Daniel Kitson

Daniel Kitson

Comedy - it's the new rock 'n' roll, innit? All the best ones have superstar status, and sell out Wembley-sized gigs. They have their faces on T shirts and a 12 part primetime series on't telly. Or do they? Nope. One man is breaking the mould: Daniel Kitson. Comedy's Best Kept Secret Kitson burst onto the comedy scene in 2001 when he was awarded the Perrier Comedy Award at the Edinburgh Festival. Kitson was 24 at the time, with eight years of stand-up already behind him, but he was still a little wet behind the ears when it came to fitting in to the comedy world. He knew what he did and ...

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Updated April 14, 2011
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Full Biography

Comedy - it's the new rock 'n' roll, innit? All the best ones have superstar status, and sell out Wembley-sized gigs. They have their faces on T shirts and a 12 part primetime series on't telly. Or do they? Nope. One man is breaking the mould: Daniel Kitson.


Comedy's Best Kept Secret

Kitson burst onto the comedy scene in 2001 when he was awarded the Perrier Comedy Award at the Edinburgh Festival.


Kitson was 24 at the time, with eight years of stand-up already behind him, but he was still a little wet behind the ears when it came to fitting in to the comedy world.


He knew what he did and didn't want, however. And what his first show, Love Innocence and the Word Cock made plain to the multi-million pound drinks sponsor was he didn't approve of corporate sponsorship in comedy. Gotta love a rebel.


What sets Kitson apart, however, is that he's stuck to his principles even when lucrative offers flood in. He's concentrated on honing his stage craft instead. Maybe he was scarred by his appearance on Blockbusters as a child, but he has a reputation for shunning the limelight and TV time.


You probably saw him as Spencer in Phoenix Nights though. That experience scarred him for life as well. Let's just say him and Peter Kay are not pals.


We know who he's not - so who is he? Daniel Kitson was born in the Yorkshire town of Denby Dale to a Head Teacher mum and Professor of Business Ethics dad. In 1995 he went to the Roehampton institute to study Drama.


He enjoyed the oddness of acting theory: "all these pretentious-sounding things like the process of mediation and a joke not existing until it's heard."


The Comedian's Comedian

Despite winning comedy awards aplenty and appearing to rave reviews in comedy festivals in Brisbane and Melbourne, Kitson vows to remain aloof. He says, "I do think of it as my duty to remain an outsider as best I can without it becoming an affectation".


"I do intend to actively resist mainstream success... I think genuinely wonderful things aren't liked by that many people".


Despite limiting his audience to folk who actually pay to put their bums on seats, the Daniel Kitson fan club is growing - not least among fellow comics.


Clydebank born Kevin Bridges calls Kitson "the pioneer of themed shows" while Danielle Ward herald him as "the daddy of this sort of comedy" - "This sort" being the somewhat intellectual new wave showcased by The School For Gifted Children crew, Josie Long, Isy Suttie and Robin Ince.


Brand New Shows

Daniel Kitson unveiled two new shows at The Edinburgh Festival 2009 which he then toured after the Festival run. He presented a new theatre show, The Interminable Suicide of Gregory Church, at the Traverse.


At the Festival he delivered a midnight stand-up show at The Stand. He said, "I don't mind telling you, I've started to have some bloody great ideas".


Potential audience members better beware: if Daniel doesn't like you he'll let you know it... probably in a manner which may make you leave the auditorium. He shrugs, "I'd really like to whittle my fan base down to about 12 - you can call them disciples if you like."


Along with God-like genius, however, comes what some might label as a meglomanical need for power. Daniel Kitson is his own manager. He is his own publicist. He posts on his own website.

Where Britney and Michael and Li-lo has no-one to tell them 'no', perhaps /b>Kitson could do with someone to persuade him 'yes'.


Kitson's on-stage persona is self-effacing and some might say nerdish. But the last thing he wants is for people to feel drawn toward him. He says, "I was interested in being less likeable on stage, but as funny" Then someone pointed out something. "People were leaving my show saying: 'that was really funny, but I don't like him very much'".


"And I thought, 'Excellent!'"


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