The joke that you loved but no one else did?
There was one in an early draft of the show about how Harold Wilson was going to support a remain vote in the 1975 Referendum. He said that he was ‘going to make like a reversing lorry and back ‘in’.’ I gave it three goes and it got three severe deaths before I withdrew it. Still makes me smile.
The joke that worked but you are not so proud that it had?
I’m glad you asked that question as it provides an opportunity to make amends. There was a sketch I did many years ago about the Welsh language that really wasn’t ok. The premise was that the Welsh were taking revenge for the historic injustices meted out to them by cruel English conquerors by speaking a jibberish language that the modern-day English, feeling the burden of their ancient guilt, would never question. Thus did the Welsh make a mockery of the English and have a good old laugh at their expense. It was intended as being playfully pro-Welsh. However, if you unpick the premise it actually relies on the most basic and nasty of prejudices – that Welsh is gobbledegook because it has unfamiliar sounds to the English ear. It’s deeply regressive and I fully recognise that now. But at the time the audiences, curse them, laughed, and so we kept doing it. I apologise unreservedly to the people of Wales. I was a student.
The comedian(s) that made you want to be a comedian?
Rowan Atkinson is probably the earliest I can remember. It looked like the most fun job imaginable.
The last thing that made you cry with laughter?
That chapter of a Harry Potter book written by a computer. It is sublime. What’s brilliant is the way that it’s almost right but then just veers off into the most extraordinary flights of nonsense. For example: ‘The pig of Hufflepuff pulsed like a large bullfrog. Dumbledore smiled at it, and placed his hand on its head: “You are Hagrid now.”’ Read the whole thing, please. I couldn’t breathe.
(And here you are if curious. )
Pleasance Courtyard: Beneath
1st-26th August 2018