Caro Meets Comedy Interview

Spencer Jones: The Herbert In Proper Job

By | Published on Thursday 29 October 2015

You know we love Edinburgh, here at TW towers, and Edinburgh loves ‘Big Babies’ star Spencer Jones. As you’ll find out as you read this interview, the show he won acclaim for at the Fringe this year, ‘The Herbert In Proper Job’ kinda defies categorisation, but I think it’s fair to say that it’s hilarious, clownish, and innovative.


Ahead of a run at the Soho Theatre, I put some questions to Spencer, to find out more about the show, and about his life in general.

CM: Tell us about The Herbert. Who is he, and how did he come into being?
SJ: The Herbert is me. But with all the bad bits taken out. He loves everyone and he wants people to laugh. I did a clown course with Doctor Brown that made me want to try comedy in a different way. I’d been doing little bits of sketch comedy and a fair bit of character comedy stuff. But being introduced to a new way of getting laughs was amazing.

CM: What happens in the show? What does The Herbert do?
SJ: Very simply he just tries to make people laugh. I’ve been working on the show for 6 months and its pretty much the best stuff I had come up with pumped in to a very simple story about what was going on this last year.

CM: What style or genre of performance is this? Is it clowning? Comedy?
SJ: I dont think it fits really snugly into anything but I am a prop comic, who does music and a little bit of character stuff and there is even mumbled stand up in there in places. And they say I am a physical comic, which is crazy as I am a crap physical comedian. I think I will leave it to the audience member to decide. Then I will copy what they say.

CM: This show won an awful lot of acclaim in Edinburgh this year. Does that make you love Edinburgh? Will you go back again?
SJ: I love Edinburgh. Because I think I know what it is. I got lucky this year, that’s all. Some people came and I got away with it. We are all blagging it in this life. Next year I will be half as good. And people will float away. But I am having a laugh at the moment and thats brilliant. Edinburgh is a quality city. Of course I will go back. I like thinking of things, making stuff and showing stuff to people. I am a very lucky man.

CM: Did you always want to be a performer? Did you think you would end up doing exactly what you do?
SJ: I’ve always loved performing. I was very average at school but loved doing plays and being a dickhead; it was the only time I wasn’t bored. That hasn’t gone away, the need to not be bored. It’s a daily battle, that is currently won by chocolate. I didn’t think I would end up doing this. I didn’t know I would be doing this a year and a half ago. Who knows what I will end up doing even in the next 12 months?

CM: Who are your comedy influences?
SJ: There’s a security guard at the local co-op who is brilliant. Always complimenting me on my two sons (one is a daughter). My two year old son is also hilarious. He is the best writer I have ever worked with, genuinely. Dave and Vicky two doors down crack me up. My girlfriend’s Mum and Dad are a good laugh too.

CM: What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you during a performance?
SJ: I used to drum in a junk percussion group. We were doing a gig in someone’s street once and I had a dicky tummy and had to leg it half way through and just knock on a strangers door to sort myself out. Later that day my lung collapsed.

CM: Your CBBC show ‘Big Babies’ has been pretty successful. How did you come up with the idea for it, and was it fun to make?
SJ: Jon Riche my good friend, director and writer came up with the concept and we wrote it together. It was a nightmare to make but it was our first break so we grabbed it with both hands. Acting out the heads was horrible. I hate watching it back, I had way too much on my plate and as a result I am the worst actor in it!

CM: Which do you like best, doing TV stuff or performing live?
SJ: I have to have a bit of everything. I get bored and really need the variety, a fresh challenge and all that. Having said that, I need to pay the bills so if one thing happens to be the thing that pays I will do it. I have a family to look after, and like any parent, that comes first. It is just a job after all, same as any other.

CM: What’s next for you? Are you working on anything new at the moment?
SJ: Doing the Soho Theatre shows this week, next week a telly thing for Sky, the following week I am working with one of my comedy heroes, then after that a thing I am not allowed to talk about, then after that another thing I don’t want to say anything about in case they were joking.

‘Spencer Jones Is The Herbert In Proper Job’ is on at Soho Theatre until 31 Oct. See this page here for info and to book.