I don’t have a show­biz life... I’ve not been in the tabloids for ages

FRANK SKIN­NER TELLS MAR­ION McMULLEN HIS PARTY AN­I­MAL DAYS ARE BE­HIND HIM AS HE PRE­PARES FOR HIS NEW COM­EDY TOUR

Llanelli Star - - SPOTLIGHT -

Show­biz is your first stand-up tour in four years. Where did the name come from?

WHEN I started putting sto­ries to­gether I re­alised quite a few of them in­volved ad­ven­tures I have had in show­busi­ness sit­u­a­tions ... but also I don’t think of my­self as show­biz at all.

I like on the tour poster there is a pic­ture of me look­ing like a bat­tlescarred vet­eran in black and white and then in bright pink it says Show­biz.

I don’t re­ally have the show­busi­ness life. I have not been in the tabloid pages for ages.

(Laughs) You could fit me and all my celebrity friends into a phone booth quite com­fort­ably.

Did you used to en­joy the show­busi­ness life­style?

WHEN it first started I was mad for it all – the open­ings, the film pre­mieres – every­thing. A magazine at the time called me the Party An­i­mal of the Year. Now I’m the Do­mes­ti­cated An­i­mal of the Year.

I was re­ally happy about it all back then. I came from a back­ground that the very idea of free events and par­ties with pineap­ple cubes on sticks was great. I filled my boots for a few years.

Just to see films for free was amaz­ing and then there was the red car­pet as well.

I went full throt­tle for about 15 years.

Has your son Buzz in­herited the com­edy gene?

I’M CON­VINCED he’s go­ing to be a stand-up co­me­dian. I’m not push­ing him, he’s only seven, but he has got the tim­ing and the word­play.

I can imag­ine seeing him per­form­ing in the fu­ture ... with me play­ing sup­port act on a tour.

(Laughs) That’s quite pos­si­ble.

Does he un­der­stand what you do for a liv­ing?

LAST sum­mer the Three Lions foot­ball song went back to num­ber one and they were play­ing it at his school as­sem­bly and show­ing the video.

The kids even did an im­prov dance piece based on the song and he was singing it aloud on pub­lic trans­port while sit­ting right next to me. (Mock groan) It looked like I had schooled him in it.

And 30 sec­onds into talk­ing to any­one he would be ‘You know my Dad? He wrote Three Lions’.

Is he also a West Brom fan?

(SIGHS) He doesn’t sup­port the same team I sup­port. In­doc­tri­na­tion doesn’t al­ways work. I bought him the kit and took him to a few matches, but he sup­ports Spurs.

It’s our lo­cal big team in Lon­don so I can sort of un­der­stand him want­ing to sup­port the lo­cal team.

Are you look­ing for­ward to head­ing back to the Ed­in­burgh Fringe Fes­ti­val next month?

MAN­AGE­MENT were talk­ing about Lon­don and then the tour, but I re­ally liked the idea of do­ing Ed­in­burgh. You live in a com­edy vil­lage for a few weeks and when you go to get your gro­ceries from the lo­cal Lidl you meet co­me­di­ans you’ve not seen since the last time you were in

Ed­in­burgh.

What was your first ex­pe­ri­ence of Ed­in­burgh?

IT WASN’T do­ing com­edy. I was in a play there in the 80s play­ing a tough Lon­don cop in­ter­ro­gat­ing an IRA sus­pect.

I went to see the com­edy shows and first saw David Bad­diel there in a dou­ble act. I didn’t even know that kind of indie, al­ter­na­tive com­edy ex­isted. There was only Can­non and Ball on the telly then. I was go­ing around think­ing ‘this is for me. This is what I want to do’.

I went back next time with an hour-long show, if you can be­lieve it, which was madness.

I didn’t know any­thing.

Was win­ning the Per­rier Com­edy Award in 1991 a turn­ing point?

IF YOU won the Per­rier you went to the party af­ter and broad­cast­ers would be com­ing of­fer­ing you a sit­com so it was a big deal.

There were prob­a­bly 35 co­me­di­ans who were mak­ing a liv­ing out of it when I started ... it is prob­a­bly 600 now. I timed it well.

Some co­me­di­ans, I won’t name them, hate all other co­me­di­ans, but I’m quite a com­edy fan. The more the mer­rier. I sup­pose some see me as an el­der states­man.

A few co­me­di­ans tell me ‘I read your bi­og­ra­phy and that made me want to do com­edy’.

You’re a TV reg­u­lar, have writ­ten best-sell­ers and played ukulele with the George Formby So­ci­ety for the Queen’s 92nd birth­day. Where do you most feel at home?

STAND-UP is still my core thing. That’s what I started do­ing and it seems a bit un­grate­ful to stop.

When it’s re­ally fly­ing I feel I can take my feet off the ground with­out falling down and just hover. That’s a pretty amaz­ing feel­ing.

When it goes badly I feel it in ev­ery atom of my be­ing. I’ve also been do­ing a show on Ab­so­lute Ra­dio for 10 years and that’s an­other place that I feel is like the most me.

How do you re­lax af­ter a show?

I RE­ALLY can’t wait to get back to the ho­tel. It nags at me that I’m in a nice ho­tel and out of it for three hours in the evening and I’m not getting max­i­mum use of it.

I like to get back and make full use of the fa­cil­i­ties. I miss the fam­ily when I’m away but it’s quite nice be­ing alone in a nice ho­tel room.

I used to bring back com­pany when I first started, but not any­more.

Are you dis­ci­plined when it comes to writ­ing?

I’M DO­ING a run in Lon­don at the mo­ment so I get up, take my son to school, come back and write a few jokes.

If I have not writ­ten any­thing for a cou­ple of weeks it feels like you’ve for­got­ten how to write.

It feels like the re­ally hard bit at the end of tube of tooth­paste that’s im­pos­si­ble to get out.

I re­mem­ber David Bad­diel bought a FIFA World Cup video game for his brother once and said we had to test it first.

We played for 12 hours straight. I told him ‘ You’ve got to throw this out of the house oth­er­wise we’ll never do any work ever again’.

What is your favourite joke?

(LAUGHS) It has to be a Ken Dodd joke. I love them.

My favourite is ‘What a great day for shov­ing a cu­cum­ber through the vicar’s let­ter box and shout­ing ‘the Mar­tians have landed”.

Frank Skin­ner can be seen at Lon­don’s Leicester Square The­atre un­til July 27 and is at Ed­in­burgh from July 31 un­til Au­gust 18. The Show­biz tour runs from Septem­ber 12 to De­cem­ber 11. Go to frankskin­ner­live.com for ticket in­for­ma­tion.

Frank Skin­ner on stage, above, and af­ter do­ing Ed­in­burgh in 1990, left

David Bad­diel and Frank Skin­ner pic­tured in 1994

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