bang this year is Camden Fringe! We have spoke to a number of acts that you can go and see on the actual stage, so if you have missed comedy and theatre then this is a great time for you! If you are planning on going to the festival though please pre-book your tickets to avoid disappointment. Today we are talking to stand up comedian – Henry Churniavsky
Date: 18th – 22nd August
Location: Etcetera Theatre
Hello! Tell us about yourself and the show you are bringing to Camden fringe?
My name is Henry Churniavsky. I am unique in the fact that I am the only Jewish Scouse Stand-Up Comedian living in Liverpool. I have always had a love of comedy (thanks to my dad) but it was only 7 years ago I had a go at it after doing a comedy course.I did one gig & from then I had the bug and not stopped doing gigs in the UK and abroad.
I’m an old comedian, not long ago a sexagenarian (that’s reaching 60 not a disease!) and I just do this for the love of comedy. However in Aug 2020 I decided I wanted to help people with mental health so joined up with YoungMinds and recently JAMI as I want to give something back and if I can help just 1 person it will be worth It, so all profits will go to the charaties. My day job in Pharmaceuticals ( well I am from Liverpool!!) The pharmaceutical company I work for have been a great help in supporting my comedy. They helped me set up my ‘Laugh For Life Comedy’ podcast (A podcast around comedy and mental health awareness, series 1 has just been completed) by purchasing the equipment and I am at work the lead for the Mental Health Workstream.
I am also working on a comedy book, to be released late this year or early 2022 called ‘With All Jew Respect’ which is a look at Jewish stand-up comedians from Marx (That is Groucho not Karl) to Sienfeld. Looking at over 80 comedians from the UK and USA with their history, best lines, old Jewish jokes and my material all included. I also have a podcast with the same name discussing Jewish comedy online now.
The show my 4th solo project is all about being Jewish and is based around my 87 year old (lost her filter) mother, who has given me a lot of material. The show is about being ‘Jewrotic’ (Jewish & Neurotic) and I blame my mum…who else? …Well I do blame others in the show and also I blame lockdown.
Why Camden? I have always wanted to do Camden as a friend told me about it a few years ago and I decided to try my luck as my twins now live in London and my son loves Camden, so I am hoping he will show me around, especially the night life!
How did you come up with the name of your show that your taking to the Camden fringe?
As above the show is called ‘Henry Churniavsky- I’m Jewrotic and I blame my Jewish mother …Who Else?’ My mum has been in my act for a long time as I discuss growing up and all that it entails. Also being Jewish is important to me and it has shaped me into the person I am. Over the last few years especially as my mother getting older and her filter disappearing she has given me material (unintentionally), and lockdown was a bonus for material!
Tell us a little bit about your style of show?
I am very laid back in style, I like to interact with the crowd (Please GD there is at least 1 in the audience each day!) I discuss growing up to getting old, well I am 62! In between I discuss marriage, my children, my dad and lockdown from a Jewish perspective. But you don’t need to be Jewish to understand. I will quote you 2 quotes which may explain better than me.
What will your set be about?
Early issues in my Jewish life making me Jewrotic from 8 days old to surgical procedures in old age, yes some vivid stories!. Issues like losing my virginity at school (not with a teacher I must add) , my wife and the menopause (that’s the wife’s not mine), my twins and also girlfriends ( yep a stud!! – not!!!) and what I find Jewrotic in life. Lockdown also has an appearance.
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at the fringe?
I hope to look at the guide when I am there to look out for other comedians and their shows and speak to them. One of the things I hope to do in the future is to promote gigs over the UK in aid of the mental health charities I support with local talent on the bill.
Have you done the fringe before? What have been some of your favourite shows to date and why?
This is my first Camden Fringe. I have done Edinburgh Fringe with a number of shows live and online. Brighton Fringe live and in 2021 online and Leicester Comedy Festival with a solo show and doing again with 2 friends with a different show. But I am so excited to be in Camden this year.
How has the last year in lockdown been for you?
Difficult. Work had me at home a week before official lockdown and I am still working from home (I cant get into hospitals much yet but that’s improving). Comedy has been extremely hard with no live gigs. Did a few online, which for comedy is difficult and you miss the interaction.
I did 3 short pre- recording shows for SpaceUK last August which got me over 900 views. In August 2020 I did my first online – live gig for SpaceUK which meant me talking to the screen for 45 mins – no interaction at all. But at peak had 1,500 views gor the evening.
I decided that my two favourite things in life are food and comedy so when lockdown eased in the summer I set up a new job. People were getting food delivered, Just Eat, Deliverroo , Uber eats… I have set up a company were I deliver food for a family (& me) and I do a comedy set for the family, it is called DeliverJew.
And now you are returning to the stage!!! How exciting! What are you looking forward to the most?
Seeing a live audience. Missed it so much, can’t wait to get out there again.
What advice would you give to others who want to perform at Camden Fringe next year?
Well I will have more of an idea after I have done it but I think these festivals are great to get your stuff out to and I hope the Camden community will come and support live comedy and at the same time help people with mental health issues
What is the best thing about performing at the Camden fringe?
Well so far being accepted by Etcetera Theatre to do my stuff. The support online from the theatre and Camden Fringe has been already great and I can’t think of a better place to kick off my new solo show in Camden this year.
What are your three favourite things about Camden?
I have not been to Camden for many years, but my son loves the place and if he says its good…it’s great. Also I know comics who have performed here and they loved it, so who am I to argue with that.
Favourite one liner you have done in a show and why?
Besides DeliverJew above. I talk about wasting so much time online in lockdown researching rubbish…like Gwyneth Patlrow’s website Goop. She does a line of vibrators, with great strap lines…’The Tennis Coach’ with the line ‘work on your self-service,’ I got one for my wife now she has tennis elbow.
Lockdown has had some benefits to be fair…like an excuse not to see certain family members…now I need a new excuse once lockdown is lifted.
Who would be your ultimate dream audience member?
My dad. Who was my inspiration. We used to watch comedy together and he got me into it at about 5/6 years old. He unfortunately never got to see me perform live stand up which I really regret. But I think he is watching over me as I feel his presence on stage.
The iconic image of the Camden Fringe is the Pigeon – if you could call this years pigeon a name to represent its style what would it be and why?
Freedom. It’s a new start for the whole country in July and what a great way to start our freedom!
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
Website (which has details on the charity) is www.cuecomedy.co.uk
Facebook henry churney
And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?
Want to make you smile… not 3 words… how about want 2makeU smile