An Interview with Nick Helm
Jasmine Andersson – Leeds Student – 17th February 2014
He’s charmed us on 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown, but now comedian Nick Helm has made his way onto BBC Three’s new sitcom Uncle.
LSi talks bellies, Eurovision and, of course, Uncle.
We all have those moments in life where we wish we had been a little bit more audacious. Perhaps we should have told someone off for skipping the queue, told that person we fancy that it was actually our truthful sentiments in that 3am drunken text. Nick Helm is not a man defined by such limitations. He doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. Outlandish and ebullient with comedic abandon, Helm offers a welcomed measure of self-assuredness and idiocy that the British so often fail to grasp.
‘Comedy isn’t about getting people to like you. If you are too scared to make a joke out of a fear of offending people, you’re in the wrong job,’ says Nick. A man of many talents, St. Alban’s born Nick began his career on the Fringe comedy circuit. Using poetry, song and standup to convey the idiocy of humankind, the confident artist is happy to explore all modes of humour. It should come as no surprise that Helm has now turned his attention towards the small screen.
Nick plays the lovable lead in BBC Three’s latest sitcom, Uncle. The series follows the life of manchild Andy, who is forced to turn his life around from grungy self-indulgence in order to look after his straight-laced schoolboy nephew, Errol, as Andy’s sister recovers from a fraught history of substance addiction.
Beyond the hilarity of the disjointed world of punch ups at children’s birthday parties and bowl cuts, a serious narrative ensues, one in which the non-nuclear family reigns affectionately supreme. ‘Kids should be allowed to be kids, but because of the situation his mum has been in, Errol hasn’t really been allowed to do that,’ says Nick. ‘Through their relationship, not only is Andy trying to learn how to be an adult, but Errol’s trying to learn how to be a child. It’s an interesting and heartwarming learning curve for them both.’
As well as taking a starring role in the critically acclaimed series, Nick has also released a collection of his top hits in his debut album, Hot n Heavy. True to Nick’s style, the album is a ferociously alluring collage of a modern man. ‘I was really proud of Hot n Heavy. Up until Uncle it was the proudest thing that I’ve done. Now I’m really proud of both of them. I think they’re both great,’ says Nick. ‘I’ve got enough material for another album, but I think I’m also going to set my sights further afield and start thinking about the Eurovision song contest.’ Nick says.
Although he may be keen to take on Britain’s international reputation, playing at weddings is another matter for the star. ‘I get asked quite a lot to do weddings, but I wouldn’t do a wedding again,’ Nick shudders. ‘I had to be a best man at my mate’s wedding, and that was horrific. As funny as the idea is in your head, when you actually put it into context and see crying children and upset grandparents who have lived long enough to see their grandchildren getting married and you’ve ruined it, then it’s not worth it.’
However, the likelihood of Nick becoming a wedding singer is negligible. Having written a pilot TV episode for Channel 4, the comedian is also getting behind the scenes for BBC Three and penning them a series. He takes it all in his stride, with a refreshing mixture of affability and honesty that will allow him thrive in the industry.
‘There’s so many hoops you have to jump through to get used to doing what you want to do,’ he says. ‘I’m just not afraid to get my belly out and go for it.’