Dane Baptiste packed in his dead-end job to change the world. Britain’s answer to Chris Rock talks about his new sitcom Sunny D – and laughing at his own jokes
Speak to some black standups and they’ll say their skin colour is incidental. That, to put it mildly, is not Dane Baptiste’s approach. Baptiste, the first black British nominee for the Edinburgh Comedy awards, aims to be Britain’s own Chris Rock or Dave Chappelle. “It’d be very strange,” he says, “for me not to reference the fact that race exists. It’s hard to ignore.”
Having seen his first two solo shows, I wouldn’t have guessed Baptiste harboured world-beating ambitions. They were both excellent: the first garnered that fringe nod for best newcomer, while the second, Reasonable Doubts, showcased a questioning sociopolitical intelligence. But their mild manner and low-key nature barely hinted at Baptiste’s missionary zeal off stage.
I used to laugh at my own jokes. People got annoyed