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Jack Whitehall: I asked for the Chuckle Brothers at the Brits

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He’s had his own Netflix stand-up special, chat show and a host of notable acting roles.

Now Jack Whitehall is taking on a new challenge – hosting this year’s Brit Awards.

The comedian and actor, who is currently starring in Sky’s Bounty Hunters, says he’s expecting the unexpected.

We spoke to him ahead of Wednesday’s ceremony to discuss grime, the nature of live TV and…. the Chuckle Brothers.

It’s a long-held tradition that comedians host the Brits – James Corden, Russell Brand and Peter Kay having all taken the helm in recent years.

For Jack, it’s not about competing for laughs though – it’s more about simply getting through the show.

“I’m worried about the Brits because it’s such a high-profile show,” he says.

“It’s live, anything can happen – and historically, anything has happened – so it’s a nerve-wracking thing to be doing, but it’s the biggest night in music and it’s a good level of scared and excitement.”

He says his favourite awkward moment was from 1996, when Jarvis Cocker crashed Michael Jackson’s performance of Earth Song.

“You can prepare a bit but that’s the nature of it – there will be something you didn’t see coming or something that goes wrong and you just don’t know what that moment will be.

“I’m not sure I’ll get laughs. I’ll do jokes but I won’t do full stand up – I’m just there to introduce the acts and keep everyone’s spirits high.”

He says he hasn’t worked out “what the worst case scenario is” but hopes that “people will get more drunk as the night goes on and it will get easier”.

As host of a big show, you’d think an entourage or even a say in the guest presenters would be on the cards, but Jack says none of his suggestions were “quite appropriate for the night”.

“I asked for the Chuckle Brothers – it’s always nice to see them but they don’t really fit the Brits brand,” he says.

Jack, whose acting credits include playing a teacher in Bad Education and a uni student in Fresh Meat, has also become part of an unlikely double act in recent years.

Along with his 77-year-old dad Michael, he presents BBC Two chat show Backchat and they appear together on Netflix show Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father.

“I don’t think my dad is going to come with me just because I couldn’t even get him to come to the O2 to watch my show,” he says.

“I think if it was over in Putney somewhere then he would probably come, or Wimbledon.

“It will be nearly as hard getting him there as it will be to keep my mother away.

“She will definitely be there trying to talk to everyone and getting pictures with everyone.”

Jack is more than happy to be called posh and it’s something he often plays on during his stand up routines.

Asked how he feels about the prominence of grime at this year’s ceremony, he says: “It’s slightly ludicrous in the year that grime has been the dominant force in British music that I’m the host.

“I don’t think I will attempt to assimilate in anyway with anyone from the grime scene because I think that might not play well.

Jack has met Stormzy, who’s up for two Brits, and says he’s “very nice”.

“He put me on his Snapchat and that’s an achievement,” he says. “Unfortunately as I was talking to Stormzy, Richard Hammond came over and I started talking to him, that does slightly ruin your street cred.

“If I’m talking to Stormzy at the Brits I just need to make sure Richard isn’t around.”

Jack has presented awards at the show in the past, so knows how unpredictable – but also completely mad – it can be.

“I like the fact they put really random people together (to present the awards),” he says.

“I guest presented with Jessie J and Louis Smith and none of us kept in touch. We talked over each other, then my mic went dead, so it was great.

“I have experienced slight technical malfunctions at the Brits but this year is going to be fine, everything is going to run really smoothly and nothing’s going to go wrong.”

We’ll keep our fingers crossed.

The Brit Awards will be broadcast on Wednesday 21 February on ITV.

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