Interview: Jake Lambert – The Sunshine Kid

Interview: Jake Lambert – The Sunshine Kid
Rising stand-up Jake Lambert has made a splash in the last year with his gag-packed viral Instagram clips charting the quirks of modern life, from the things we say at work to the things we feel compelled to ask dog owners.
Since then the 33-year-old's career has taken off. He has appeared on Live at the Apollo and now hits the road with his first national tour, entitled The Sunshine Kid, while also fitting in arena dates supporting Michael McIntyre. Catch Jake before he is headlining arenas himself...
Check out Jake Lambert on Instagram here.
Jake Lambert's tour starts at The Glee in Cardiff on March 27. Click here for dates and tickets:
Why is your show is called The Sunshine Kid?
It's about me and how I try to find the positives. Despite everything. I’ve noticed how people say negative things online, but if you ever have a chance to speak to them in real life they are not like that at all.
There seems to be anger for no reason. We are kind of trapped by the way we're expected to behave and if we could just break through those barriers. So The Sunshine Kid is me trying to stay optimistic and ask people to try to remain tolerant and understand other people.


You grew up in Slough, but you've travelled quite a bit...
Yes, but I left then I went to university, then I lived in Canada for a while in Alberta. I loved it there, I could see the Rocky Mountains while I was doing the washing up, but I came back and moved to London to do stand-up comedy.


Can you remember the first joke you wrote?
The first joke I ever wrote was: 'My mum makes a mean dinner, last night's was Alphabetti Spaghetti that spelt out "you're adopted.'"


In your previous show Liminal you talked about having epilepsy...
I'd gone to Kingston University to study film and then it turned out I had epilepsy and I had to deal with that. Maisie Adam also has epilepsy so when we've been on a bill together we decide who is going to do their epilepsy material as if we both do it it's a bit too much. The good thing about epilepsy is you get to relax guilt-free. You can control it with medication and not getting too tired. If someone asks you to do something while you are watching TV you just say you can't because you are looking after your epilepsy.


When you were at university were you thinking about a career in film?
Not really, but I did get a part as a schoolboy in Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows. I was 19 but I've always looked young. I could probably still play a child. Ralph Fiennes was brilliant as Voldemort. In one scene he was supposed to be chasing us upstairs, it was a longshot with no microphones so he could say what he wanted and was just swearing and calling us "you little shits" to sound really evil.
It was cold during filming so in one scene I was wearing my coat under my cloak. But they spotted it so I took it off and put it behind a wall. It caught fire and the set had to be evacuated.


And now it's your career that's on fire - what was it like doing Live at the Apollo?
I'd played lots of big venues because I'd supported Romesh Ranganathan, Seann Walsh, Jack Dee and Kevin Bridges, but never the Apollo. It was such an important stepping stone. When I was growing up it was where I'd go to see comedy – I saw Michael McIntyre there and now I'm supporting him.


Were you nervous?
Maybe a bit overwhelmed. I think I bowed to the audience when I came out. But they remind you that it's a TV recording, so if anything goes wrong they can edit it. The only thing was you don't walk on from the side you walk straight on from the back with the microphone in your hand so there's no mic stand – you have to remember to stop walking.
All you do when you're up there is try to ignore the voice in your head that says 'this is what you pictured when you did your first ever gig.' 


Did things change for you straight after?
I had a gig in Torquay next and I remember seeing posters that said 'star of Live at the Apollo'. It was mad to think people coming were seeing that poster. Then the day before the gig I got a message saying 'I see you are doing a show in Torquay, do you want to open our gig first?' so I thought why not, it's a nice extra thing, then I turned up and it wasn't a comedy club it was a wedding. So my first gig after the Apollo was a wedding party – very humbling!


Who do you think your fans are?
It's a mix. People who saw me on Apollo, people who have seen me opening for Michael McIntyre and people who have seen my Instagram reels.


Is showbusiness in your family?
My mum works for American Airlines and my dad works for a golf company. They're quite confused that I've done this. I was always the classic shy child. I've never liked them watching me do stand-up. They bought tickets to see me and Michael in Leeds and it was only when I checked my phone after that I had a photo of me onstage that my mum had sent. I didn't tell them when Apollo was filming in case they tried to get tickets.


What made you start doing Instagram reels?
I was ill last year and had to cancel some gigs and was bored. Suddenly people started coming to gigs and saying 'we follow you.' It seemed to translate to ticket sales.


The clips, such as the difference between boomers, millennials and Generation Z or the daily cliches of office small talk ("Thursday - nearly there") are very relatable...
Yes, it's even international. We are planning a European tour, I'm taking it to Australia and we're working on a US visa. I was in America at a New York Yankees baseball game and people in the crowd were applauding me, which was bizarre.
I just post it and then people in Greece or Argentina are going 'Yeah, we do this too.' It's nice to see how we are all connected.


You also write for other comedians and for TV shows. What's that like compared to writing for yourself?
I've written monologues for Tom Allen on The Apprentice: You're Fired and the opening monologue of the Royal Variety Performance for Rob Beckett and Romesh Ranganathan. I've written for Mock The Week, Bake Off: An Extra Slice. It's fun to write for others because you get to think like them. I wrote for Romesh on The Ranganation and there's no other time I would get to write jokes as a dad of three with Sri Lankan parents.


Is it easier or harder than writing jokes for yourself?
It's easier to write for others because I'll be writing for a TV show which means there's a specific topic. Writing for myself I have the choice of literally everything which is harder. It's like when the selection of chocolates is too large and you don't know what to pick, it's easier to decide if there's only a handful. Does that make sense? I'm hungry which might explain why I'm talking about chocolate.
Picture by Aemen Sukkar, Jiksaw


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