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His next initiative is The Cheesy Grin, a series of 10 comedy evenings at the C&G starting, appropriately, on St Patrick’s Day. He wants to give a platform to new comedians in the Southwest. Who knows, it could produce the next Jo Brand.
He still performs himself around the country, but has other plans too. He’s written several short stories for children, which he intends to make into a collection called Frome Fables; he is gradually finishing his novel, The Other Side of History, encouraged by agent Kate Horden; he has a project to write alternative format plays for the BBC; and he offers whole-day comedy boot camps to train wannabe comedians with friend, actor Marc Cox. The next session hopefully is at Frome Community College in May. He is also standing for Frome Town Council in May.
In addition to all these activities, Tim is a family man. He gets great support from his partner, but they have to co-ordinate diaries for almost a year in advance, especially as they share the care of their daughter Mabel and are getting married in September. How does he manage such varied enterprises?
Perhaps it’s his judgement that told him never to say no – and propelled him into the role of Frome’s Mr Comedy.
You can find Tim on Youtube, hear him on The Flying Cows Comedy Radio Show on Frome FM, or follow him on Twitter @tigheoc.
The success of Tim's comedy promotions attracted the attention of the Edinburgh Fringe. They invited him to interview as a judge for the 2014 Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards. He was accepted, and used the experience to spot ideas for his own promotions. He must have done well, because Leicester Comedy Festival has asked him to join their panel of judges in February.
Writer's Slot - February 2015
Tim O’Connor is a guy who can’t say no. His life overflows with comedy, writing, performance and promotion – and that’s before the day job!
Tim has been writing fiction since childhood, but his funny bone was firmly tickled in the 80s in North London where, at local comedy venues, he saw promising new acts like Jo Brand, Bill Bailey and Jack Dee. For 15 years he performed in bands and wrote lyrics before going on stage himself as a stand-up. He was offered a 5min slot on St Patrick’s Day, 2011, and wrote a sketch based around a visit he’d made that same day to the House of Commons.
‘It felt weird,’ he said, but friends came along and were impressed. He loves the laughs, but hopes to make people think, too. ‘So far,’ he says, ‘I’ve only performed 93 gigs.’ He feels he’s still learning.
He took a job in Bristol, joined a writing class and soon had a short story published. After seeing a show at the Cheese and Grain he took a liking to Frome and moved here when Wiltshire Council offered him a job.
That was ten years ago; since then he’s involved himself in the Frome Festival annually, set up comedy venues within the town and, with An Alternative Guide to Frome, he’s developed the character of Dr Archibald Combellack. He is the resident compère of the Submarine Comedy Club at the Archangel, one of several events he promotes.
Last summer Tim created the first Bard of Frome competition for scriptwriters. This year he's even more ambitious; he's planning a further seven events for Frome Festival.
‘I’ve tried other genres,’ he says. ‘I wanted to write some serious dark Somerset Noir, but it always ends up funny.’
Tim with his daughter, Mabel
Frome's Mr Comedy
‘Write every day – even if it’s just for two minutes. Something will come to mind and you’ll find a use for it. And trust your own judgement; you can’t listen to everyone else.’