Jon Richardson worries. A lot. About pretty much everything.
And now, Dave have given him his own show in which to voice his anxieties about literally everything, from bacteria to dry-roasted nuts and lifts to Elon Musk.
Jon Richardson: Ultimate Worrier sees the stand-up comedian and former 8 Out of 10 Cats team captain joined by comedians (Josh Widdicombe and Suzi Rufell in episode one) as they discuss and talk through Jon’s many, many, many concerns.
“I hope viewers will worry less afterwards,” Jon tells RadioTimes.com. “Just the act of laughing for an hour, I hope, will make you realise that the world is fundamentally a funny place, although there are things still to worry about.”
So, with that in mind, what does Jon think are the ultimate top five worries we should be having in life?
1. Air pollution
I worry about this a lot. My wife [fellow stand-up comedian Lucy Beaumont] has done that to me – she’s very big on pollution. It never used to bother me and now I find when I’m in London like a little bird – I take little shallow breaths as if it’s not going to get inside me. And it definitely is.
2. The dishwasher
I always mention stacking the dishwasher – any opportunity. But it’s the consequences – it’s the food poisoning and the potential death that will come with not loading the dishwasher properly. If you don’t wash dishes properly, you will get ill. And you will lose friends because they’ll come to your house, you’ll give them tea in a filthy cup and they’ll never see you again. And you’ll die, vomiting, on your own.
3. The fridge
I think more people should worry about where they store things in the fridge. I don’t think people are on top of separating raw and cooked ingredients. It’s the same with not wrapping the cheese up properly – you’ve got to wrap it otherwise it’s going to go dry and that’s food waste. These are now just mostly aimed at Lucy. I think if we had separate kitchens, that would definitely help our marriage a lot.
I have to make sure when this interview goes out she doesn’t see it because this is becoming quite a targeted attack that at some point will be used in a divorce hearing.
4. Wednesday evenings
I also think people should worry about how they’re going to cancel all their plans on Wednesdays at 10pm when they realise how engrossing this series is.
5. Fizzy drinks
I’m not going to say anything more about that or why you should worry about fizzy drinks. I’ll just leave that one anonymous as if I know something about fizzy drinks that they don’t know. There’s big news coming about fizzy drinks. And just know I knew it first.
OCD and everyday anxieties have always been a source of comedy for Jon’s material. But, in all seriousness, he also tells us how he previously had counselling for six months to try and deal with his worries.
“It was amazing,” he says. “I really wish I’d done it sooner and it would be my advice to anyone who’s even mildly upset about anything. I don’t know why it isn’t seen more like going to the doctor if you had an itch and getting some cream for it.”
He says it was an “exceptional few months” for him and adds that talking about things “100% makes it better” – but it was something he put it off for a long time.
“I think you maybe don’t want to accept there’s something wrong I think with your head, because the worry is it can’t be fixed and you think ‘what if I go and someone tells me my head isn’t right and I can never fix it?’ and you definitely can,” he explains. “Or you can certainly improve it. It’s gone deep now hasn’t it?” he smiles.
“But I think acknowledging there’s a problem is the best thing. Even just once I’d booked to see someone I felt better because I was like ‘well now it’s not a secret anymore’. I think it is an immensely positive step.”
After many years of self-confessed unhappiness, Jon has found contentment and joy in fatherhood. He and Lucy are now parents to baby daughter, Elsie.
The impact of becoming a parent can often turn even the most calm and stress-free people into worriers who begin to panic about everything and anything. Conversely, the opposite seems to have happened to Jon.
“Without being vomit-inducingly cheesy, I have a level of happiness in my life that I never thought I would get just sitting and watching Peppa Pig that actually has contextualised a lot of other stuff,” he explains. “And I feel like I probably could have learnt that sooner in my life. But, it’s taken time.”
Jon being Jon, he admits this newfound happiness has its drawbacks. There’s an anxiety about becoming too happy, and that having an impact on his notoriously pessimistic humour.
“Absolutely. It’s a real concern – and that’s why I constantly spice up my marriage with passive-aggressive sniping, just to make sure,” he laughs.
“I definitely have done my life in reverse,” he adds. “The only big life challenge I think I’m worried about is a mid-life crisis because I’ve done so little. I think if people who’ve lived normal lives have mid-life crises and buy motorbikes, what is a man who’s done nothing.
“I didn’t go out, I didn’t do any drugs, I didn’t do any of that. I’ve potentially got something really horrific looming on the horizon. But hopefully it’ll just be a ponytail – or maybe a tattoo.”
Jon Richardson: Ultimate Worrier airs Wednesdays at 10pm on Dave