Meet comedian and actor Jim Tavaré who moved to LA seven years ago.
|photo: Laura Tavaré|
Was there a particular reason you chose LA?
I didn’t choose LA, it chose me. I got a call to take part in the NBC reality TV show ‘Last Comic Standing’, where I became the only overseas act to ever reach the final episode.
After this, NBC organised a 6 month live tour of the show with myself and the other 4 finalists. We performed at 63 venues throughout the US, so it was a great way to get to see the country. I made LA my base, and decided to stay a little longer after the tour. Seven years on I’m still here doing my thing, which is stand-up comedy and acting. I sometimes perform my show at US colleges where the kids come out to stare at me because I was once in a Harry Potter movie.
What do you miss most from home?
I miss running. I used to run a lot around Richmond Park. The hot LA climate plus having to wait 10 minutes for the 'walk sign' at every crosswalk, makes running here much more of a chore.
What was your first impression of LA and has it changed since? If so, why?
I first worked in LA in 1992 when I appeared on a CBS TV show called ‘Wings’. During this time I bumped into Kurt Cobain at The Holiday Inn on Sunset (which later got raised to the ground during the LA riots). I had my double bass in tow, and Kurt asked me to jam with him while he tinkled on the piano that was in the hotel lobby. LA has always been a place where bigger artists will converge with lesser known ones, in a melting pot of creativity. I was struck by the energy of the place, and found it artistically very exciting. Nothing much has changed. It’s like one big Edinburgh Festival all year round.
What do you find the biggest difference is living here versus London?
Everything is so much more convenient here. Paying for gas at the pump, paying checks into the bank on your phone, getting groceries bagged for you at the store. Everyday chores are made much less stressful. The other major difference I find is the driving. LA drivers are extraordinarily aggressive and impatient. The culture of honking when someone hesitates longer than a nano-second at a green light, or simply wants to turn left, is not something you have to endure back in the UK.
Do you have any hidden gems in LA that you want to share with us?
There is a great place off Hollywood and Curson called Wattles Farm. It is a community garden in the most beautiful setting.
My wife and I were on the waiting list for 2 years before being given a garden plot in this magical place. It's a great way to unwind and get away from the craziness of LA. Growing your own produce somehow reconnects you with everything that’s important in life, and it’s the best form of therapy there is. The only problem is not knowing what to do with 50 kilos of flat leaf parsley.
A lot of people have misconceptions about LA - did you?
I used to imagine Hollywood to be a glamorous place - just like in the movies. But in reality it’s a giant, festering souvenir shop. I’ve seen more glamour on a Tuesday night in Blackpool.
What would you suggest to other comedians or actors who are thinking about making the move here?
When you first get here, the industry expect you to hit the ground running - so do your research before you arrive. Don’t allow them to make you jump through too many hoops. It’s better not to fit into a mould if you want to stand out from the crowd. Retain your Britishness, it can be charming and get you a long way in this town.
Lastly , how can we find out more about you?
I regularly perform at comedy clubs throughout LA, and you can find show listings via this link http://goo.gl/EIxU05.
You can next see me perform at Flappers Comedy Club, Burbank on June 21st, this QR code will get you free tickets (while they last): or click on this link See Jim For Free!