The Big Questions: Josh Widdicombe on being pied by Caitlyn Jenner, the cancel culture myth, and why he’s far cooler than people realise
Posted by  badge Boss on May 21

Welcome to Metro.co.uk‘s , where we ask, well, the big questions (and the smaller ones too) and this week, we’re getting stuck in with Josh Widdicombe.

The comedian has had a glistening career on a number of the nation’s most treasured panel shows, including The Last Leg with Adam Hills and Alex Brooker, and Mock The Week.

His latest series of Hypothetical with co-star and fellow comic James Acaster has just been released on Dave, and the 39-year-old is also keeping himself busy with his podcast Parenting Hell, which he co-hosts with .

Amid his busy schedule, Josh sat down with us to chat all things Hypothetical, how he was once pied by , and the ‘myth’ that is cancel culture.

What was it like returning for Hypothetical series 4? Who can we expect to see joining you?

It was lovely to return to doing the TV show in kind of the way it was intended to be, with people in the audience. Hypothetical really works off the energy of the audience and is about being in the moment and being in the room, so it was so nice to have the audience back.

Josh’s show Hypothetical has just launched series 4 on Dave (Picture: Dave)

We’ve got so many great guests this series, partly because people want to work again. It’s the easiest series to book, everyone wants to be out working so it’s been really good fun.

Rosie Jones and Masie Adam are among the guests, then you’ve got legends of comedy that we’ve always wanted to get on, like Frank Skinner or or Ross Noble.

We were allowed to reference Covid which was good, because last time we weren’t allowed to reference it. They’ve now made the decision that people are going to remember Covid and it’s a reference that people will know for the next 50 years.

Are there any comedians you wanted to get for the new series but couldn’t?

We’ve booked so many this series that we’ve ticked off a lot of people that we wanted to book. I often don’t know a lot of these new comics, you book them and it’s often the first time you’ve seen them.

Josh, who co-created the show, stars alongside James Acaster (Picture: Dave)

For example, when we had Josh Pugh, it was like the first-ever thing he’d done on TV and he was like “I just had make-up put on me for the first time!”

I love that, he was really excited. He was brilliant. You go, watching those people that you’ve booked and don’t really know become these big stars, like Maisie, it’s amazing and exciting.

Your career as a comedian started in 2008, what do you love about it?

It’s such an amazing career to have and what is so good about it is that you’re allowed to do so many different things, so you don’t get bored. You can do stand-up one day, you can do a panel show the next day, and you can do a podcast.

Obviously, that’s a really lucky thing as a comedian, people think you can do other things for which you are totally underqualified.

Josh stressed that life as a comedian is never boring (Picture: Getty)

I think the weirdest thing about comedy is that it is most difficult at the start because you are not good at stand-up and the gigs are like four people in a pub.

The more you get to do it, the better the audiences get because there are more of them and they all want to see you, and the better you get at stand-up, so it’s less and less of a challenge in a weird way.

You’ve met a number of celebrities over the course of your career, what has been your most embarrassing encounter so far?

We had Caitlyn Jenner on The Last Leg and she didn’t realise that I was on the show. I remember meeting her in the make-up room beforehand and she was very polite and very nice, but she obviously thought I was a runner on the show or a researcher.

Josh was once pied by Caitlyn Jenner on The Last Leg (Picture: Getty)

And then when she walked out onto the show there was me and Alex just sat there on the sofa and she was like, “who are these guys?”.

Obviously, she had never seen the show before and had no idea I was on it. Do you know what, fair enough. She shouldn’t have watched the Last Leg. What a weird thing it would have been if she had seen it.

As a comedian, do you find yourself having to censor yourself in the wake of ‘cancel culture?’

I think I’m lucky in the sense that I’m not an edgy comedian. The things I talk about and the things I’m interested in are so mundane that I’m not in a position where it [censorship] comes up much.

So, on Hypothetical, I’m never going to say anything that is going to be problematic because we’re not talking about real life, I suppose. I think I totally agree that cancel culture is this kind of myth. So many people who say they’ve been cancelled are saying it from a position of…you’re just saying this from on TV, how is this working?

Josh doesn’t consider himself to be an ‘edgy’ comedian (Picture: Rex)

I think if you say something that upsets people, some people seem to be pathologically unable to admit that maybe they should reconsider what they’ve said, and actually, maybe there’s strength in going ‘I should have said that’ and correcting yourself and apologising.

The problem with me, is I’m so pathologically desperate to be liked that I would apologise in any situation. I will apologise the moment I think someone’s offended, even if they hadn’t replied to a text message.

It happened weeks ago now, but what was your take on the Will Smith Oscars slap?

Josh was gutted that The Last Leg wasn’t on when the Oscars drama kicked off (Picture: AP)

That’s the reason I try and get out of going to those events. Not that I’ve ever been invited to the Oscars, but I’ve got no interest in being at those things.

I think the Will Smith event is the greatest example in my life of things that happen and you’re gutted that The Last Leg isn’t on. There’s no way we wouldn’t have had both of us hitting Adam [Hills] and now I don’t get to do it and when it comes back it will be too out of date.

What do you think the biggest misconception is about you?

I think I probably am far cooler than people realise. I live in east London and I don’t think people realise that. They think I’m a square, but actually, I’ve got a lot more edge than I’m given credit for when I’m doing panel shows.

I was voted the second-worst dressed man by GQ magazine, that is unfair, and I am living my life to turn that around. Admittedly, I’m in a football shirt and shorts and walking around my house in slippers, but that’s a bad day.

Josh Widdicombe's weekend

It’s Saturday morning day, where will we find you?

Occasionally I’ll be gigging which means I’ll be on a train to Crewe but usually I’ll just parenting. I’ll be taking my daughter swimming or telling her to watch less episodes of Hey Duggee, but in my heart thinking, well it does allow me to be on my phone in the kitchen.

Are you an early bird, or do you love a lie-in?

I’m up at 7am if I’m lucky, which is awful after The Last Leg because it airs on Fridays and I’m not usually back until 1am. I start the weekend feeling rough, not because I’ve got a hangover, but because I’ve been working on a Friday. The thought of sleeping in on a weekend is out of the question.

What’s on the brunch menu?

We just got a new coffee shop near us and the pastries are so expensive we only go once a week. I’m talking £5.50 for a pastry. That is Scan**lous isn’t it? I can’t tell you how good they are, they’ve got us over a barrel. They sold out of hot cross buns by 10am last weekend. They do a cheese and marmite swirl that is out of this world.

The movie or series you’re watching on Sunday night…

I’m so bad at watching things because we go to bed at about 9.30pm because we’ve been up so early. We’ve been working through Succession for the past 18 months at about one episode a week. I recently got Disney Plus, not because I’m a good dad, but because I want to watch Get Back.

Hypothetical series 4 airs Wednesdays at 10pm on Dave and UKTV Play.