One of the best known North Eastern stand-up comics, as well as a regular compare of comedy events across the region, Gavin Webster has developed something of a reputation for both making people laugh (particularly through telling surreal stories with loose political and social themes) and having a comprehensive understanding of the local region.
If you’ve heard Webster’s tale about the twin towers of Byker then you’ll already have an understanding of Webster’s comedic process and his ability to combine topical themes with a specific North Eastern style of storytelling and wit; if you haven’t heard the story then it’s worth hunting out and marvelling in Webster’s comedy process and ability to take grand ideas and localise them into regional structures.
Continuing to work both on the comedy circuit as well as the large and small screens, the next evolution of Webster’s comedy is into its own sitcom, a place which provides Webster with time and space to develop his ideas taken from observational, North Eastern, themes and extend them out into humorous, and often very surreal, tales.
Launching in March, and fully self-funded, ‘I’ve got a job for you Gav’ follows Webster as Gav, a middle aged, reasonably witty but occasionally boorish Newcastle taxi driver who explores relationships with friends and loved-ones as well as getting pushed towards Tyneside’s murky underworld.
Describing his vision for the show, as well as his desire to augment reality with comedic turns and surrealism, Webster sees Gav as part slap stick entertainment, part Tyneside documentary; ‘I wanted to do something that’s a bit cartoon and outrageous as well as having great one liners in and almost believable characters getting mixed up in the shop-soiled uncelebrated parts of Tyneside and bringing forth the unsavoury practices that have gone on beneath the jolly and straight laced exterior of the city.’
Building on this understanding of the region, as well as reaching into the heart of the local community, was also essential for Webster when writing and shooting the series; it also provided new and interesting content; ‘We filmed locally and used a local crew and got local extras to do the parts. In one episode we used a barbers because we thought it had a great name and we decided to incorporate that into the script. The barber was so into the idea that we gave him a part. Craig Miller of Wallsend proudly used his shop and he’s in two short scenes. And he was excellent in it as well.’
Streaming on Vimeo, ‘I’ve got’ builds through half hour episodes into a moving think-piece about the region and the comedy/tragedy moments of the aging process, with Webster at the heart; a man who senses his own mortality but doesn’t always make the right life decisions.
Supported by a raft of who’s who North Eastern comics (Lee Kyle, Simon Donald, Katherine Tanney, Dave Greener) I’ve got is an interesting piece for anyone looking for surreal humour with, at times, heart-breaking moments.