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INTERVIEW: All rise for the King of the one-liners



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Gary Delaney.
Gary Delaney.

GARY Delaney comes to Stratford ArtsHouse on Saturday, 12th March, with his new tour show, There’s Something About Gary.

He is widely regarded as being one of the most quotable one-liner comics in the country, and is a regular on BBC 2’s Mock The Week and Radio 5 Live, and his talents have led him to write for 8 Out Of 10 Cats, and A League Of Their Own.

He’s also married to fellow comic Sarah Millican. Herald arts caught up with him ahead of the show.

You grew up in Solihull I read, did you ever stray to Stratford? I lived around Dorridge before going to London. My memories of Stratford are going on a couple of school trips, where they tried to make us interested in Shakespeare. I seem to remember going there as a teenager, messing about on boats trying to impress girls, and not getting very far.

First comedy experience? I first dabbled in 1997 and did a number of gigs in London. They went OK, but I had a bad gig and lost my nerve for about three years — a terrible mistake in career terms! I started again when I was 27.

What did you do in the gap years? I organised events at the London School of Economics. I met loads of bigwigs: Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela, as you might expect he’s a lovely chap, Kofi Annan and various British Prime Ministers.

What can we expect from your Something About Gary show? Loads of jokes basically! I don’t want to tell stories about my life, any of that. I like to write jokes, and people seem to like them, so I try and pack as many into an hour-and-a-half as possible. There’ll be a hell of a lot of one-liners — some of them a little bit cheeky. You are the King of one-liners at the moment… I’d like to say that! It’s a disputed title, there’s about seven of us vying for it, it’s like Game of Thrones… there’s going to be a war.

As a prolific gag merchant, do you think in one-liners? Yes, it’s a hazard. What happens with one-liners is that you tend to change words and go for the other meaning. So I find now that my brain always goes for the other meaning first. Sometimes it’s hard to understand the literal meaning of what someone is saying because I’m processing the joke from what they are saying. Sometimes I very rudely just get out my iPad or iPhone and write it down.

Who is the greatest-ever gag merchant? A tall order to say the best. I was first exposed to Emo Philips, the American comic who was on Channel 4 in the 1980s, since then I’ve discovered loads. The old Jewish-American comic Henry Youngman — the guy who said: ‘Take my wife, please’ — was a favourite. I loved all the old comics like Ken Dodd and Jimmy Cricket. I’ve got recordings of Max Miller from the 1930s doing jokes about Hitler, I love that kind of heritage, of blokes just standing up and doing a few gags. Woody Allen was also an incredible joke writer.

When did you first met your wife, comic Sarah Millican, and did you make her laugh? We met when we were on the same comedy bill about ten years ago and we both made each other laugh, and we still make each other laugh a lot. We have very different styles of comedy on stage, but the same sense of humour at home.

Gary Delaney is on at Stratford ArtsHouse tomorrow, Saturday, 12th March, at 8pm. Book 2 for 1 tickets (£7.50 each) via the Stratford ArtsHouse on 01789 207100.



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