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19 September 2014
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Nina Conti - monkey business

Nina Conti

Nina and her sidekick 'Monkey' become 2002's winners of the New Comedy Awards and since then have performed to packed audiences across the UK.

As well as performing on the stand up circuit, Nina has also been appearing on numerous TV programmes from 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway' to 'Comic Relief'.

She is also a regular on Radio 4's 'Claire in the Community' and has just appeared in her first feature film directed by Christopher White.


Q1. Tell us about entering the scheme.

I was working as an actress at the RSC but was in a lull, nothing was really going on. Entering the scheme seemed a really proactive thing to do and at the time it was good to get a gig - and that was a good gig. The rounds were great fun and my thought was that it was worth entering without winning. It didn't enter my mind that in a million years a ventriloquist would win!


Q2. How, if at all, has winning the scheme affected your career.

It was the most attention I have had - there were loads of flashing lights and it was instant red carpet. I think it affected it my career quite considerably actually. The BBC are quite helpful in that when they know you they keep you around and keep you in mind for things. I do remember that I did a really rubbish gig that night at Edinburgh though!


Q3.What have you been doing since?

I toured very heavily the year after winning the competition so it was very good for my live work and really helped me get other gigs. Since then I have been working on a a pilot with Armando Iannucci which is very exciting. I did a documentary for Radio 4 on ventriloquism and I worked on a comedy called Dealing with Claire, which is in its 4th series now. Oh and I've been in a Christopher Guest film with the monkey!


Q4. How did 'Monkey' come about?

The character of the monkey just grew from something out of his face and my granddad's personality. They fused and that's what I ended up with! The monkey belonged to a friend of mine and I saw that it had such a little beguiling face and it grew from there.


Q5. What are your plans for the future?

I am currently working on my first solo show which I am taking to Edinburgh, so I am trying out lots of new material at smaller gigs which ss a bit like starting again really. I don't want to tie myself into one area or the other, I think its important not to rely heavily on either TV or stand up, but to let them work off of each other.


Q6. Do you get the most satisfaction from TV or live stand up?

The most satisfaction I get is from doing a good gig, which really makes you feel in control. If you've worked a room really well it makes you feel great. TV is a bit more difficult, there are more factors that can screw it up along the way.

Q7. Any favourite moments?

I will remember the night I won the New Comedy Awards as I was young and unformed so that sticks in the mind. I've also done a fantastic gig at the Royal Albert Hall which was amazing. Appearing in the Christopher Guest film was also a real highlight, even if I was only in it for a couple of minutes.


Nina ContiLooking to the future
Nina is looking forward to touring with her new act 'Complete and Utter Conti' during 2007.

She is also continuing to work developing her TV ideas and will remain on our radio airwaves during the year.

Watch Nina performing with Monkey


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