OK, what got you got into comedy?
I was actually fooled into comedy at uni; there was a talent competition at a fresher’s week event. My mates who I shared the house with decided to enter me into it without telling me (there was a keg of beer for the first prize).
So when did you know that it was something that you really wanted to do?
I realised pretty much soon after that it was something I wanted to do because for the first week working around Queens University in Belfast, I was pretty much ignored by the opposite sex.
After winning the talent competition in front of five hundred people, suddenly girls were starting to come up and smile when you are working down the corridors and it’s all “hey you are that guy!". You really just do the calculation, and you think "hmmm…must tell more jokes".
Presence of Beer: good for your social standing
So what’s the experience of being a standup like?
Well there’s no logic to stand-up. In most stand-up there's an element of insanity there. A lot of us cover it up better than others, but think about the premise, which is: I’m gonna stand in front of 500 or a thousand people with a quarter of an inch of microphone cable between me and you. I’m gonna tell you what I think in my head is funny and you are gonna either agree with me and I’ll feel like god, or you will disagree with me and I will walk off to the sound of my own tears and footsteps.
That as a concept is probably one of the stupidest things that anybody could want to do, but whenever you get up there and for the times that that goes right, and the applause that you get, then that’s kinda what brings you back, every time. So it's a very weird premise.
Remember your worst ‘death’ onstage?
Yeah. I remember one of the first gigs I did in Ireland, and there weren't many places to play. I had written my stuff, and I had come out of university and I was in the middle of the countryside, in this bar that I had been booked into to do some standup.
So an old guy came up on the stage with a walking stick and he asked for the microphone. I assumed that he wanted maybe a car moved outside or a mention. Anyhow, he got the microphone and climbed onstage and it turned out that he was quite a moralistic religious man. He just fell into a rant on how I was going to hell and how there was absolutely no need for this sort of stuff. It was the only time that I’ve actually shot myself in the foot onstage ‘cos I actually gave him the mic!
Generally when you are being heckled, you keep the mic. [Laughs] There was nowhere to go. I couldn't get the gig back, so I had effectively invited someone up onstage to fuck up my gig…
How did you deal with it then?
I just left! I just said, “Alright, I don't think we can follow that, goodnight!”
Absence of beer: not so good for social standing
Brutal! So where do you draw your inspiration from for your material?
My inspiration is just the things that people do. Sometimes you don't have to write it; sometimes you just have to repeat it.
When it comes to what politicians do, or what some celebrities do, and their behaviour and the quotes and the things that they say. The things that they want you to believe, sometimes you just have to go, “can you believe this?”
So there's enough out there in the world that you can happily chip away on that block of stupidity and mine comedy from that for a very long time.
Of all the current funnymen, do you have a favourite?
Louis CK. He's pound for pound at the top of his game.
Ok. So would you say that you feel there are any benefits to being a comedian?
It’s a great profession for a lazy man
Truly a face for TV
Alright, onto non-comedy things. What do you do when you are not working on material?
I’m now getting to an age where I’m actually starting to get quite shocked at how house-proud and lawn proud I am getting. That it is now getting to the point you know, where again, you've time on your hands, why not put a stripe on my lawn?
So... what am I doing hobby wise? Well I’ve gone through the mid-life crisis, that’s gone you know. I’ve bought the DeLorean, and I’ve sold the DeLorean, I once bought - this generally comes down to drinking by the way - a racehorse off a priest once. I also bought a speedboat in a pub toilet.
Still, I think I’m 40 years of age now, so I think that there are a whole load of new mistakes to be made! So, watch this space! [Laughs]
We’re looking forward to it! OK - so if you could have any other career, what would you like to be doing?
Well I’ve played in the last three Soccer Aid tournaments at Wembley and Old Trafford where I was a goalkeeper. I was a goalkeeper whenever I was younger, and I’d get football medals and all of those things. To actually play at Old Trafford and save a penalty, then win on penalties and do all of those things... That’s the type of stuff that in your head you say "oh I’d love to do that!" But really I’d probably be a furniture designer or an architect.
Make ready for jokes about David Seaman's name