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About James Ross
Comedian James Ross is the 10 year stand-up veteran, MC and improviser known as the high-energy, left field stand-up for people who’ve read a book without pictures (and enjoyed it). He is also the originator of Fat Kitten Improv, having taken the East London group to three sell-out Edinburgh Fringe runs and victory in the Make-A-Wish Theatresports Cup.
In 2013, James Ross and comedy partner Steve Volich took their stand-up and improv fusion show Pistols to the Edinburgh Fringe. The following year saw James Ross pursuing more of the stand-up route, with his show Unicornicopia. A memorable show of the Edinburgh Free Fringe, it was a raucous set delivered at breakneck speed covering love, dreams and and chemistry in-jokes. The show also featured special guests, comedians Stephanie Laing and Alasdair Beckett-King. James Ross came back to fringe again in 2015 with his solo debut, Leopardoptera, garnering praise from critics and audiences alike for presenting a show that “ lacks the cynicism or cruelty towards audiences which is sometimes present in other shows”. As well as his solo work, James Ross has performed Victorian-style two-prov as half of Jingo & Butterfield’s Tales of the Empire in London and Edinburgh. When he’s not performing on the live circuit, James Ross has made a name for himself running the “fluffy and non-threatening” comedy night in East London, Quantum Leopard. Voted “Best Club Night in London” by Chortle in 2018, the regular event on trendy Brick Lane is a pay-what-you-like, bring-your-own-booze affair that vaguely evokes the DIY spirit of the squat party. When not busy with all of that, James Ross also teaches improv and stand-up, when the pedagogic impulse takes him.
WATCH JAMES ROSS: LEOPARDOPTERA
Roll up, roll up for the loud, eccentric, “abrasive looking circus man” James Ross. Bringing his mad-cap comedy to town, this left-field special packs a punch(line) with surreal flights of fancy, middle class musings and some anthropological toilet humour thrown in for good measure.
Reviews and Awards
James Ross’s Quantam Leopard was voted “Best Club Night” in London by Chortle in 2018.
‘One to watch’Daily Mirror
‘A raucous and surprising hour of comedy…His experience on the circuit as an improviser is in evidence, too, with his snappy audience work and his ability to crank up the energy from a standing start’Chortle
‘Well spoken but bat-shit insane’culture-slut.com
James Ross Tickets
Information on James Ross’s upcoming gigs and live shows can be found here
Talking to John Flemming for his blog, And So it Goes, James Ross reveals where it all started for him comedy-wise. And in true, eccentric James Ross style, it’s not the usual reply:
“Sooty & Sweep were my introduction to comedy…I was always taken by my parents to Southport. There’s this big Scottish Dancing Convention there and they met while Scottish dancing. In the other big theatre part of this big hall there was always The Sooty Show. So my grandma would take me and my little brother to see Sooty & Sweep while my parents were off doing their Scottish dancing in the other room..I love my parents very much, but I think their sense of the surreal is really quite limited. My dad is a Scout leader; my mum is a Guide leader. They are both pillars of the community. I think they are a little puzzled where this strange changeling child came from.
As well as performing stand up himself, comedian James Ross runs the monthly-ish Quantum Leopard comedy night in London. Often sold out in advance, it’s an immensely popular show on the circuit and known for it’s very particular policy on comic content. Whilst many comics rail against the PC brigade and censorship, James Ross explains to John Flemming his opposite stance – “The content policy is no racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, chav bashing… No picking on the audience, no rape jokes… And, in return, no heckling from the audience…The mini-manifesto behind it is that there is an audience for nice, kind, friendly accessible comedy that is not really very well served by a lot of comedy clubs. There are so many people who just get put off going to mainstream comedy clubs. There are a lot of MCs out there who are channeling some really quite barely-controlled rage. And a lot of men who have a problem with women or picking victims and thinking that ‘really horrible’ is the same as ‘funny’. It’s just not on and audiences don’t like it. A lot of the comedy circuit is horrible and our gigs are so much more fun for much nicer people…The reason why we get full houses at Quantum Leopard and why people come back month after month is because people know it is a safe place to be. They CAN sit on the front row to have a good view of a nice show and they know they’re not going to have the piss ripped out of them. If people want the ‘intimate bullying’ experience, there are plenty of places that serve it up.”
Having performed improv and his solo work to unpaying audiences at the Edinburgh Festival, James Ross has become a volunteer and strong advocate of the Free Fringe. Speaking to CrackingTheFringe.com, he explains the ethos –
“In my view, it’s about avoiding gouging the big 4 venues, which has turned into this massive pay-to-play circus. I mean, it’s not just the big 4 venues – they come in for a lot of stick, but at least with them you get a certain amount of paid promo stuff and some sort of industry cachet, but it’s the other – there’s the whole mid-range of venues that just gouge and gouge and gouge – it is paying large amounts of money to have your dreams broken; it’s not a good business model for the acts, it’s a wonderful business model for the surplus extracting leechy parasites that run the venues – it’s a wonderful cash-cow for them, but it’s built on the sucked-out blood of the performers. It’s a fairly standard Marxist argument, as far as I’m concerned – they’ve taken our productive surplus, it’s time to take it back, and the way to do this is with the win-win for venues and performers and audience members – performers get the spaces for free, venues get footfall, they sell drinks, and audiences get to see things they would not otherwise see for very sensible prices, ie free / donations. Everybody wins, apart from the bloated capitalist pig-dog lackeys”
So what’s next for James Ross? Speaking on a recent Sticher.com podcast he reveals that as well as podcasting and continuing his London comedy night, he’s focusing on a different kind of creativity – becoming a dad.
Get More James Ross
Want more of James Ross? You’re in luck – his full stand-up comedy special is available to watch on NextUp – a digital comedy club where you can stream instantly over 120 comedy specials from some of the exciting names in comedy. Start watching free, no credit card needed.