Crawley-bound stand-up Tom Houghton promises an Absolute Shambles

Stand-up Tom Houghton enjoyed great success with his first proper substantial tour last year with Absolute Shambles; this year he is on the road with It’s Not Ideal.
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“I think the show next year might have to be called Fair To Middling! It is certainly going in the right direction,” Tom says.

Tom, who lived in Brighton for ten years, will be playing Brighton Forge on March 7; The Hawth, Crawley on March 8; and The Attic, Southampton on March 9. He is also playing The Spring, Havant on March 23, Guildford’s G Live on March 26 and The Arc, Winchester on March 28.

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“The last tour was quite overwhelmingly great. Just as far as ticket sales went, we put on a lot of extra dates and I was just really pleased with the show. It was a show that I had been writing throughout lockdown so it was something that was really quite meaningful to me. This one now is something I've written within a year but it's been a year where a lot has been happening.

Tom Houghton (contributed pic)Tom Houghton (contributed pic)
Tom Houghton (contributed pic)

“The first tour was looking at my background and it was also about my breakthrough into reality TV with the Netflix show and also about becoming an uncle and also about mental health from seeing a therapist for the first time. I found that really good. I'm a big advocate for mental health. I would always recommend seeing a mental health professional but I would say that therapy is a bit like going to the gym. You need at least three months before you get to see proper changes. I think it just allows you to voice your inner thoughts in front of someone that is very objective and also professional, someone who gets you to think about your patterns of thinking and to explore how you've ended up being the sort of person you are. It gives you a lot of self-awareness and self-evaluation about your background. I suppose I kind of scratched the surface in the darker nights of my soul but this certainly went deeper. I would say that self-awareness is absolutely key for comedy. You are the message and you need to know what you are actually putting across. But I think actually when you write comedy, the first couple of shows are quite self-analytical about how you have become who you are but as you get older I think you need to make your comments more about going out into the world. You just can't go on and on about ‘This is me!’ You need to put your viewpoint in a bigger context

“This show now is about the relationship between tradition and progress. It's a comment on the state of our country with the King’s coronation happening last year and my father being part of the coronation (General the Lord Houghton). It's a look at the fact that the monarchy is quite archaic but it is also fundamental to our nation's identity. And in the show I am also looking at my own year last year. I had a long period of sobriety. I realised that alcohol was becoming problematic. I've talked about it a lot on mental health podcasts. I didn't hit rock bottom, I didn't get into massive debt and I didn't lose my family but I think the point is that you don't have to get to rock bottom to realise when it is becoming a problem and so I took three months out just to properly reframe my relationship with alcohol. I also went through a break-up last year. It's one of those things that everyone can relate to.”