The joke that you loved but no one else did?
Numismatists are tender lovers.
Writing a one liner that short is rare, and I think this is such an elegant and smart gag, perfect for bringing out over a bottle of port, as you nudge the gentleman chewing on a cigar next to you and begin, “Well, Lord Cartwright, you know what they say…”.
I’m so proud of it, yet I know that there isn’t a comedy club in the world where it would work.
I reworked it to the more audience-friendly format of: “I like my women like I like my money. Legal, tender.”
The joke that worked but you are not so proud that it had?
Not really, I don’t think many experienced comedians tell jokes that they consider ‘beneath them’ or ones that don’t chime with their voice. Even when I was starting to play Jongleurs and rowdier rooms, I still told the same jokes that I’d tell at more sedate University gigs. There are jokes that I’d rather didn’t work — if you’re doing a routine on police brutality, or brain damage and the NFL, you’re getting the audience to laugh about extremely traumatic and upsetting subjects, but you’d rather that it just didn’t happen in the first place.
The comedian(s) that made you want to be a comedian?
The first proper stand up shows that I watched were Jimmy Carr and Ricky Gervais’ first specials, and I watched them a lot. I don’t think they made me want to be a comedian, as that only happened once I was already performing comedy and realising that it could be a viable career. About 10 gigs in, I was on the same bill as Reg D. Hunter, and when I asked him if he had any advice, he said ‘Beef it up’, with no explanation to what it was. I then spent the next few months experimenting in my act, trying to ‘beef up’ various things, and somehow got better as a result. So I’ll say Reg as the comedian, but most of the credit goes to my agent, Shaun, who saw me in the first year of starting and told me he thought I could make it as a full time comic, which resulted in me feeling confident enough to pursue it.
The last thing that made you cry with laughter?
I can’t remember, so here’s the thing that made me cry with laughter the most: My wife is the funniest person I know, and one of the smartest. We were on a plane, waiting to take off, when she looked out of the window and in all sincerity, asked me if there had ever been a bird as big as a plane. I laughed so, so hard, that a member of cabin crew came over to ask if I was scared of flying, and I didn’t stop crying until we were in the air. Now, it’s obviously not funny, but in my head at the time, I had this whole world of plane-sized birds radioing to a control tower, before landing and running along the runway with their feet gradually slowing down, and then loads of baby birds getting off their back. Alice, I love you.