For all his successes, you’d forgive Iain Stirling for being just a little smug.
At 34, the Scotsman is without doubt one of the most successful comedians of his generation and has built up an almost cult status doing the voice-over for Love Island.
But before the new series kicks off next month, Iain has been busy with other commitments, not least his biggest ever stand-up tour, which ended in Dublin in April. And he’s about to embark on his sixth series hosting madcap entertainment show CelebAbility.
As if that wasn’t enough, he’s also cowritten his own comedy sitcom, Buffering, and penned a book called Not Ready To Adult Yet, which was accompanied by a podcast of the same name.
Now, just when you thought he could barely squeeze anything else in, he’s going global. This week he releases his first Amazon Original stand-up special, called Failing Upwards, to over 200 countries and territories.
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Yet for all he has going on, Iain is unflappably cool when we catch up with him. And that, in part, is to do with becoming a dad to his gorgeous baby girl last year, he explains.
He and his Irish presenter wife Laura Whitmore, 37, welcomed their first child last March. “It just shifts your priorities,” he says, when we touch on how life has changed since. “It’s a really good way of helping you realise what’s important. “I worry less about stuff. Like, if I was doing a gig, I would worry about the lighting, or maybe being late, and you just leave behind all those little niggles now.”
Both Iain and Laura are notoriously private about family life – choosing not to share their daughter’s name or images of her face.
Yet it’s clear that becoming parents is incredibly satisfying and a priority, despite their hectic careers. Earlier this month Laura shared a sweet Instagram video apparently showing the 14-month-old having her feet measured for shoes – but was careful again not to identify her face.
A few weeks earlier the couple took their toddler to laid-back 49th birthday drinks held in London’s Primrose Hill for Laura’s Celebrity Juice pal Leigh Francis.
But Iain won’t be drawn on the highs and lows of parenthood. “I don’t really want to get into that,” he says, politely. “But being a dad has been great fun. I’ve just really been enjoying it.”
But it’s clear Iain’s a very hands-on dad. “Touring, I’m not actually away from home as much as you imagine,” he says. “My tour manager and I have a rule of thumb that if we’re less than two-and-a-half hours away, I’ll go home. So it’s nice to still be really involved at home.”
When it comes his relationship with Laura, the pair, who are believed to have met at an ITV party in 2016, are equally tight-lipped. They married in secret in 2020, with the low-key wedding taking place in Dublin just weeks before they announced they were expecting. Iain has referred to Laura as his “sunshine”, with the couple often recording fun TikTok dance routines for their social media fans.
“We just enjoy each other’s company and are great friends and I am just really lucky I guess. I am just a very happy man,” says Iain.
He landed his big TV break on CBBC in 2009 – performing alongside puppet sidekick Hacker T Dog – after being heralded as one of Scotland’s top talents while gigging at the Edinburgh Fringe. Five years later, in 2014, he was nominated for a Bafta for best children’s presenter after hosting the off-the-wall kids quiz show The Dog At My Homework. From there the work came flooding in and he moved to “grown-up TV”, albeit shows requiring his sharp humour and playful personality.
His biggest work achievement to date is, unsurprisingly, Love Island, he says. “None of us expected it to become so big, so the fact we had so much fun making it and then all of a sudden it is everywhere, makes me really proud.”
Given its whooping success – it has regularly attracted three million viewers – he’s understandably confident the hotly anticipated eighth series is going to be a cracker. This year’s singletons will experience a new Majorcan home, currently under construction and set to be the grandest yet.
“I’ve not seen the villa. I like to wait and see it on the first day and meet the Islanders for the first time, so I’m like a viewer seeing it for the first time, too. That’s my vibe… Or maybe it’s just me being a little bit lazy,” he jokes.
“I know it’s got a fire pit because I talked about that in the trailer and I imagine if there’s more working out space it’ll be the sexiest series we’ve ever had.”
The rumours about the latest batch are rife, with everyone from Zara McDermott’s brother Brad to former WAG Sophie Draper being suggested.
But who would he love to coax into the villa? “I really want Helen Mirren,” he says. “I just think she’s a really good actor and I admire her. Maybe she could go in with Billy Connolly? He’s a legend.”
After 224 singletons, countless hook-ups, tears and bust-ups, he’s not worried about running out of material for his sharp-witted commentary.
“Every season there have been some absolute blinders – like after Casa Amor when Shaughna told Callum ‘congrats, hun’ after he recoupled with Molly. Or with the ‘who kissed who?’ debacle between Georgia and Jack. I’m always confident there will be great moments.”
He takes little for granted. His comedy entertainment show CelebAbility will enjoy its sixth series this summer.
“For any panel show to last so long it feels crazy. And I guess I’ve never done grown-up telly properly before this, although I suppose it’s not that far removed from kids TV,” he says.
“We just have a laugh and it’s fun – like a little holiday. And it’s getting better all the time. I think the celebrities understand it more than ever and the prizes are better this year. One is a year-long beer subscription.”
His show for Amazon, recorded at London’s Alexandra Palace Theatre, puts him on a global stage.
“It was ace,” he says. “There’s a guy called Richard who got up to go to the loo when I was performing and he actually becomes part of the stand-up. They were a lively audience – I actually had to tell them to calm down, but the whole thing was just really exciting.”
He puts his level-headed outlook and lack of ego down to his grounded Scottish upbringing and years working the comedy circuit.
“I’ve got my mum and dad back home and friends there keeping things normal. I also think my stand-up has helped. It’s nothing like being a celebrated actor. It keeps you grounded. It keeps you humble.
“I’ve had people shouting at me, I’ve had people leaving. I’ve had a man dry-humping me!
“But that’s just life – you’ve got to take the rough with the smooth. I just want to keep improving myself. I like all the things I do, so all I can do is ask myself whether I can do any of it better.
“And I’ve got no shame any more because I’ve experienced everything.”
Iain Stirling’s Amazon Original stand-up special Failing Upwards launches on Prime Video on 27 May and CelebAbility premieres on ITV2 on 16 June
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