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So You Think You're Funny award-winning stand up comedian Ivo Graham brings dad jokes of new show Motion Sickness to Ullapool and Inverness

By Kyle Walker

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WHEN Ivo Graham answers his phone, the first thing to leave his lips is an apology.

The So You Think You’re Funny award-winning stand up has become one of the hottest rising stars of UK comedy, in demand across the country. He has appeared in Mock the Week, Live at the Apollo and As Yet Untitled.

The 28-year-old has, however, also very recently become a father, which has necessitated some reshuffling of priorities.

“I’d like to apologise for Monday’s absolute shambles!” Ivo exclaims. “I had a baby two months ago – but it’s not an excuse, you can’t just use the baby for everything!

“Monday was a particularly stressful day, but, you know, how far is anyone’s phone away from them in this day and age? I think I wasn’t looking at it for about 45 minutes and that was the crucial time I forgot to set a reminder.

“But now, I’m in Acton Park in west London, I’m pushing her around, she’s being an angel, and I’m juggling my personal and professional life to terrific effect!”

Ivo Graham.
Ivo Graham.

That juggling reflects itself in his latest show Motion Sickness – Ivo’s stand up show written for last year’s Fringe about growing up, adulthood and whether or not he was ready to become a father.

“I tried to read a few books beforehand, but they just can’t capture the madness of it all,” Ivo said. “They can give you a fairly good idea but you can only really start learning when you start doing.

“The nice thing about stand up is that I’m free a lot of the daytime so I feel I can pull my weight a little bit. Scotland tour – less ideal for parenthood, but I’ve committed to it now.”

Travelling 600 miles north away from one’s new child would be a struggle for anybody. Although Ivo is of course still looking forward to bringing his comedy up north. “I know the Scottish Highlands a little bit, we used to go on holiday up there a little bit when I was young.

“My dad loved it in particular, there’s a place called the Dundonnell Hotel, not far from Ullapool, and I’m going to stay there on my night off purely to walk in my father’s footsteps.”

“I tried to read a few books beforehand, but they just can’t capture the madness of it all.”

The plan had been for this to be a big family outing for Ivo, his fiancé and their daughter. “Sadly it’s turned out that as I slightly feared and as a lot of other parents warned me, it was not realistic. She needs to be near her home comforts, grandparents, near her local doctor’s surgery – she doesn’t need to be getting on a ferry to Stornoway.

“So I’m travelling alone for the week, which I’m sure will add a certain sense of doomed romance to it. But you know – it might not be quite as fun as it could have been.”

And leaving the family behind has Ivo conflicted. “I’m not meaning to sound glib, but I wasn’t expecting to love my daughter as much as I do,” he says candidly. “I knew I would eventually but I didn’t think it would happen immediately, but I’ve very much had an instant bam!

“And I’m obviously extremely delighted by that, and it’s magic. But it does mean that suddenly certain aspects of my lifestyle which necessitate being away for a long time, you suddenly look at all of these things which were such a big part of the life you enjoyed and you feel so much more conflicted about all of them”

But it’s one of the anxieties that Ivo must have considered when writing Motion Sickness, his show about deciding if he’s ready for fatherhood that he’s touring after the fact. “It’s actually not worked out very well time-wise at all!” he laughs.

“It was written last summer about trying for a baby and all of the anxiety that brings.

“And now the baby has not just been tried for, the attempts have succeeded – and here I am wheeling her around a park!”

Ivo Graham brings his show Motion Sickness to The Ceilidh Place, Ullapool on Monday; and Eden Court, Inverness on Tuesday. Go to www.ivograham.com

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