PORT Talbot-born comedian Bennett Arron is returning to his home town on Thursday for a one-off night of laughter.
Award-winning Bennett, the only Jewish/Welsh performer on the comedy circuit, will be strutting his stuff at Blancos on Thursday, March 15, in a show that will be filmed for television. The fun starts at 7.30pm, and tickets are £4.50 on the door.
“It will be good to be back,” said Bennett, whose family still live in Port Talbot.
A writer and actor as well as a comedian, he now lives in London, having been born and brought up in Baglan where he attended Blaenbaglan and Glan Afan schools.
As a youngster, Bennett took part in school plays, and attended the same amateur dramatic society as Michael Sheen before heading for drama school in London.
“I was kicked out after a year,” he smiled. “But it’s a long story!”
Undeterred, Bennett, who is in his 40s, started writing gags and sketches for TV, and the likes of Freddie Starr and Hale and Pace.
His own comedy favourites were Morecambe and Wise, and Tommy Cooper.
“I try to write things people will laugh at,” said Bennett – but there were no laughs whatsoever at his own very first gig, a 10-minute slot at Swansea Synagogue.
“I got there late because of train delays, and was immediately told ‘you’re on’,” he said. “I gave them 10 minutes of my own material, and the silence was broken only by one cough.
“No-one had told the audience I was doing comedy, and my appearance came between talks from a Holocaust survivor and the Chief Rabbi.”
Bennett is proud of his Jewish/Welsh heritage – his current tour is headlined Jewelsh – and has always made use of it in his shows, arousing interest and amazement in equal measure.
“My family, who came to Wales from Lithuania in the early 1900s, are the last Jewish family in Port Talbot,” he said. “They were glaziers, Ben Arron and Son.”
Bennett returns to his home town as part of the Jewelsh tour, and fresh from supporting Ricky Gervais on some of his tour dates.
He is a past winner of both the TAPS Comedy Writer of the Year Award and the BBC Wales New Writer’s Award, and is a sell-out performer in Edinburgh. However, his proudest moment was coming third in an international disco dancing championship in Tenerife.