weirdos and the Invisible Dot. No wonder Mr Target is becoming widely regarded as one of the hottest, hippest tickets in town!
Watch Ben Target’s Stand-Up Special
The words ‘genius’, ‘unique’ and ‘the best’ are often misused. Ben Target is a comedian. He will be with you for 46 minutes. An audacious offering chock-full of exquisite prop comedy, inadvisable performance art, gauche visuals, nauseating puns and outrageous audience interaction from this breakout alternative wally.
See Ben Target Live
Ben first got into comedy through his two pals, Comedy Network writer Joe Parem and Mark Cooper Jones of sketch group Wit Tank. Living in Paris and working as English teacher, Ben decided he needed a change and so made the move to the UK with plans to become a doctor. Visiting the Edinburgh fringe that summer, Ben was so inspired by watching his friends performing on the fringe, he resolved to abandon a career in medicine in favour of a move to a London Bridge to try his luck on the comedy circuit. In 2009, with his pal and housemate studying at King’s College London, Ben started sneaking into Mark’s university Comedy Society meetings eventually bagging his first open mic slot at one of the student Variety Nights. Ben’s penchant for the absurd was evident immediately, his act beginning with him zipped inside a sleeping bag which he proceeded to open very slowly, and ending by getting back into the sleeping bag and singing a song. Ben continued to write and hone his craft with weekly gigs up and down the country alongside contemporaries Nish Kumar, Ed Gamble and Patrick Turpin. With around 20 gigs under his belt, Ben hit the Edinburgh free fringe that summer with Rob Wells in A Slightly Dangerous Comedy Obsession, as well as previewing a short work in progress version of what was to become his 2012 solo hit – Discover Ben Target.
Within two years Ben was made joint winner of the highly regarded Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year Award, where finalists are nominated by the UK’s top comedy clubs. Ben went on to find huge success with his solo debut, and Discover Ben Target became an underground hit that got audiences and critics buzzing. Chorlte declared – “This is the sort of mad experience – ‘show’ doesn’t seem to be quite the right word – that ought to be part of everyone’s Fringe”. Ben’s following Edinburgh solo shows continued to impress, with Hooray for Ben Target in 2014 and Imagine There’s No Ben Target (It’s Easy If You Try) in 2015. In 2016, Ben put his solo ventures aside to join the multimedia comedy show Waiting for Gaddot alongside Richard Gadd and Ian Smith. The show was an undisputed hit, transfering from the Edinburgh Festival to London’s Soho Theatre with a prestigious Amused Moose ‘Best Show’ Comedy Award and a Malcolm Hardee Award nomination for Innovation and Originality. Ben’s latest offering, Orangeade, shows a softer side and a narrative thread unseen in his previous shows. He told The List – “I wanted to make something that chimed with how I’ve been feeling: tender, reflective, whimsical”
Ben has also been working on several film projects, including ‘Frank’ and ‘The Bird’ with Joe Parham and Turtle Canyon Comedy. ‘Frank’ is the story of a reclusive young model maker (Kieran Hodgson) whose unsettling but deeply touching attempt to attract the attention of the woman he loves (Natalie Dibsdale) is sabotaged by his greatest creation. ‘The Bird’, also directed by Joe & Ben and staring BAFTA Award winning cult comedy favourite Julia Davis, is a tragic tale about a son’s struggle to direct his mother’s affections away from a garden bird who visits her every day and towards himself. As an artist, Ben has also made installations for the Royal Academy of Art, State Library of Victoria, New Designers and is currently making an installation on anxiety with The London Brain Project.