Italian Luca Cupani came to London with dreams of performing Shakespeare and settled into a house-share in Haringey. But after failing miserably to get his acting career going he decided to try his hand at stand up and was an instant success.

He stormed his first ever gig on February 24, 2014, winning the notorious King Gong night at the Comedy Store London and he hasn’t looked back since.

Now the Wood Green 39-year-old has been chosen from more than 150 acts as one of 12 finalists in this year’s New Acts of The Year Comedy Showcase (NATYS) which has previously been won by comedy greats such as Stewart Lee, Ronni Ancona and Ardal O’Hanlon.

We caught up with him ahead of the gig:

Your first memory of comedy?

A Woody Allen movie, I can’t remember the title, in which he can be briefly seen doing stand up.

Career highlight so far?

Winning So You Think You’re Funny? in Edinburgh last August.

Why did you move to London to act instead of trying in Italy?

I did a bit of acting in Italy, I was Rosencrantz in Hamlet and I also played in a couple of short movies, but London seemed to offer many more opportunities, the West End theatres, BBC, Pinewood Studios.

Why did you give up on acting?

Well... I haven’t given up yet, this is a message for every casting director and for the West End theatres, BBC, Pinewood Studios..., but I found out that my accent is an issue (in order to play Shakespeare you need to have RP standard English) and when my accent could work (i.e. when they look for an Italian character), my pale complexion doesn’t help (I was told that I sound Italian but I look more Polish).

What has been you biggest failure in life?

To be honest, I think that my biggest failure has yet to come, but according to many people not having kids or any stability might be regarded as a failure itself.

Your greatest triumph?

Did I mention that I won So You Think You’re Funny? last August? Also, doing what I like is my daily little triumph...

How long have you lived in Wood Green?

More than a year.

Favourite local hangout?

Ally Pally.

What is inspiring your comedy at the moment?

My life and London: the people I meet here, the way we try to communicate with each other.

Do you have a day job?

Not yet. I moved here with some savings, that are quickly vanishing.

How does it feel to be through to the NATYS?

It feels great, it’s definitely the best way for me to start this year!

Are Italians funnier than the English?

I don’t think so. Maybe Italians are generally more loud and talkative... but when the English drink, they become more Italian. They don’t avoid eye contact and talk to strangers more freely. I would say that a drunk English is very similar to a sober Italian.

What is the main difference in our sense of humours?

I still have to figure out... sometimes Italian sense of humour is darker, or heavier, whereas English sense of humour is more restrained and politically correct.

Have you made any embarrassing language mistakes?

The first time I heard English people saying “C word” I understood “Sea World” and was quite puzzled. How can Sea World be considered such a rude and offensive thing?

Funniest thing that has happened to you?

Something in Amsterdam last year... but you will hear about it on my next show ;)

Your favourite English word or expression?

Fair enough.

Your favourite Italian word or expression?


What do your family think of you becoming a comedian?

My dad was always very supportive, my mum died before I started but I like to think that she would have appreciated what I do.

What is the most surprising thing you have learnt since moving here?

That it is never too late to do something new and crazy.

What has been the hardest thing about moving here?

That houses are incredibly expensive.

What do you miss most about Italy?

Some very very very good friends and some delicious food.

Which comedians do you admire?

All those who have managed to have a long career.

Who do you think is the funniest person to have lived?

I really don’t know.

Are you single?

Yes, I’m single, straight and available!! And my number is 078... or you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter @lucacupani...

Luca will perform at the NATYS final at Leicester Square Theatre, Leicester Place, WC2H 7BX, Sunday, January 31, 2.30pm. Details: