Perthshire comedian reveals the funny side of farming

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Comedian Jim Smith on stage.

A Perthshire farmer who moonlights as a stand up comedian has been asked to lift the lid on how the rural community really views the world at a major literary event.

Jim Smith, who spends his weekdays farming 300 acres of mixed arable and livestock near Blairgowrie, has been invited to perform at the Wigtown Book Festival.

The 39-year-old came to their attention through his regular appearances on stage at clubs in Edinburgh or Glasgow.

His act explores the realities of how country people see the world – from Brexit to the price of scones.

Jim also puts right those misguided people who believe that it is landowners and farmers who run the countryside, when it is the Women’s Rural who actually hold the whip hand.

“It may be farmers who grow the world’s food but none of them can cook any of it,” he said. “And that’s where the Women’s Rural come in – they have control of what we eat.”

Other favourite themes include the difference between what we see on Countryfile and what happens in real life and the challenges of finding a girlfriend when you live on a farm (and the perils of internet dating).

His comedy career began as a member of the Young Farmers when he wrote the scripts for the annual pantos which were staged at the Birnam Arts Centre.

“I liked writing the sketches and I loved being on stage, it gave me a bit of a buzz,” he said.

Later, after encouragement from friends, he plucked up the courage to apply for beginner’s sessions at The Stand Comedy Club in Glasgow.

He gradually got established on the circuit and then developed his own hour-long shows.

Two years ago he had a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and reached the finals of the influential So You Think You’re Funny competition.

Despite his success with observational humour, Jim doesn’t anticipate changing career and giving up the farm his family has run for three generations.

“Maybe if I didn’t love the job so much, but if I’m away from the farm for more than two or three days I get withdrawal symptoms,” he says.

His show at Wigtown on September 26 is part of a programme of entertainment at the festival, which includes everything from music to fireworks and film.