Andy White is a stand-up comedian.
Andy is a native of Birmingham. He was unsure what he wanted to do after leaving school, but ideally hoped to study for a degree in English. However, his first destination was Aston University and a course in town planning. Not surprisingly, this did not work well and he left after a year. He remembered that St David’s University College had a reputation for being easy to get into, so he attended the new entrants’ conference. Lampeter’s remote location meant that this involved spending a night there, giving prospective students a chance to drink in the Students’ Union bar.
At Lampeter, Andy studied English and threw himself into college life. The students themselves made things happen, so it didn’t matter that it was in the middle of nowhere. He began to be involved in live performance and wrote and directed a comedy sketch show. He also wrote humorous articles for the college magazine 1822. Looking back on it, Andy sees his extra-curricular activities as preparing the ground for his comedy career. He was involved in Rag, and thinks he was the most successful collector one year. Again, he can see how this helped his comedy. Rattling a collection tin on a street corner, bellowing at strangers for money really forces you out of your shell. You need to overcome shyness if you want to do stand up. He took part in student politics, including attending some demonstrations. He remembers being one of a small Lampeter group who went to London for a protest against the British National Party. The Lampeter contingent may have been small, but in proportion to student numbers it was the largest from all the Welsh colleges that attended. Andy also ran for Students’ Union president in 1994; he was the first candidate to include an email address on his campaign literature!
After leaving Lampeter, Andy spent some time ‘chained to a desk’ in a call centre. One of his workmates also ran his own production company; he knew Andy was interested in performance and suggested he had a go at stand-up comedy. He then arranged for Andy to do a try-out spot at Jongleurs in Battersea. This was as part of a competition for new acts; most of those taking part had been involved in the London pub circuit for a couple of years. Although Andy did not win, he thought he had done relatively well in what was after all his first attempt.
In 2002 Andy took part in a special edition of BBC1’s The Weakest Link, featuring up and coming comedians. The Weakest Link was a quiz show, presented by Anne Robinson, in which competitors gradually voted off the participants seen as weakest. Andy was the eventual victor; he used his winnings of £9 750 to pay for his wedding six months later. His wife Cait is a fellow Lampeter graduate; the two met as students. Later he was to describe the event in his show ‘It started with a quiz.’ They have a son, Henry, born in 2011. Andy used his experience as a father for another stand up show, Daddy Fool. One show he wrote that was informed by his academic life was I Think Therefore I Joke, which was inspired by the philosophy courses he took in his first year. He still dips into philosophy every now and again. He was able to combine his stand up life with his philosophical interests more recently when he attended a conference on comedy and philosophy at University of Kent in Canterbury in 2019.
White defines himself as an energetic, confident and silly Brummie who combines silly voices and a mad afro to great comic effect. He can shift from deadpan to loud and physical. He says ‘I pull funny faces and do silly voices. Sometimes I throw in jokes. I also write odd little stories.’ He feels he is far more extravert on the stage than in real life. He notes that different audiences vary. For instance, if he is performing in an Arts Centre, he will try to be fairly gentle. If he thinks several stag or hen parties are present, he will try to hit them hard at the start with something very funny. For stag parties, he tends to take the micky out of the future husband; in contrast, hen parties are often protective of the bride.
White regularly performs all over Britain, and sometimes abroad. He has played to a wide variety of audiences – comedy clubs, theatres, cruise ships, universities, radio and TV show, and corporate entertainment events. He has worked with all the major chains and promoters. Overseas, he has performed in Monte Carlo, Berlin, Adu Dhabi, Dubai, Brussels and Zurich.
Deacy, C. (interviewer). (2020, February 8). Nostalgia interviews with Chris Deacy. Andy White. [Audio podcast]. Retrieved October 29 2020 from https://audioboom.com/posts/7499358-andy-white
The Comedy Agency (n.d.) Andy White. Retrieved October 29 2020 from http://www.thecomedyagency.co.uk/artists/andy-white/
McMullen, M. (2011, June 8). Star Andy’s in Market for laughs. Coventry Telegraph. Retrieved October 29 2020 from https://infoweb-newsbank-com.ezproxy.uwtsd.ac.uk/apps/news/document-view?p=UKNB&docref=news/137BC7881CC5D070.
Collins, C. (2002, October 7). Comic links show to bride. Birmingham Mail. Retrieved October 29 2020 from https://infoweb-newsbank-com.ezproxy.uwtsd.ac.uk/apps/news/document-view?p=UKNB&docref=news/1391E85B274131C0.