Paul Taylor is a comedian with a rather fascinating story. Born in England, Paul went on to grow up in France, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. In 2015, Paul Taylor quit his corporate job with Apple, to pursue a career in comedy. Oh, and move to Paris. Oh, and did I also mention that the comedy he’d be performing would be in English and French? Quite remarkable really. Paul Taylor has now had the chance to perform in France, Spain, USA, China and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. He has also created, written and starred in his own TV show on Canal+ called What The Fuck France, a show that strives to poke fun at all the funny quirks of French life. Please enjoy my interview with Paul Taylor…
When someone asks you ‘what do you do for a living?’ – How do you respond?
I tell them that I’m a comedian.
I am currently reading Born Standing Up by Steve Martin.
What’s your earliest memory of reading?
It’s hard to say, but a really vivid memory is when I started reading Goosebumps by R.L. Stine as a kid and my mind created a crazy visual world whilst reading these books.
If you could encourage young people to read one book in particular, what would it be?
Any biography or autobiography of someone they admire/someone who is doing what they want to do.
When did you fall in love with making people laugh?
I can’t remember, but I think it started as a survival skill at school. I moved schools every 2/3 years and was always the new kid from out of town, so I got picked on a lot. Making people laugh (mostly about myself) allowed me to integrate. But I started to dream about being a comedian when I was around 22.
What is the worst job you’ve ever had?
The worst job I’ve had would be working in a small restaurant. The boss was a nightmare and was very negative.
What two pieces of advice would you give a young aspiring comedian?
1. Get on stage as much as possible, it’s the only way to get better.
2. Don’t listen to what people or the industry tell you, do your own thing and if it’s good enough, people will listen to you.
Who would you say your three biggest comedic influences are?
My three biggest comedic influences are Michael McIntyre, Bill Burr, Ricky Gervais.
Do you read as much as you’d like to?
No. Not at all.
What books do you feel are important reading for people on your career path?
I’d really recommend reading the autobiographies or biographies of successful comedians that you like.
My French grammar book, because the French language is a nightmare! Aside from that, I read Michael McIntyre’s autobiography: Life and Laughing. I read it before becoming a full-time comedian then when I went to the Edinburgh Fringe festival, I remembered that he talked about his experience there, so I read it again.
What book have you recommended the most to friends and family?
The book I recommend the most is Yes Man by Danny Wallace – yeah, really!
If you weren’t in comedy, what do you think you’d be doing?
I’d still be at Apple!
What’s your favourite genre of book?
I’ll give you one guess…
What do you think a world without books would be like?
It would be a stupider world (if that’s actually possible). And yes, I said stupider on purpose.
Is there an author whose writing you’re such a fan of, that you’ll read everything they release?
No, not really, I haven’t “found” my style of author yet.
Do you think digital books will ever completely replace real books?
I think of it like e-mail. We still need to post letters and packages, but 95% of communication is digital. I think the same will happen with books. I think this is great. Specifically for students. I remember having to carry around so many books and they went out of date the next year. This is a much more efficient way of doing things.
What book do you feel humanity needs most right now?
Books about humanity. Books about the environment. Books about our current way of living and how it’s not sustainable.
Yes Man by Danny Wallace. I read it and it totally changed my way of living and interacting with others.
Are there any books you haven’t mentioned that you feel would make your reading list?
I would also include Start With Why by Simon Sinek.
What books or subject matter do you plan on reading in the next year?
I will be reading books that explain how to start a business in France.
If you were to write an autobiography – what would it be called?
How I Got Here.