Comedian Elliot Steel is a chip off the old block.  Laura Enfield catches up with him before his gig in Hornchurch.

What prompted you to start in comedy?

I was kicked out of college, so it was either do comedy or join the army. I always fancied doing it, so I started, and things went better than expected, and people started paying me for it.

Why did they kick you out?

I was 16. I didn’t hand in enough homework during Sixth form. They asked me to leave.

Do you think you’re learning quickly?

I hope so, otherwise this career is just screwed. My agent just sends me everywhere. I had to go up to Edinburgh for the festival for three weeks. Edinburgh’s a small city and you’re in this little half-mile radius so you have to walk everywhere. You keep bumping into people you know, and you bump into them so much you run out of things to talk about. You stop talking about the weather; I’ve had conversations about lampposts. It’s a nice city, just the festival is the worst thing in the world. I will go to Edinburgh any other time of the year, I like Edinburgh, but just not during those three weeks. I’d rather go to Guantanamo Bay.

You’re the son of (comedian) Mark Steel. Has that had an influence?

I suppose so, but it’s the same as if your dad’s a builder – my mate’s dad’s a builder and he’s a builder. People think my dad might help me write material, but it’s not like that. We’re different, there’s such a big age gap – he went onto the circuit 30 years ago. The industry’s changed so much; styles are changing all the time. His attitude was, just get on and do it.

Do you remember your very first gig?

It was at a great club called Old Rope in central London; a new material night. I asked if I could go on, and they said yeah. It was quite intimidating because they have a rope on stage like a noose, and people doing new material have to grab the noose. You think if this goes quite badly, there is a way I can opt out quite quickly.

Elliot Steel is appearing at the Comedy Club at the Queen’s Theatre, Billet Lane, Hornchurch on Thursday, January 29 at 8.30pm. Details: 01708 443333,