Simon Jenkins, a student and stand-up, spent his Year Dot trying to make a name for himself in the world of comedy…

Simon's Story

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Simon Jenkins



Stand-up Simon, has spent his year trying to make a name for himself on the stage. We've followed his high and lows and laughed at his funnies throughout... But, jokes aside, what exactly has he learnt from the experience?

Simon's to do list

  1. Have another successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August. I hope to have a decent number of people attend the show each night and aim to receive some good reviews.
  2. I aim to keep gigging after Edinburgh (as I am doing now), but perform more regularly.
  3. I also aim to start work on new material for next year.
  4. I aim to begin working towards a 2009 Edinburgh show early. I hope to perform in one of the top comedy venues, (Pleasance, Underbelly, Guilded Balloon...) This depends on finances.
  5. I hope to get the occasional 'big gig'. For example, I would relish the opportunity to perform in a theatre in front of a large audience.
  6. In general, I aim to become an established comedian. I want to have my own website, and hope to become a 'known name' in the comedy circuit. I also aim to be signed to a top comic agency.

Simon's big plan

Posted: 24/06/2008

My name is Simon Jenkins. I’m a 20 old student originally from Portsmouth. When I came to University in Kingston I was introduced to a local comedy club. This club effectively changed my life. After seeing top comedians perform there each week, I got a great interest in the writing and performing of comedy. I enrolled on a stand-up comedy course and performed my first gig in November 2007. The feeling I got from performing material in front of a room (of only 6 drunk people) was awesome. Now, only eight months later, I’m co-running ‘Outside the Box Comedy’ in Kingston. In addition I’m performing several gigs a month and constantly adapting and writing my material. My main influence on the comedy circuit is Michael Macintyre. For me there’s no one better than him in terms of his delivery.

My dream is to become a full time comedian. The thought of working a ‘9-5 job’ in an office makes me cringe. If someone had to sit near me in an office they would want to inflict serious physical harm to me within the first hour. I’m not satisfied unless I’m writing comedy and making people laugh at my jokes that I’ve written (usually with a pen… maybe a pencil – preferably HB). I’ve found my passion in life (That sounds cheesy).

Simon's journal

Final Update: 17/12/2009

They say things go round in circles...

I've always shunned the idea that the world operates in a cyclic fashion... As far as I was concerned, things happen in a particular order. This order is not specifically structured or predetermined, it can just be a sequence of unpredictable events.

YearDot has finished, University has finished, certain relationships have finished... but yet I'm sat writing this at 01:48am and I'm realising things have gone round in a full circle – although that's not to say things haven't progressed, rather, certain things that had previously departed my everyday existence are seemingly returning.

Some are good, some are... well... not good.

For those of you that watched my previous videos on the YD site, you may remember a video of my old flat that my girlfriend & I shared. It was a film of me sat on a deck chair due to a lack of sofa complaining about the lack of heat within the property.

A year later, I'm sat on a futon due to the lack of sofa wearing four jumpers and three pairs of trousers as a result of my boiler deciding it would stop working. As I have a cheeky glance at the thermostat on the wall it's flashing '6 degrees' at me... It doesn't usually flash, but it's hinting a sense of urgency as if to say - “fix me... or you will die”. It's a reassuringly similar image to that of last year; it encourages an enormous feeling of recollection and reminiscence but it's somewhat thwarted by the fact my body temperature is dropping at a truly frightening rate.

I also find myself back in Kingston. I moved away from here after I finished University and went back to Portsmouth. It's great to be back here... but it's quite odd. If my life were a story, chapter one would have been in Portsmouth – 'the early years', and chapter two would be in Kingston – 'the Uni years' and now chapter three seems to be in the same location. It's the same location, but some of the main characters have changed. Furthermore – there is no name for this chapter... 'the (just after Uni) years'... My girlfriend & I are no longer together, the people I went to University with have moved on / away, I'm no longer in education, I have to pay Council Tax... I'm now a grown-up... oh sh*t.

My days are filled with hopping from one coffee shop to another... I feel like a character from 'Friends' but less successful, poorer and a great deal colder. Whilst subconsciously slipping into a caffeine induced coma each day, I find myself mixing with the middle-class folk of Surrey... The same question will inevitably be thrown towards me in a patronising manor... “So, what do you do for a living”?


“Well, I've just finished Uni, and I'm a comic writer... well... no, I'm an actor... In fact no, I'm a stand-up comedian”.

I've settled with the latter. “I'm a stand-up comedian”. It's a great thing to say. During the filming of YearDot I never 'confessed' to people I was a comic. On a personal level, I felt I didn't deserve such a bold title. Back then, it was a hobby, an interest... something that I enjoyed doing and flirted with the prospects it could potentially bring. It's different now... the glamour has disappeared (8 hours on a train to north Wales for a 15 minute gig). The glamour has disappeared, yet it seems so much better than a year ago. I can't really explain how... It just all seems to be moving in the right direction. I'm going into each job/gig with a greater sense of expectation, but that, juxtaposed with a maturity for the moment appears to be working.

I'm gigging, on average around 15 times a month. It's getting there. Ideally, I want to double that. I've looked over some YearDot videos tonight and watched a video where I'm gigging about 3 or 4 times a month. It's a nice feeling to see things have picked up. Hopefully I can read this blog a year from now having reached the goal of gigging every night... Who knows?

I'll sum up in bullet points...

• I'm now a full time stand-up comic

• I'm living in Kingston

• Writing more material than ever

• I'm totally in love with Pixie Lott

• I'm cold

• I don't like sweetcorn / tomatoes / plumbers

• I use Twitter (@simonjenkins09)

• I'm very very happy

I honestly don't know how many people on the internet know me, or how many of you read these, or how many of you actually watched YearDot... Even if it's one old man sat in his shed watching VHS repeats of the show... thank you. Thank you so much to everyone that has messaged me / watched me etc... It generally does mean a great deal to me. It's a lovely feeling and I hope you continue to contact.

Make the most of every day and every chance you get. Never think you're 'bigger' than something. I've made the mistake of turning things down due to egotistical reasons. It's a huge mistake and I've learnt from it. Seize each chance that comes your way, whether it's big or small. If you do all these things... then hopefully you'll avoid being an unfit 21 year old boy, unable to grow facial hair, that's severely hungry, sat in a cold flat wondering if he will ever marry Pixie Lott...

Thanks – take it easy.

Si xx

Read all of Simon's blogs

Still want more?

Can't get enough of Simon? Want information on performing arts and getting involved in comedy? Looking for interesting teaching resources? Check out the websites below:

Simon's Comedy CV

Watch Simon's Outside the Box gig

Watch Simon's set at the Chortle Student Comedy Awards 2008

Ideas for Teaching Drama

The Performing Arts Guide

Your messages

Simon's had a mixture of comedy and constructive comments:

Nice to end on a high and that u seem to have learnt alot from your experience!!! Gd luck m8 x

G (1883 days ago) Report Comment

Simon! Wasn't sure if it was u, then saw u are from Portsmouth! U went to pgs with a Gordon boy, no? I used to live nxt door! Your doing really well, always were a funny man! Well done u! Keep it up xxx

Lucy (1891 days ago) Report Comment

Woop woop - you got guts chico - comedy has got to be one of the hardest jobs EVER - good luck and shizzle - your doing good 'thumbs up' :D xx Flinch

Flinch (1891 days ago) Report Comment

Hey, just saw you on television; i'd never heard of year dot before this morning. Just wanted to say your doing a great job and I really hope you achieve everything you want to in life. You deserve it after all the hard work you're doing.
Take care and keep the laughs rolling. xx

Emily (1893 days ago) Report Comment

Hey, my name is Lauren and I am 19 and live in Bognor Regis. And I saw you on tv the other week and found your topic very interesting. So hope to here from you soon. Lauren X

Lauren Crosland (1896 days ago) Report Comment

hia si, r there going to be any more year dot vids for us ???

gagz (1901 days ago) Report Comment

Picture of sheila lordhey si, i messaged and added ya on facebook, but thought id reply here too, thanks for the comment m'dear, was really nice =) hopefully talk to you on FB soon or see ya when ya pop down to kingston =) x x x

sheila lord (1903 days ago) Report Comment

hi i rele like ur stuff think it good :) gd luck

nicole (1904 days ago) Report Comment

I think your material is good, you need to make sure you use more of the everyday stuff (Edinburgh Tattoo joke, could have made more of it). A few examples, your phone just has a plain ringing noise, there's a joke there. People need to be able to identify with the everyday things, the things we all think but would never say. The Tube in London and sweaty arm pits. I hope this helps. Don't put yourself down in your own joke either, that's not funny. Rowena

Rowena (1905 days ago) Report Comment

Yeh so all im trying to say is that there is no easy way of becoming an established comedian, it takes hard work and dedication. I didnt have social life when i started and mine isnt great now but im earning enough money to pay for house and car and treat myself every now and again. The point im making is that in my humble opinion that comedy classes arnt a great idea. Mainly because you cant creat your own identity as a stand up if your conforming to a list of things. You imagine you have 30 comedians who have received comedy lessons and 30 that havent. The thirty comedians that have had the lessons will be slightly different but will be the same technicly and they will be very similar as to how they act on stage and how they think. The thirty that didnt get taught will be different from each other because theyve picked up most of it themselves and they done things differently in how they act walk and talk when they are on stage, they will also be lookin at what they feel is funny not what somebody else thinks is funny!!!
I think all you need is to work harder and get more stage time. Youve got the fringe cumin up so you really need to pull ya finga out!!! Im saying this for your benefit not mine. Your already proved you are ok as comedian as you got through to the comedy store, shows you have a degree of talent.You really need to work for it and no amount of comedy classes is goin to help you if you dont put enough into your writing and performing...
Just one more thing i can think of.. You mentioned a joke in your story of'' a man walked into a bar right,and he had quite a few pints. Went home and beat up his wife'' there was a reason why those people didnt laught in leeds is because it isnt funny thats the only major problem some things you have done just arnt funny. Even when i wrote them down it didnt look good on paper. But apart from that dont give up !!! James

James (1978 days ago) Report Comment

Hia, my m8 said about u wantin to become an established act on the circuit. Well power to you m8 for goin 4 it. Iv watched your videos and iv read the comments that people have left and iv read your blogs, wateva is on this site which tells me a lil bit abour you i have read. Before i go id like to tell you a lil about me(sorry its so long....). Since i was 13 all iv wanted to do was perform stand up, and thanks to people like lee evans, billy connely they showed me the way. During the 6th form or yrs 12 and 13 or wateva u call it these days i started to perform at local clubs. Over the two years i probably did about 30 gigs which isnt alot. On finishing school i performed a few more gigs then studied at Bristol University. So decided to focus on my course and gave up stand up. 3 years later towards the end of my course the most shocking things happend. A boy from my year in school died in a car crash. He went to Uni and was just one of these ppl who was goin 2 do gr8 things. This made me reflect on my own life. Start thinkin lifes to short and iv always wanted to stand up so once iv finished il give it a propa go!!! I passd my course and soon bagan writin and performin. My first 5 open mic spots went really well. Started to think i had cracked comedy. Well my next gig was a local gig and i died a great death on stage. and just walked off scared. That feelin is so undescribable. There are only 2 things you do in that situation, you either say well that was bloody horrible and im goin to try my hardest to make sure that it neva happens again or you just think that, this is awfull, neva gettin on stage again!!! Well that was enoug to make me work harder as a result i ended winnin a televised competition. Ever since that moment iv bin doin 300 plus gigs each year for the last 6 years. after 3 years i started gettin payed gigs. That was all down to me working my absolute nut off trying to accomplish a dream. ( there more to come in another comment ).

James (1978 days ago) Report Comment

I hope 2 be up there this year, to watch iv only bin doin stand up 4 a 2nrly 3 months... just wanna have look around and hav a gd crack like who u performing with this yr ?

Gagz (2012 days ago) Report Comment

Picture of Simon JenkinsHey Gagz. Yes mate. I am. I'm in a venue called the counting house everyday from 8.30...

Simon Jenkins (2014 days ago) Report Comment

R u at the fringe this yr ?

Gagz (2015 days ago) Report Comment

Picture of Simon JenkinsHi John. Thanks for your message the other day. I really appreciate it. I'd love to get in contact with you directly to talk more. I think you can offer me some worthy advice. How can i contact you? Hope you're well. Simon

Simon Jenkins (2030 days ago) Report Comment

I think you are funny Simon... Were you trying to be funny or really cut up about your mum... Pathos is always funny... The funniest things come when we are hurt... Laughing is how I deal with my pain anyway... and you were funny... If you can deal with any pain you could tap into those feelings... it might be cathartic (bless freud... Freud - he wrote a joke book you know!)

Lydia Stevenson (2031 days ago) Report Comment

Hia, Si... looks like ur doing a great job!! so where will u perform now u have finished OTB ? Hope everything is goin gd !!! BTW ur getting well better !!!

Gagz (2036 days ago) Report Comment

Hia simon, my names John and i work for a London based talent agency which works with comedians covering the UK,Australia and the US three of the hottest area's for any comedian.
First things first... From viewing all your videos you seem to want an agent as soon as. To get a half decent agent you need to show potential. You have it but need to work on your material and you need to be in demand which is where the ''agent'' comes in.
Youve only just started to do stand up so i would recommend that you dont worry about an agent for a while yet. Lee Evans one of Britains top comedians was on the circuit for 6 years before hitting the big time and getting an agent. He is not one of our performers which is a shame but the point im trying to make is that all the fame and things doesnt come over night it takes hard work and dedication.
So dont give up just yet, but at the same time dont put all your eggs in to one basket and make stand up your only option when you leave uni as a few years down the line you may find that stand up is not bringing in any income or your not getting noticed you want to have a back up plan.
All your other goals sound good and achievable!!!
Goal number four, you worried about finances... well you need to try, and i know its hard during this economical down turn, but get a job. You will find that it will help you to perform more as you can afford to go to all these places you wish to perform.
One extra goal i would recommend for you is that you try and its what every comedian tries to do is gradually get more laughs the more you perform!!!
Sounds silly but i have looked on your myspace page and you have recorded some of your gigs... Try to do this more often so that you can see what audiences like and dislike so that you can edit a performance or if you notice that something works, for god sake stick with it. Dont throw away any material just work on it because it is so competitive on the british circuit that it is costly to waste ideas,

John (2041 days ago) Report Comment

Hey Simon.
Your really not that funny my friend. But you never know as Butlins are looking for rubbish acts. Give it a look and good luck.

simple simon (2087 days ago) Report Comment

Hey Simon!

I caught you on the Year Dot TV show the other day. Judging by the videos, you're a likeable guy, so I hope it all goes well for you. Just remember that you'll have to keep working at it - I reckon you've already improved loads since the beginning of the Year Dot project, so keep at it! xx

Tammy (2093 days ago) Report Comment

Doing well Simon - I think you have the most important ingredient in all of this - energy. Without that there is little hope for anyone with some ambition.

Liam Young (2095 days ago) Report Comment

Hey Simon,

Just watched your YearDot episode from this week.

Can't believe you got ousted by Robin Williams! Haha! But the exposure you received from the Graham Norton Show was much greater! Lots of people will know of you now, I'm sure you've had more gigs!

I think you've come a long way in your YearDot journey and will continue to.

I think you're great and really funny and I look forward to you seeing you live someday.

Stephen (2100 days ago) Report Comment

I don't think any 'top comedy agents' would actually be interested in the highly indistinctive, rather dull and hopelessly unfunny Mr Jenkins. Although that said, all power to you for chasing the dream but there may come a time when you realise, it's time to call it a day. There's a slightly unpleasant whiff of arrogance that puts me off too

Sasha (2101 days ago) Report Comment

i can't believe you are still trying to be a comic, i saw you six months ago and you weren't funny then and you aren't funny now. what happen to your mate from the edinburgh festival he was the second worst comic behind you.

jp (2102 days ago) Report Comment

Picture of Simon JenkinsHey Noel. Cheers for the message mate. That is a really good point. Comedians that sell their act as being obsurdist can rely on that niche. Whereas i am stuck between doing the 'safe' observations and stories and wanting to create more obsurdist material. Really appreciate the feedback. Thanks you. Take it easy. Si

Simon Jenkins (2102 days ago) Report Comment

hey, Simon.

You seem like a nice guy so i'm loath to be too cutting in my analysis. I think your dedication to comedy is amirable and you should keep going for it as long as it makes you happy. To me you seem to worry too much about what would be a "funny thing to say", and less on the context, delivery and timing. Obvious but i think you'll agree, bloody esential aspects of comedy. You also seem to create obsurdity inside what seems to start as straight observational comedy. Your own versions of a funnier reality within something that everybody can identify with, therefore losing the audience as they fail to digest the witty remark when it doesn't link with the familiar scene u initialy created. There is not always potential where there is over-riding desire, unfortunately, none of us can know if we are flogging a dead horse.. least of all me. I wish you every sucsess, dude.

NOel (2102 days ago) Report Comment

Picture of Simon JenkinsHey everyone. cheers for the messages. Hope some of you enjoyed it - some of you didn't. That's the way it works. Take it easy. Si

Simon Jenkins (2102 days ago) Report Comment

hai si!

first of all, well done for getting as far as you have! I was in my college class watching your set and there are a few that have actually seen you perform in my class!

your going to go far, keep it up :)


Ashleigh McGregor (2102 days ago) Report Comment

hi sorry not being harsh but from what i saw i didnt think you were very funny at all , you need to work really hard on all aspects of ur act!

stephen martin (2102 days ago) Report Comment

ello, your so funnin and gd lookin, if only your where gay :) all the best :) xxx

jake (2102 days ago) Report Comment

beef stew... done
your career...done

jimmy j (2102 days ago) Report Comment

Hi Simon
Just wait it out - you WILL be a big name in comedy, your standup is GREAT :)

You remind me of Russell Howard and Noel Fielding, very spontaneous-sounding, slightly ranty comedy. It's amazing anyway. keep it upp :D

Charlie (2102 days ago) Report Comment

LoveYhoo :)

U r exceedingly Funny" Like Mr Kiplings cakes ;]

Keep It up :)


Prabjot_x (2113 days ago) Report Comment

hi Simon just seen your blog, i think your going to make it bigg mate.
i love stand up comics and i think you have whats it takes mate. iam from the north east of england and its hard up here forstand up's as the crowd wont let anything go. so i think you would do well..
paul 43yrs

paul (2115 days ago) Report Comment

i watched you on t.v today and i think you are great you shud keep up with wot you are doing (its great) x x

jemma (2117 days ago) Report Comment

Alrite, i saw the last minute of the channel 4 programme and headed straight 4 here 2 find out more about u.
WOW uv accomplished alot in the two or less years uv bin doin stand up.
I also love stand up. Bin watchin comedians 4 the last 5 years, and really wana start doing it. If search on facebook u will find load of clubs with open mic spots jus 2 get stage time.
Il proz start writing later this year... got few health problems and that has really motivated me, also seeing all of this about u has bin a real insperation, i think you already living the dream.
would like 2 meet u, sound pretty cool and u have done really well 4 yourself !!! all the best and keep on performing ...

gareth (2123 days ago) Report Comment

i thought u were really good.
i think you will be really big one day. well done for how far uve come already.

kasha (2123 days ago) Report Comment

your funny

chazi (2123 days ago) Report Comment

Hey brother, u suck as a comidian... thats the truth...

But your tsunami story is amazing...! Cant believe u survived it... It must of been really hard to not be able to help.

Luiz,... (2123 days ago) Report Comment

i thought you were really good and also similar to russell howard. i think you're going to be big. x

rachel (2123 days ago) Report Comment

Hey i loved your comedy and im only 14! i thought you were great keep it up and you wil be bigger than the top comedians!

Jordan (2123 days ago) Report Comment

Just watched you on T.V and thought I would leave a comment to say that I think you are an amazing comedian! Would love to see you live :) x

Regan (2123 days ago) Report Comment

Hi this is weird your on my tv right now but can i say your a fantastic comedian(my sort of comic)
like russell howard so keep it going and if your ever in liverpool i will look out for your gig. Have fun and Peace with a fleece (its cold)

Matt (2123 days ago) Report Comment

heyy darling
im watching you on telly now, i think your amazing,keep it up, hopefully see you sooon somewhere :)
btw your gorgeouss :P

stephhh (2123 days ago) Report Comment

Hey I literally just watched you on TV when you had your 2 minute comedy session and I thought u went pretty well. I don't know if it's just me, but I laughed anyway!! Keep going with it. Practise can only make things perfect (Y). Good luck and I hope you persue your dream x

pip (2123 days ago) Report Comment

Social networking is the basis of promoting success in life. believe it or not, people play a very big part in the decisions you make in the future; mainly through positive or negative influence. comedians should network with others in the same field, especially from different countries, people different people offer differents views and opinions, which could have a decding factor in what you think is best for your career as a comedian. Moral of the story, open yourself up to any person, you'll be suprised at what they have to offer!

Marilyn reveret (2128 days ago) Report Comment

Hey mate, I really liked your set. It would be wicked if you were doing the chortle awards in Southampton. When is your next gig?

Dave Chawner (2129 days ago) Report Comment

With user numbers for MySpace alone having reached over 100 million, social network sites represent a ready-made & extremely easy way for anyone to enage with much bigger audiences. There are many comedians on MySpace with their own profiles, so check them out as well as several agencies that keep MySpace profiles to help promote themselves within the community. The best way is to contact them directly and ask them to check you out. Keep up the good work Simon !!

Luke Mose (2134 days ago) Report Comment

Social networking sites are not only a great way to poke people without getting punched in the eyes, they're also a great gateway to people you wouldn't nessecarily be able to get into contact with. When I first started out as a wannabe journo I was struggling to find household names that didn't have me on some sort of register, and so I turned my efforts to Myspace. It means you can talk directly to the celebrity without trying to get past their agent like a level of super mario, and you can also check when your message has been read by the other person to determine whether they're busy or just plain ignorant. There are several comedy clubs and agencies that keep myspaces for promotional purposes and they're usually run by someone in the company, so your best bet is to contact them directly and ask them to check you out. Being moderately hilarious in your message always helps (even more so if you're a comedian) because a sense of humour can get you some places that talent can't.

Amanda Gardner (2136 days ago) Report Comment

Simon should get as many of his (good) gigs videoed as possible and put them on youtube, myspace, facebook. He should set up a 'fan page' on facebook with pictures, videos and a blog and publicise his work through that. He should also create events listing where he is performing to make sure people come along.

He could also do worse than put his videos on the website 'funny or die'. It has the right sort of audience for him and is useful for feedback.

Matthew Rose (2151 days ago) Report Comment

Simon is pretty lazy i think. it takes a while to get an agent and he thinks he can get one just like that! he needs to get out and do more gigs, it's the only way to improve and build a fan base. Eventually, he will be scouted. Get on MySpace Comedy too, you can reach a lot of people that way.

Ruth Warren (2152 days ago) Report Comment

Simon needs to start thinking carefully about how he uses his time properly. maybe he should get people to comment on his gags - leaving jokes and one liners here or on his myspace page. he could eventually have a whole set rated and reviewed by his public then release a podcast to everyone or a little snippet so people can start listening to him...

Gavin (2166 days ago) Report Comment