GROWING up in the East Neuk, Liam Cumbers was a quiet youngster, which made his ambition to put himself in the spotlight a surprise, if not a downright shock, for his friends and family.
But the 19-year-old is all grown up now and a year into what he hopes will become a life-long career as a stand-up comic.
He’s hoping to follow in the footsteps of another Waid Academy FP – Daniel Sloss from East Wemyss – who, with regular TV appearances and a successful Edinburgh Fringe show already under his belt, is now becoming a name to look out for on the international comedy circuit.
“I didn’t know him at school but I’ve spoken to him since and he’s told me not to give up if it’s what I really want to do and to just keep going,” Liam said.
“I always liked comedy and going to shows and just decided it was something I wanted to have a go at.”
He made his nerve-wracking debut last year after signing up for Kirkcaldy Comedy Festival’s workshop for young would-be comedians and was delighted to be back at the festival again last month.
“Ever since my first gig I got a big taste for it and don’t want to give it up,” he said.
In the year inbetween he has been steadily working away, taking on gigs whenever he can to continue learning his craft.
He describes his style as a mix between one-liners and anecdotal stories, often based on his long-suffering mum Sharon and sister Keyrien (15).
“But you’re always changing your material and I like to vary it as much as I can.”
His biggest influences are Scots comic Kevin Bridges, who also started out in his teens and is now a headline act and a TV regular, and Canadian Tom Stade.
Every successful comedian has tales of nights when they have died on stage and played the roughest of venues on their way to the top. And Liam has already experienced the latter.
“My worst gig so far was in Penicuik when a woman in the audience started throwing glasses at the stage,” Liam said. “It turned out someone else had offended her but she decided to take it out on me – I think because I am so young I was quite shocked.”
He says his best show has been his return gig at Kirkcaldy when he opened up a new-acts show and realised just how much more confident he is now.
“It was funny to have people at the stage I was a year ago asking me how to go about it,” he said.
Looking to the future, his ultimate ambition would be to be a big comedy name and do shows and television work.
For the moment, however, he is combining his gigging across the country with recently starting a course in event management at Dundee College.
You can catch Liam in action this month at Glenrothes and Edinburgh – for details see www.liamcumbers.com