Belfast Telegraph

Greg Davies: Fear of stand-up comedy was like fear of flying

The actor said he only overcame his terror when he feared he would make himself ill.

Comedian Greg Davies has described the nerves he felt when he was starting out as a stand-up as similar to a fear of flying.

The Man Down star said he only overcame the terror after he feared he would give himself a heart attack.

He told the Press Association he does not get nervous now, saying: “After about two years of chain-smoking and looking at myself purple-faced in a mirror, I thought ‘you have got to find a way of coping with this’, and so the nerves are replaced by a sort of agitation.”

Davies continued: “I just had a word with myself – I said ‘it’s all very well doing this, but you’re going to have a heart attack, you are going to kill yourself if you get this stressed’, and a penny dropped.

“It’s the same with my fear of flying, I used to be awfully scared of flying and a total stranger next to me saw me white knuckled on this flight and lent over and said, ‘You know that you being stressed won’t make any difference to whether this plane crashes or not’ and it just clicked something in my head.

“I thought ‘That’s so true’. And the same happened to me with stand-up – you getting this worked up won’t make the show better or worse. It’s just you getting worked up.”

Davies said tackling his fear of comedy was better than continuing his career as a teacher, a job that informed his role as the head of sixth form in E4 comedy The Inbetweeners.

He said: “I don’t think I could have stayed in it, because I think I got to the stage where I was so miserable.

“I was so glum it wasn’t fair for me to carry on, really. I had to give it a go – I’d always wanted to do comedy, so teaching – although I had great times doing it – was always a bit of an avoidance strategy, if I’m honest.

“I got to the stage where I physically couldn’t carry on unless I gave comedy a go, it was necessity.

“It often is with me, to be honest. I am often driven by necessity, rather than actually doing things like an adult.”

The fourth series of Man Down is on Channel 4 on October 25.

From Belfast Telegraph