Catch Hackney stand-up comedian in comedy auditions tonight

Comedian Barnaby Slater appears in tonight’s auditions for a long-running comedy competition, which has seen the likes of comedians Russell Brand and Eddie Izzard grace the list of contenders.

For many people standing alone on stage trying to make people laugh would be their worst nightmare.

But South Hackney stand-up comedian Barnaby Slater admits he indulges in these solo performances to fill his need to be the centre of attention.

“I love the feeling of people laughing at something I’ve said,” said the 30-year old who lives in Parkside Estate, Rutland Road, South Hackney.

“Even if it’s one 10 second burst of laughter, it is an indescribable buzz that can’t be replicated and that’s what keeps me coming back for more.

“I also have an element of masochism, a sadistic streak that makes me willing to put myself through hell.”

He describes his first gig as “the most nerve racking moment of my life.”

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“But like a lot of stand-ups, I would say my first gig was my best gig,” he added.

“It’s an enormous relief and you get a buzz and a rush you’ve never had before, and I got all my best material out and everyone laughed,” he said.

“You do it and you think you’re a genius and you’ve found your calling - but then you realise it’s an art and you have to start working really hard and learning the tricks and how to write properly and how to work an audience.”

Barnaby is a contestant in the New Act of the Year competition and can be seen for free tonight at the New Act of the Year auditions.

Other Hackney comedians appearing tonight include Martin Croser and Kerry Gilbert.

The contest used to be known as the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year, but the 29th final will instead be held at the Barbican, instead of the Mare Street theatre because of its closure and uncertain future.

Twelve acts out of the 150 entrants will go through to the final on Saturday March 19.

Barnaby can be seen at 8pm tonight in the bar at the Stratford Theatre Royal East.

The last audition takes place tomorrow (Tuesday March 8) at Rich Mix in Bethnal Green Road.