Leytonstone comedian Nigel Lovell only started on the comedy scene six years ago but has made it to the final of the UK pun championships 2017, which will be held in Leicester next Monday.

The former accountant, who also works as a handyman and decorator during the day, woke up one day and decided he wanted to change his career path.

He took a course at The Comedy School near Regent’s Park and started doing spots on open mic shows, where he then went on host various shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and also runs a regular comedy night in O’Neills, in Leytonstone.

He explains why his humour is inspired by getting older and why he once left a gig in Dagenham with audience members throwing beer glasses at his car…

How does it feel to have made it to the final of the UK pun championships?

I’m honoured and incredibly excited to be in this year’s final. Puns are sometimes looked down on but they are great little jokes that anyone can do.

Have you entered the competition before?

I entered in 2015 but didn’t make the finals, then in 2016 I was a quarter finalist and this year I’m hoping to go all the way.

How long have you been on the comedy scene?

I’ve been on the comedy circuit for the last 6 years.

How did you get into it?

It was something I always wanted to do, even from when I was a student, but I just had no idea how you even would attempt to start stand up. It wasn’t until I was much older (in my late 30’s) that I discovered there were places that you could do a course in Stand up. I took a course at The Comedy School near Regent’s Park before doing spots on open mic shows and it all progressed from there.

Describe your comedy?

Observational stories and one liners.

Where do you find inspiration?

Much of it comes through my own life experiences. I talk about getting older in my current set – because I’m getting older. I also get inspiration from stuff that you see and hear around you though.

If you weren’t doing comedy, what would you be doing?

Well, I still do decorating and handyman work during the day and I do comedy in the evening. However, I guess if I had never have started doing stand up in the first place then I’d still be working as an accountant.

What is the worst a show has gone?

I did a gig in Dagenham with another comedian where the audience threw beer glasses at our car as we drove out of the car park. That was pretty hairy. What made it more worrying was that the booker told us the next day that they’d liked us and wanted us to go back.

How do you deal with a joke flopping?

You acknowledge it and move on. Sometimes stuff that seems really funny in your head turns out not to be when you put it in words. You really don’t know how a joke is going to go down until you actually say it.

Who were your favourite comedians growing up?

I loved Saturday Live with people like Harry Enfield, Fry & Laurie and Ben Elton. I also listened to my parents’ copies of The Button Down Mind of Bob Newhart when I was young. If anyone out there isn’t aware of Bob Newhart, they really should check him out, he is excellent and his routines are still funny even after all this time.

How old are you?

That’s a bit forward. Old enough for my forehead to have outgrown my hair.

Where do you live?

Are you stalking me?

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I play hockey, I play and watch cricket, and for my sins I am a Leyton Orient fan, so I try to get to as many games as possible.

What’s next for you this year? More touring?

The comedy show Oh So Funny will be returning to O’Neills, in Leytonstone in April, which I’ll be running and hosting. In August I’ll be up in Edinburgh for the fringe and will be taking three shows up this year including, the Worst Show on the Fringe, an improv comedy panel show called The Extraordinary Time Travelling Adventures of Baron Munchausen and a show which is mysteriously unnamed at the moment.

What are your favourite puns of all time?

The current 2016 UK Pun Champion Masai Graham has written some corkers and this is the one I most wish I’d written:

What’s the difference between a hippo and a zippo? One is really heavy, the other’s a little lighter.

What joke do you think will help you win the final?

A favourite pun of my own was a topical one I wrote last year:

Went for a walk during Castro's cremation. Yup, I roamed while Fidel burned.

The UK Pun Championships 2017 are being held at De Montfort Hall in Leicester, as part of the Leicester Comedy Festival on Monday, February 13.

To find out more about Nigel, visit: @NigelBowlerHat