Troubadour funny man Nick Helm says he owes it all to his drama teacher at Sandringham School. If not for her, the Edinburgh Fringe favourite (winner of Dave’s Best Joke 2011) would never have had the confidence to stand up, sing or do anything on stage.

“Miss Louise Hows was my drama teacher at Sandringham and we performed Romeo and Juliet in 1997 at school and then took it to Edinburgh,” says Nick. “I loved it – it had never occurred to me that you could do something like that but I didn’t know whether I wanted to perform or write.”

He went on to do both. Nick grew up in St Albans and attended Cunningham Hill as well as Sandringham School. He stormed onto the stand-up circuit in 2007 and in 2010 his solo show Keep Hold of The Gold, was a must-see of the festival. Last year’s Nick Helm: Dare To Dream was nominated for the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award for Best Show.

Although more often than not appearing with a guitar in hand, Nick shies away from calling himself a musician.

“I wasn’t really in a band in sixth form. I did drama and art and English and I’d always liked poetry but I was pretty rubbish at music. I’ve now learned five chords so I know enough on the guitar to play a couple of songs but for a live gig I call in better musicians, which makes it sound good and leaves my hands free to waggle at audience members; having a guitar strapped on slows me down. I need total body freedom.”

Nick is reluctant to tell me where he’s playing next as “previews tend to go spectacularly wrong” but he confesses to doing a “slow flicker book of the show” every Tuesday at the Hen and Chickens in Islington.

He is also performing with his band live and on TV in Russell Kane’s new show Live at The Electric.

“I didn’t want to be on the stage by myself so we play as the show band at the end of each episode. It’s visually more interesting with the band and you can play around with the magic of telly.”

Nick has also been busy creating material for Channel Four (Nick’s Blaps is available from May 24 on and it looks as if the band are here to stay. They also perform at the Latitude Festival on Sunday, July 15( “I’ve always used music in my shows and for the past year I’ve been working with guitarist David Trent, who’s originally from Welwyn.

“I wanted my sound to be bigger so I just naturally added until we had a full band. Everyone in the band are friends and they’re all comedians too. I’m glad I get to camp with them as it can be quite lonely doing stand-up.”

Live At The Electric airs on BBC Three on Thursday, May 31 at 9.30pm and the Edinburgh show Nick Helm: This Means War is at the Pleasance Queen Dome from August 1-27 at 5.30pm.