Our Features Editor Paul Clarke catches up with Mancunian comic Justin Moorhouse as he prepares to tour his new show ‘Northern Joker’.

Justin takes on the world….and his kids.

Justin Moorhouse made his name playing Young Kenny as part of a gaggle of Northern stand ups causing mayhem on the legendary Phoenix Nights and since then he’s built a reputation as of one the nation’s best comics.


He’s just come off a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe with his new show ‘Northern Joker’, where he muses on a world that seems to be going mad, and a feeling that as his children grow up he feels increasingly redundant as a dad.

“On a very deep level it’s about the uncertainty we find ourselves in as people and families,” laughs Justin. “But actually, it is an hour long, and full of loads of jokes.

“My daughter is thirteen, and my son is 21, and it slowly dawned on me that they don’t need me the same way they needed me before, so that’s the feel of it. It’s really comparing and contrasting my life with theirs, but it’s fun and not miserable. Lots of it is I can’t believe that they talk like this, and how do they get away with this crap when we couldn’t get away it.”

I have a thirteen-year-old daughter too so I know exactly what Justin is going through as his daughter has cancelled a subscription to the Beano on her journey towards adulthood.

“You’ll be going through the same thing like someone has brought an incendiary device of hormones and left it in your house. That is going to blow up at any moment, you don’t know how many times it will explode, but it will do on a daily basis, frequently, infrequently, without warning.

“Sometimes it comes with a warning, and you see the signs, but you don’t do anything about it, so that’s my life at the moment. Going from my daughter cartwheeling into the room like a little kid still full of laughter to resting bitchface, I think they call it, and I’m the worst person ever.

“The worst thing you can do as a parent is to try and understand. I’ve found life is much simpler if you just mock. I’ve got to weight up that I’m a comedian, but I’ve also still got to do my duties as a dad.”

It’s not just his daughter who gets the onscreen treatment as his son is also on the cusp of big changes as he finishes college and maybe fly the Moorhouse nest.

“You’d hope so and he’s at university. I’ve never met a 21 old year who doesn’t know everything so I’m surprised and befuddled about what could he possibly be learning. Every conversion I have he seems to know everything.

“I’m actually saying is there is not a lot I can do about this, so I might have a laugh out of it ,and turn it into stand up fun.”

As well as his parenting woes Justin also backs to his own youth when the iron Curtin still divided Europe and failed actor was in the White House. Justin takes a wry look at a unstable world his children are facing with an Orange manchild as President and an old school dictator in the Kremlin.

“There’s moments when I compare it to my own life and their lives now so there is a sort of serious element to that as the world is an uncertain place and we are teetering, ” says Justin.

“Russia are back, and I say in the show I like a comeback and that they remind me of Take That,” “They’re richer, stronger and there are not as many of them as they were back in the day. We’ve got Putin, Trump and Brexit, so I say I want a Dexit, which is like Brexit where I get can article 50 involved so I can leave the house before I’m 50.”

My parents would have run a mile before they discussed their feelings, but today’s young people are often emotionally incontinent desperate to offload their emotions. Offloading onto their parents who often think they don’t know how lucky they are compared to the emotional wastelands of yesteryear, but Justin is more sanguine about that.

“I think it is the same as it ever was. The problem is they tell you too much so we know what they are doing, but when we are kids we never told our parents. I talk about this in the show when I said to my daughter ‘are you alright’ and as a parent you don’t really care as all you want to know that they are breathing.

“She answered me and said ‘I’m not really’. I thought, wow, and she started to talk to me about her feelings. We didn’t have feelings when we were kids, and the first emotion I had I was 26, which was regret when I got divorced, and we moved on with our lives.”

Unlike some stars who won’t talk about the thing that made them famous Justin is happy to talk about Phoenix Nights that also launched the careers of Dave Spikey, Daniel Kitson, Paddy McGuinness and a little known Bolton comedian called Peter Kay.

“It’s a long time ago, and I know myself when l’ve interviewed people who have been on Coronation Street or Emmerdale, and they don’t want to talk about it. I go, well, that’s what most people want to know about.

“I was really pleased to be involved in something that even when we were making it you got the feeling that people were going to love it. It’s lovely really, and I’m very proud of being a small part of such a good thing. Those clubs are part of northern working class culture, and even if you weren’t a regular everyone has had a 18th, 21st, wedding reception or wake so they are kind of community centres.”

Justin is a diehard Manchester United fan and in a neat twist Young Kenny, who is a compulsive liar, is a Manchester City supporter, so wearing the sky blue colours of his team’s bitter rivals must tested his acting skills?

“Not really because they asked me, and said your character will wear a football shirt all the way through. They asked who I supported, and I said United, so they said we’ll give you that shirt. I said ‘no way, this character is an absolute idiot so he’s going to be a City fan’.”


Tour dates:

Venue:                 Unity Theatre LIVERPOOL

Dates:                  Tuesday 18th September

Time:                    7.30pm

Box Office:           0151 709 4988

Online:                 www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk


Venue:                  The Lowry SALFORD    

Dates                    Friday & Saturday 18th & 19th January

Box Office:            0843 208 6000

Online:                  www.thelowry.com


Venue:                  The Basement YORK

Dates                    Friday 25th January

Time:                     8.30pm

Box Office:            0871 902 5726

Online:                  www.thebasementyork.co.uk                      


Venue:                  The Witham BARNARD CASTLE

Dates                    Saturday 26th January

Time:                     7.30pm

Box Office:            01833 631 107

Online:                  www.thewitham.org.uk


Venue:                  Norden Farm, MAIDENHEAD

Dates:                   Friday 1st February

Time:                     8.00pm

Box Office:            01628 788 997

Online:                  www.norden.farm


Venue:                  The Core at Corby Cube CORBY

Dates:                   Saturday 2nd February

Time:                     7.30pm

Box Office:            01536 470 470

Online:                  www.thecorecorby.com


Venue:                  The Victoria Club HOLMES CHAPEL

Dates                    Thursday 7th February

Time:                     7.30pm

Box Office:            01477 535 858

Online:                  www.thevicclub.co.uk    


Venue:                  Theatre Severn, SHREWSBURY

Dates                    Friday 8th February

Time:                     7.30pm

Box Office:            01743 281 281

Online:                  www.theatresevern.co.uk


Venue:                  Square Chapel HALIFAX

Dates                    Saturday 9th February

Time:                     7.30pm

Box Office:            01422 349 422

Online:                  www.squarechapel.co.uk


Venue:                  The Borough LANCASTER

Dates:                   Sunday 10th February

Time:                     6.00pm & 8.30pm

Box Office:            01524 64170

Online:                  www.theboroughlancaster.co.uk


Venue:                  The Met BURY

Dates                    Thursday 14th February

Time:                     8.00pm

Box Office:            0161 761 2216

Online:                  www.themet.org.uk        


Venue:                  Coliseum Theatre OLDHAM

Dates                    Friday 15th February

Time:                     8.00pm

Box Office:            0161 624 2829

Online:                  www.coliseum.org.uk


Venue:                  The Stand Comedy Club NEWCASTLE

Dates:                   Sunday 17th February

Time:                     7.30pm

Box Office:            0191 300 9700

Online:                  www.thestand.co.uk


Venue:                  The Wardrobe LEEDS

Dates                    Thursday 28th February

Time:                     7.30pm

Box Office:            0113 383 8800

Online:                  www.thewardrobe.co.uk


Venue:                  Warwick Arts Centre COVENTRY

Dates:                   Friday 1st March

Time:                     7.45pm

Box Office:            02476 524 524

Online:                  www.warwickartscentre.co.uk


Venue:                  Library Theatre DARWEN

Dates:                   Friday 8th March

Time:                     7.30pm

Box Office:            0844 847 1664

Online:                  www.darwenlibrarytheatre.com


Venue:                  Lemon Tree ABERDEEN

Dates:                   Friday 15th March

Time:                     7.30pm

Box Office:            01224 641 122

Online:                  www.aberdeenperformingarts.com


Venue:                  The Stand GLASGOW

Dates:                   Saturday 16th March

Time:                     7.30pm

Box Office:            0141 212 3389

Online:                  www.thestand.co.uk


Venue:                  The Stand EDINBURGH

Dates:                   Sunday 17th March

Time:                     8.00pm

Box Office:            0141 212 3389

Online:                  www.thestand.co.uk


Venue:                 Mechanics BURNLEY

Dates:                  Friday 22nd March

Time:                    8.00pm

Box Office:           01282 66 44 00

Online:                 www.burnleymechanics.co.uk


Venue:                  The Civic BARNSLEY

Dates:                   Saturday 23rd March

Time:                     8.00pm

Box Office:            01226 327 000

Online:                  www.barnsleycivic.co.uk


Venue                  Fruitspace HULL

Dates:                  Thursday 4th April

Time:                    8.00pm

Box Office:           01482 22 11 13

Online:                 www.fruitspace.co.uk


Venue:                  Carnegie Theatre & Arts Centre CUMBRIA

Date:                     Friday 12th April 2019

Time:                     7.30pm

Box office:             01900 602122

Online:                  www.carnegietheatre.co.uk


Venue:                  Pyramid WARRINGTON

Dates                    Saturday 20th April

Time:                     7.30pm

Box Office:            01925 442 345

Online:                  www.pyramidparrhall.com


Venue:                  Arts Depot NORTH FINCHLEY

Dates                    Saturday 27th April

Time:                     7.30pm

Box Office:            020 8369 5454

Online:                  www.artsdepot.co.uk


Venue:                   The Artrix BROMSGROVE

Dates:                    Thursday 2nd May

Time:                      8.00pm

Box Office:             01527 577 330

Online:                   www.artrix.co.uk


Venue:                  The Edge Arts Centre MUCH WENLOCK

Dates:                   Friday 3rd May

Time:                     7.30pm

Box Office:            01952 728 911

Online:                  www.edgeartscentre.com


Venue:                  The Studio Theatre HARROGATE

Dates:                   Saturday 4th May

Time:                     8.30pm

Box Office:            01423 502 116

Online:                  www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk


Venue:                  City Hall SHEFFIELD

Dates:                   Sunday 5th May

Time:                     8.00pm

Box Office:            0114 2789 789

Online:                  www.sheffieldcityhall.sivtickets.com


Venue:                 The Beggars Theatre MILLOM

Dates:                  Friday 17th May

Time:                    8.00pm

Box Office:           01929 77 56 77

Online:                 www.beggarstheatre.co.uk


Venue:                  Brewery Arts KENDAL

Dates:                   Saturday 19th May

Time:                     7.30pm

Box Office:            01539 725 133

Online:                  www.breweryarts.co.uk


Venue:                  Masonic Hall DUKINFIELD

Dates                    Saturday 1st June

Time:                     7.30pm

Box Office:            0101 330 2561

Online:                  www.dukinfieldmasonic.co.uk


Venue:                  Chorley Little Theatre CHORLEY

Dates:                   Saturday & Sunday 8th & 9th June

Time:                     7.30pm

Box Office:            01257 264 362

Online:                  www.chorleylittletheatre.com


Venue:                  The Ropewalk   BARTON UPON HUMBER

Dates:                   Friday 5th July

Time:                     8.00pm

Box Office:            01652 660 380

Online:                  www.roperyhall.co.uk