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From Wise Guys to Wizards: Jim Tavaré Takes Us On a Comical Journey from Stage to Screen

By Sophie Pettit 10 November 2014
  We caught comedy maestro Jim Tavaré ahead of his live show at The Punchline Comedy Club on 21st to 23rd November to find out what it’s like to work with wizards and wise guys, and be crowned Prince Charles' favourite funny man.
  The shadowy corner of a magical tavern is probably the last place you would expect to find one of Britain’s best-loved stand up comedians but then again, Jim Tavaré is full of surprises. In fact, playing the old, bald, toothless innkeeper of the Leaky Cauldron in the enchanting blockbuster hit Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is one of the highlights of the actor slash comedian's illustrious career, which has seen him master a seamless transition from stage to screen. “The most exciting time for me was being directed in Harry Potter by Alfonso Cuaron who went on to direct Gravity,” Tavaré told Localiiz from his home in Hollywood. “It turns out we were both fans of the movie The Young Frankenstein and it was him who encouraged me to play Tom the Innkeeper as a hunchback like Marty Feldman.” Tavaré’s talent for creating characters stems from his days spent studying acting at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London, before he brought a variety of memorable personas to our screens, from slapstick performances in TV productions such as The Jim Tavara Show and The Sketch Show, to more serious roles in movies starring along side the likes of David Duchovny and Colin Firth. “There is nothing better than working a live audience with comedy, but acting is satisfying in a completely different way,” Tavaré told us. “It’s way more technical than stand up comedy. I enjoy building a character and seeing how it turns out when the film is released.” That’s not to say stand up is without its quirky characters too. On the contrary, Tavaré is a big fan of comedy film actors like Peter Sellers and his "American heroes" Steven Wright and Mitch Helberg, and despite the recent shift to more observational humour, maintains that when it comes to getting his audience roaring with laughter, character is key.
  “When I started, the comedy scene was largely persona driven," he said. "There were plenty of eccentric characters back then. Nowadays it’s a lot more slick. Audiences like material they can relate to - families, school, etc., although I don’t do any of that.” Tavaré certainly seems to have the right idea. His unique comedy act, which sees him donning the tails and white tie outfit of the classical musician, whilst playing the double bass in short comedic bursts, has not only earned him international fame, but also the title of Prince Charles's favourite comedian. His brush with royalty has seen him appear three times in the Royal Variety Performance and led him to perform for Prince Charles at several private engagements, including a gala held at Highgrove in front of the Queen and heads of state. Reflecting on the experience, Tavaré shared, “Harry Potter takes some beating, but performing to 13 crowned heads of Europe and meeting them all after the gig was a close second.” So what can Hong Kongers expect to see from Tavaré’s performance at The Punchline Comedy Club later this month? A new star guest apparently. “I’ve just purchased a folding double bass to make my life easier on the road. The Punchline audience will be the first to witness it at work,” he teased. Don’t miss out on a magical night of music and laughter! Catch Tavaré live at The Punchline Comedy Club on 21st to 23rd November, alongside fellow funny men Adam Bloom and Andy Askins. Click here for ticket information.  
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Sophie Pettit


Sophie is always on the lookout for a great story and her next big adventure and loves nothing more than discovering the city’s hidden gems—and most delicious cocktails. When she’s not exploring new places, she’s off travelling and ticking countries off her bucket list.