Farmer and funnyman Jim Smith harvesting laughs this September as comedian's stand up show Back to the Teuchter returns to Eden Court, Inverness for ANOTHER sold out show
TO peel back the curtain on this line of work for a brief moment – this arts journalist has made many missed phone calls for interviews, and heard many reasons and excuses for those phone calls being missed.
But the best – and new personal favourite – happened this Monday, when Jim Smith calls back after a missed call and a message left. “Sorry I missed your call,” he says, apologetically. “I was loading sheep.”
That’s because Jim – the Scottish comedy sensation whose own comical peeling back of the veil on his work life has led to sell out shows across the country – is juggling that success with his main job as a farmer down in the heart of rural Perthshire.
This marks Jim’s second visit to Inverness this year, after selling out the same theatre’s OneTouch in June. “I’m really looking forward to it, aye, because it kick-starts my autumn leg of my tour. So that’s the other reason I’m trying to get as many jobs done!” he laughs.
“But no, I’m really looking forward to it, and especially because it’s going to be the big theatre at Eden Court as well – big crowd going!
“So I’m really delighted, and I always enjoy going up north. It’s going to be ‘good craic’, as they say!”
Not bad going at all for a stand-up who started performing comedy seven years ago – the rise from that to selling out the Highlands’ biggest comedy venue is the sort of progress that full-time comedians would be envious of. “I know, it’s unbelievable!
“I mean, I’ve been really fortunate that folk have been coming and buying tickets – I had no idea when I did the tour it would get anything like this, because originally it was just meant to be the OneTouch and some smaller venues throughout Scotland.”
“It’s basically one big tour – we’re just taking a break in the middle. But yes, aye, we had May and June, and that was kind of the original, and then we added some extra dates in September – I just can’t get over it.”
What has helped bring Jim to a wider public perception has been the multiple strings to his bow. On top of his stand up, he’s appeared in BBC Scotland show Scot Squad, filmed a series of videos for the broadcaster’s Facebook page – The Farm Diaries – and appeared on Breaking the News. As well as that, he’s also had a short-form series on BBC iPlayer, The Farm.
The question therefore become how Jim has managed to juggle his comedy commitments with his full-time farming. “Not very well!” he laughs.
“I just try and do my gigs when we’re a bit quieter. But then saying that, by rights I really shouldn’t be doing a tour in September, because normally I’d be really busy with stuff. But then a lot of folk who come to the gigs are farmers as well, so they’ll be maybe sitting in a combine unless it’s wet weather.
“We got about 300 acres here at home – which by today’s standards is not a huge farm, but I’ve got good neighbours that can help out, and I seem to be able to ask for help more now. And yeah, there is a bit of a juggling process.”
Jim Smith brings Back to the Teuchter to Eden Court, Inverness on Wednesday night. Tickets have sold out.