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Meet Greenford's up and coming stand up comedian
Greenford may not yet be renowned as a hotbed of stand-up comedy, but it is the humble home of award-winning, up-and-coming funny man NATHAN CATON.
He spoke to POPPY BRADBURY about his success so far and a cringing first gig...
Nathan Caton is not yet a household name - but he's getting there. The handsome, often-smiling 27-year-old has entertained crowds for four years at the Edinburgh Fringe and is set to fill comedy tents this summer at V and Reading festivals.
So where does he see himself in five years? "Hopefully not living in my mum's house and still doing comedy," he says.
The older sibling of two sisters, aged four and 10, and a 13-year-old brother, Nathan grew up in Greenford at the family home near Greenford Road.
He attended Dormers Wells High School before taking A-level drama at Richmond College, when his creative juices began to flow.
But it was not until, as a cash-strapped 19-year-old, he first took to the stage to try comedy after his first year at Anglia Ruskin University, in Cambridge.
"I was doing architecture and it wasn't as amazing as I thought it would be," he said, "so I thought I'd do something fun for the summer.
"At college I was always given the comedy characters and that's when I started to think I could do something like this."
But Nathan, who now has critics rolling about with stories about his West Indian grandmother and imitations of his 'wannabe gangster' pubescent brother, admits his debut was a bit of a flop.
"It was in a comedy club in Old Street. I was nervous, I was scared my material wasn't good enough," he remembers.
"I completely bombed.
"There were 10 people in the audience, and seven of them were comedians. It was a really awful gig but I enjoyed being on stage."
The bumbling teen awkwardly talking about chatting up girls has grown into an award-winning stand-up known for his charismatic performance, impromptu banter, and social and political anecdotes.
After just one year of gigging, Nathan became Chortle Student Comic of the Year 2005, and was nominated for best newcomer at the Black Entertainment Comedy Awards.
His first solo gig, Can't Tell Me Nothin', won him rave reviews from critics at The Guardian in 2009 and he has gone on to play top venues around the country, including the Soho Theatre.
Nathan said: "Now I'm 27 I've got opinions on things in the news and I've experienced family life. I'm not a kid, I'm more like a man, so to speak - I can appeal to a wider audience.
"I tell a lot of stories and anecdotes about being a young guy in Britain, my family and things I've experienced.
"I talk about my West Indian culture but I don't overload my set with it.
"Young people's views are sometimes ignored, but sometimes are valid. They think a young person doesn't know about politics or the economy. But I've been around too, I've got opinions as well."
Nathan counts 'old-school Eddie Murphy, before Dr Dolittle', Chris Rock and Lee Evans, 'for his energy', among his key influences.
And on the comedy circuit, he has received the rare seal of approval from big names including Alan Carr and Michael McIntyre.
"When they say your material's good, you know it's good," he said.
On Tuesday, Nathan returned to west London to try out material for his new solo tour at underground club Ginglik, in Shepherd's Bush.
His first home gig was at the former GlaxoSmithKline leisure club in Oldfield Lane North six years ago.
He added: "I'd like to think I could be a nationwide, household name. I think my comedy can relate to people of different ages and cultures."
For a taster of Nathan's material, visit www.nathancaton.com.
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