Babatunde Aléshé is fast becoming one of the most popular names in black British comedy and will be seen on the show for up-and-coming comics on Saturday 10 October.
The comic and actor studied Performing Arts at WestKing from 2002 to 2005.
Babatunde, 34, said: “I was always the class clown in school and was inspired by Eddie Murphy. When I was at college I met a comedian by the name of Kojo made the decision to step into comedy.
“Whenever I was acting, I would always try to make the audience laugh, even when it wasn’t a comedy. Stand-up seemed like the only option for me.”
Babatunde made his stand-up debut at the Upfront at Comedy Club in Croydon in November 2003 and has gone on to perform at venues across the UK including The O2 and Hackney Empire.
He is also a talented actor whose TV and film credits including Waking the Dead, Doctor Who, EastEnders, Pelican Blood and The Naked Poet.
His stage work includes Iya Ilé at Soho Theatre and Requiem for Tomorrow at Shaw Theatre.
“I love acting, but stand-up will always have a special place in my heart,” he said.
“The real highlight of my career so far is having my son show his grandmother me on the TV whenever he goes to her house!”
Despite his comedic leaning, Babatunde recalled the performance he considered his best at WestKing was in a serious role, as John Proctor in The Crucible.
He said: “I loved my time at college and had the pleasure of being trained by Rob Alexander, who was an awesome teacher. Because of him I was able to get into Central School of Speech and Drama and become a comic. Within three years I was there. I can honestly say that my time at WestKing wasn’t wasted at all.”
Giving his advice to future performers, he added: “Don’t overthink it, just do it. Trust the process and don’t be scared to fail. If you can withstand failure, over and over again, it makes you stronger. For a comedian it’s where our best material is made.”
Babatunde won Best Newcomer at the Black Entertainment Comedy Awards and was also the winner of the Amused Mouse National New Comic Award.
In 2018 he was chosen to appear alongside American stand-up Dave Chapelle on his live comedy show The Process.
Earlier this year he was seen on Celebrity Gogglebox on Channel 4 with fellow comic Mo Gilligan, and in September he appeared on Soccer Saturday on Sky Sports.
Rob Alexander, Lecturer in Drama, said: “Babatunde was a fabulous student to have in the classroom and showed great comedic potential from the off. From his early scenes in EastEnders to where he is now, I am very proud of his achievements.”
“What’s equally wonderful is how open and approachable he is, and how willing he has been to talk to our students about his work and career.”