Stand-up comedian Jon Pearson is expecting some harsh critics when he comes home for a much-anticipated show at Melton Theatre next month.
Jon is aiming for a sell-out when he brings his Tall Order show to his home town on Sunday, February 15 (7.30pm) as part of the highly regarded Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival.
The show is a free ticketed event with almost half of the 350 seats already spoken for, and a good number snapped up by familiar faces.
But performing in front of friends and family may induce as many alarms as comforts.
And the presence of one particular fan may ensure the language is cleaner than normal.
He said: “It’s exciting to be coming back.
“A lot of my mates have never seen me do stand-up before, and it will also be the first time my mum has seen me perform, so it’s exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time.”
Jon was approached by Melton Theatre co-ordinator Michael Harris to put on a full-length show after a successful 10-minute slot at the Bottle Rocket Comedy Club night last autumn.
Tall Order will be Jon’s second hour-long show of a five-year career in the unforgiving stand-up arena.
It is the follow-up to debut show Last Supper, written about his divorce.
At 6ft 5ins and 20 stone, Jon is larger than your average funnyman, and his new work deals with the quirks and practicalities of being overgrown at every stage of life.
The Melton audience can expect several familiar reference points, added for their ears only.
He added: “The show is a work in progress and I’ll be taking it up to Edinburgh this summer. It’s going to be full of life stories about how I felt growing up.
“There will be a couple of decent Melton elements that will probably only be told here.”
A bucket will be passed around on the night as the audience are invited to pay what they think the show is worth – a move which requires a degree of courage as well as confidence.
As a John Ferneley College old boy, Jon has decided to donate the collection to the school’s breakfast club.
“My mum works at WH Smith’s in Melton with the wife of the deputy head,” he said.
“They were talking about the breakfast club and I thought this would be a nice way to give something back.
“If I fill the theatre and everyone gives a pound that would keep the club going for a while.”
Jon has to fit three or four gigs a week, as well as writing material, around a full-time career as an IT consultant.
But late nights and early starts are something he will begrudgingly bear until the comedy alone pays the bills.
While spending a good chunk of summer at the Edinburgh Festival’s free fringe won’t bring in pots of cash, it does offer invaluable exposure in his bit to ditch the day job.
Jon has featured at venerable comedy venues like the Comedy Store and Glee Club, but is also at home in intimate venues like the Noels Arms. He performed at the Melton pub last May as a warm-up for his 2014 Edinburgh run.
He added: “I started writing Tall Order last September when I decided I needed something new to keep myself fresh.
“It’s exciting because you have no idea how the material will go down, and that really keeps your heart-rate up.
“Performing comedy is terrifying, but exhilarating at the same time. You should try it!”
* Book your seat by calling Melton Theatre box offic on (01664) 851111 or visit www.meltontheatre.co.uk