Interview- Dane Baptiste

Comedian Dane Baptiste has been doing quite well for himself recently and has announced his rescheduled tour dates, which look very exciting! I thought it was high time to have a catch up – read on below to find out how we got on!

By Jane Howkins

Photo by Yoshitaka Kono

Your rescheduled tour dates have recently been announced. Are you excited?Hopefully they will be able to go ahead this time!

I am excited! And by that I mean cautiously optimistic, as if one thing the last year has taught me is that preparation for the unexpected is crucial! I hope answering these questions is a sign it will go ahead!

Would you ever consider doing socially distanced gigs, or will these just be normal gigs?

I would consider both; I think that comedy at its most raw requires two things; a comedian and a receptive audience to said comedian’s work. The landscape that facilitates that can be very fluid, so you just have to adapt!

The tour is titled The Chocolate Chip. What can you tell us about the tour and why did you pick that title for it?

The tour is a national and international tour, which given the subject matter is almost a necessity, as we are dealing with the complexity of black anger AT racial prejudice and racism, (commonly referred to as “having a chip on your shoulder”) and the title is a nod to the trends of body positivity and the embracement of perceived flaws particularly on social media. It’s my chocolate chip on my shoulder and I love it!

I read that there will be quite a large focus on racial inequality on this tour, which is something we’ve sadly seen more of recently during the recent European football matches. What are your thoughts on this?

I think that it’s an issue that people are describing racial tensions as a new epidemic within football, when really racism and racial prejudice have been endemic within a number of different industries, and the more we fail to address it the more it will infest all facets of society at large.

What can people expect from a Dane Baptiste gig, for those who have never seen you perform live before?

You can expect me to be urbane when expected to be “urban” and “sharp” rather than cutting. If Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock adopted a kid raised by Chuck-D, then you have an idea of what kind of picture I’m trying to paint onstage (there will be no painting at the show).

Who would you say are your favourite comedians at the moment? Who/what has influenced you the most with your work?

My answer is always the same; the people I work with regularly tend to excite me and push me to work harder in an ‘iron sharpens iron’ type of way. That being said; I recently watched Bo Burnham and I found it very funny and proof that discussing race relations without centering yourself as a straight white man can be done very very well after all.

You recently created a TV show called Bamous, which was received very well. Where did the idea for such a show come from?

Bamous is an idea that was about 4 years in the making. The best way to describe the origin of the concept is that Bamous was made to address all of the racial issues the country is currently dealing with. Authored and narrated by a black voice, so that “race” isn’t the only thing British audiences can think of when they see a black person in the media moving forward.

Bamous isn’t the first time you’ve written for TV. Do you have any more projects lined up?

A few things are in the pipeline, hopefully for this year; which should include more work across different channels, and also a move into digital. My podcast Dane Baptiste Questions Everything is available on Acast and Spotify, and I’ve got The A-Z of Blackness coming soon on YouTube!

Any last words for the fans?

Thank you for returning to support the arts, stay woke, keep hope and please wash your hands anyway, it shouldn’t have taken a pandemic for you to know that anyway! See y’all soon!