Yellow Smile Day Special: Interview with Felix Dexter

Felix Dexter is known as a dynamic, entertaining and credible Stand-up comedian, Award winning Screen Play Writer and Actor who has a long résumé of credits under his belt. To date he has featured in Highly acclaimed TV productions such as Bellamy’s People,  Casualty, The Bill and the undisputed comedy series -The Real McCoy.  Felix is re-nowned for his quick witted style of a humour, combined his professional ambience on screen.

CREDITS – Bellamy’s People, Down The Line Radio 4, Casualty, and The Bill

 YELLOW SMILE DAY WILL BE HELD ON THE 22ND MAY 2012. WE ARE USING THIS DAY TO LOOK AT THE LIFE, DREAMS AND VISION OF CHANEL LEE AND PAY ATTENTION TO ‘THE ARTS’ ACROSS THE WEST MIDLANDS. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE ‘THE ARTS’

In terms of my own involvement  ‘The Arts’  provides an excellent opportunity to be creative and bring stimulating productions to the community which can make people think. I see my involvement in ‘The Arts’ as a great privilege.

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND AND HOW YOU STARTED OUT

I did not start out doing comedy. I did a degree in Law at the University College in London I was on a route for a legal career was doing my bar finals during this time I was side tracked by  romance and ended up spending much of my Bar finals year in the US.  I started doing Stand-up and fairly quickly to my surprise started earning a living at it. Definitely I was inspired and developed a desire to do comedy from watching or listening to greats like , Richard Prior, Bill Cosby, Sam Kinnison, Billy Connolly etc. Right from the early days around 1989 I was lucky to to get many gigs and later acting work which seemed like an avalanche at the time relative to what I was expecting. Not long after that came my involvement with the Real Mc Coy around 1994 and then subsequently other shows like AB FAB, The Bill, Casualty, The Fast Show. In terms of live work I had a spell with the RSC, but throughout have always continued doing live stand-up.

WHAT IS  IT LIKE TO KNOW YOU HAVE THE DESIRE TO SUCCEED, BUT AT THE SAME TIME BEING UNSURE WHAT TO DO, HOW TO BEGIN?

Everyone has doubts the thing is to have a passion for what you do which can help overcome those self doubts. Doing Performing Arts has many risks yes, there are times without financial stability, but if you are driven and have self belief, everyone has the potential to succeed.  A number of great achievers tell stories of barriers faced before their achievements. Steve Martin spent many years doing shows in a car park in LA because he could not get a booking. Due to his commitment and determination to succeed he was able to eventually become a famous actor and comedian. Love for what you doing, is what is critical.

HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU REGARD THE ISSUE OF SUPPORT AND MENTORING?

Yes, support and mentoring is a vital tool that our community should use to assist young people and show them the possibilities in terms of what they can achieve. Many times in our history individuals have achieved, and then not looked back to assist other people coming up. It is only if this changes via mentoring for example that our young people will fulfil their potential. One of the biggest problems in the community is youth crime, an area where clearly mentoring can be a positive by providing help and support to young people. I am very much in favour and positive about those kind of initiatives in our community.

WHAT ENCOURAGEMENT WOULD YOU OFFER TO INDIVIDUALS/YOUNG PEOPLE WHO SUFFER LOW SELF-ESTEEM OR LACK CONFIDENCE AND WANT TO PURSUE THE ARTS?

The First step is self-belief. You cannot hope to succeed unless you can have that vision of yourself as successful. It is said that 99% of any achievement in life is to be able to have the vision of yourself achieving. If there is someone that you admire, read their biography, you will see that no one has succeeded without having to strive and overcome some kind of adversity. If you have self-belief and desire, success is possible. I remember having a conversation with Idris Elba some ten years ago when he expressed dissatisfaction with his career path. His story and his decision to be proactive and take control of his fortunes is a great and inspirational one. Through his own efforts he turned things around to now be an internationally renowned actor known for The Wire, Luther, and Prometheus this summer to name but a few.

YOU HAVE ACTED IN MANY DIFFERENT ROLES INCLUDING ‘MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES IN ORDER’ BELLAMY’S PEOPLE ETC.  OUT OF ALL THE CHARACTERS YOU HAVE PLAYED TO DATE WHICH ONE DO YOU THINK MOST DEFINES YOU AS ARTISTIC PERSON

In terms of my comedy and the characters that I have played, the one that I have enjoyed the most and the role that people have responded most to is the Nigerian character, Nathaniel, who is an Accountancy student and Mini Cab Driver. Douglas, a character I first played on The Real McCoy is another favourite. A lot of that character is based on my own experiences and it’s a character that crosses over well to different communities. I enjoyed playing Autolycus in The Winter’s Tale for the RSC. Maximus “ Leader of The Lost Legion was fun for ABC television. I actually got paid to go to Italy back in 2003 and play warrior in a field outside Rome, then go and sit in a trailer with “Maximus Leader of The Lost Legion” written on it.

HOW WOULD YOU ENCOURAGE PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY TO SUPPORT THE CHANEL LEE SMILE FOUNDATION?

Well, I think I would encourage them to find out about the story of how the Chanel Lee Smile Foundation came about and the initiative behind it. Something very positive can come out of something very sad. Deborah has allowed positivity to flourish in her life. This is a very moving story. A  great example of how to maintain that positive energy and to move forward.

SO WHERE CAN FLEIX DEXTER BE SEEN NEXT/DO YOU HAVE ANY DATES FOR OUR DIARIES

In June I am at Lewisham Theatre 10th June People can get an update of my diary by following me Twitter @Felix_Dexter or Facebook Felix Dexter

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