IF you’re needing something to kick start your new year and the thought of venturing to the gym brings you out in a cold sweat, Scottish actor and comedian Raymond Mearns is arriving at The Maltings to prove that laughter is definitely the best tonic for those post-Christmas blues.
His latest nationwide jaunt is simply called ‘Scottish Comedy Tour 2011’ so we should count ourselves lucky that he is making a trip across the Border just for us on Friday, February 11.
Raymond is something of a rarity for the comedians who play at the theatre, in that he has actually been to Berwick rather than just passing it on the way to Edinburgh Fringe, and he didn’t need any persuading to return to the banks of the Tweed.
“Berwick is one of the nicest places to go to, as well as picking my kids up from Haggerston Castle a few times I have actually done a gig in the town.
“I played at The Barrels a few years ago and had a top night. The gig went really well and as I was staying in the town I went out after for a few scoops, it was magic.
“Mind I should add at this point as a proviso that some of my stuff is not for the faint hearted; I just thought I’d better warn the more gentile folk of Berwick!”
Raymond’s last tour was named ‘Easy, Slezy ‘n’ a Wee Bit Cheesy’.
“Easy because I like to think of myself as an easy going kind of guy; sleazy because yes I can get a bit risque at times and cheesy because I was in a Cheese Strings advert as a airport security guy who tried to stop Mr Cheese String getting on a plane!”
Raymond has fond memories of his dairy-based foray into the world of advertising although he said that his broad Scottish accent had been a stumbling block at times.
“I was hired for the Cheese Strings ad by a guy called Jim Gilchrist who’d been trying to hire me for some time for various things.
“The advertising agency took some convincing though. With the Cheese Strings ad being shown right across the UK I think they were worried the English wouldn’t understand me.
“Eventually they were happy but unbelievably another time when I went up for the part of a Scottish football manager in an ad, which would have been perfect for me, I was turned down for being too Scottish!
“I’m not bitter though; if someone thinks you don’t fit the bill they’ll look at something to pick at whether if it’s your too fat, too, thin or too bald.
“And I can’t really complain about how things have gone for me so far.”
Raymond said that the only thing he regretted was that after coming into comedy quite late, he hadn’t pushed himself enough.
“When people ask me how I keep getting up on stage and making me laugh I see it as a bit of a silly question as comedy comes so natural to me.
“It’s a joy to do something that’ll I’d do for free but get paid for it.
“I’m 43 now and having watched guys like Frankie Boyle, Michael McIntyre and John Bishop, who I’ve performed with in the past, become huge stars I think it’s time I really gave it a proper go.
“I’ve had some pretty awful jobs in the past- the worst being a fire extinguisher in south east England when I was only 17- so to now be doing what I love doing is fantastic.
“I used to envy some comedians who’d never had to do ‘a proper job’ but then I though you know what as a result of doing some rubbish jobs my life is more of a tapestry and they’ve certainly given me a lot of material!”
To find out more about all things Raymond visit www.raymondmearns.com.