Comedian Jack Whitehall is At Large at Sheffield Arena on Wednesday and he reckons that a spacious venue suits his style very well.
He said: “I have a show with quite a lot of big comedy set pieces with a big entrance and finale.
“I’m really trying to fill the arena and make it feel like it’s a big night out. It’s a show with quite a lot of ambition and skill. The audiences seem to be enjoying it.”
He added: “My style seems to lend itself quite well to the arena, I’m quite theatrical. I like doing big silly stunts. People have come to expect quite stupid things from me.”
He’s turned his hand to acting and writing, as well as appearing on panel shows such as A League of Their Own and Have I Got News For You, but is pleased to be returning to live comedy.
“It’s so exciting having a crowd at your mercy and going wherever you want or doing whatever you like without having a lawyer approving all the jokes. There’s something very exciting about that.”
There’s a lot of work behind all the buffoonery, though. Jack said: “The minute I finish the last tour, I started doing gags and building material. We put this tour on sale and then I had to start working to get it ready.”
He also does preview shows, testing out the material in smaller venues, before it makes the final cut.
As well as observational comedy, Jack likes to get into some more surreal material. The last tour included his growing obsession with The Lion King and there’s more of that to come.
Jack said: “If you love Disney, you won’t be disappointed in this show.”
He admitted: “I had a meeting with the Disney people in the US and spent the whole time pitching to do one of the voices on the new Lion King film. That’s one I was pitching hard for.”
Jack said he likes to spend some time in each city, getting to know something about the place so that he can use local references in his show.
If you don’t bump into him, you can still tweet Jack @jackwhitehall to make suggestions as to what he should mention about Sheffield during the show.
Jack spends some of his time while waiting around on tour writing. He’s currently working on a comedy thriller for Sky that will also star Rose Perez from US crime drama Law &Order.
He said: “We’ll film after this tour finishes. It’s quite an ambitious show, different to the stuff I’ve done before.”
He’s shortly to be seen on our screens in a BBC adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s comic novel, Decline and Fall, alongside David Suchet, Eva Longoria and Douglas Hodge.
Jack stars as Paul Pennyfeather, a hapless Oxford University in the 1920s who gets expelled after falling victim to the drunken antics of the Bollinger Club.
He has to take work in a minor public school and also becomes the tutor to the son of a rich South American woman.
He said: “I’m excited for people to see that. At times it is a bit more dramatic than what I’m usually seen in. It was great fun.”
Tickets to Jack Whitehall at Large are available from www.sheffieldarena.co.uk, in person from the Arena box office or from 0114 256 56 56.