Paul Tonkinson, stand up comedian, married, three kids - can be seen during daylight hours walking dogs and doing school pick up in pyjamas (his words not mine) dropped in to chat to us about his fantastic new stand up Fancy Man tour.
Warning video may contain explicit language
Interviewer Nicky Cook March 2013
Q. Can you tell the readers what to expect from your new Fancy Man tour?
A. I have been doing the circuit for a long time now, mainly doing small tours, but this show is a proper 35 date Nationwide tour. The show is two half’s of comedy loads of family life stuff like having kids and being married a long time, loads of jokes, no real politics just stuff of life that people can relate to. I am really enjoying it, it is a lot of fun to do.
Q. I have done a little digging Paul, and understand you are a Man U fan, do you also follow real sport such as rugby?
A. Yes I have been a Man U fan for some time and yes I know it is like asking people to hate me, I have been a United fan since I was about 8 years old, when it wasn’t a massive problem to be a United fan, my son is a Tottenham Hotspur fan, so I have started going to the Spurs games, which is confusing everyone. I played rugby a little bit, but it seemed to involve me getting my head kicked in, I talk a little bit in my show about the difference between rugby league and rugby Union, and the fact that rugby league is about a load of big blokes running in a straight line until they hit another big bloke, and Rugby Union seems to be more about a load of posh guys running around in packs looking for the ball. It’s a tough old game.
Q. You hosted The Big Breakfast for Channel 4, can you tell us how this came about and do you as I do, miss the show?
A. I screen tested for the Big Breakfast, and took over from Johnny Vaughan, to be honest when I joined the show it was slightly on it’s way out, shows like that tend to peek and then slide a bit into dissent, and then I half throttled it to death and got moved on. I do miss it as it was a fantastic show, Chris Evans, Gabby, Denise and Johnny, it was just a shame that when I took over they started to change the format and make it a bit dull, but it was a great experience live telly of a morning is fantastic, and I really think there is a gap in the schedule, but maybe these types of show are to expensive to run, but it is a shame as now all we have is cartoons and straight news. Although, I do not miss being picked up at 3.30 every morning, it’s not normal living like a 7 year old being sent to bed at 8pm in the evening, and it was like being permanently jet lagged, I would have my adrenalin peek at about 8am but by 10:30am I would be a dribbling wreck.
Q. You are currently developing a sitcom with Baby Cow productions, can you give the Chuckle exclusive info about this?
A. We have made a pilot it is based on two guys who work as night security guards and it is also about male insecurity, It’s called insecurity, ‘do you see what I did there’ I really enjoyed doing it, I wrote it, edited it, gave it to baby cow and they said here is some money go and make a full pilot, we made the full pilot and now they are trying to sell it to various channels, so fingers crossed on that one, hopefully we will hear something soon.
Q. You have toured all over the world including the Edinburgh fringe, Montreal and New Zealand, where was the best place to gig and where is the worst?
A. I really like to gig in the Midlands, Wales and Birmingham they have a bit of a different flavour to them, slightly more sort of surreal they are really up for a laugh, you tend to get slightly more stranger people at these gig’s, I did a gig in Cardiff and there were a group in from Bargoed and they were quite lively.
The worst undeniably, was a gig I did for an oil company in Norway, I mean Norway (alarm bells) oil company (alarm bells) it was multi National so not many had English as a first language, those three elements and then me, was not a good mix, one table in the front did not even turn around and look at me, they just sat there chatting to each other through the whole gig, but I did my time and I got paid, I won’t be going back to Norway in a hurry.
Q. Two of your comic hero’s are Eddie Izzard and Steve Martin, if you had the chance to do a show with these guy’s which show would you pick and why?
A. I think Porridge would be quite good fun, they would be good to share a cell with, I think Eddie would have some good stories, of cause every now and again he could dress up as a woman, which could be entertaining when your on the inside, and I can imaging Steve putting on some fairly decent puppet shows, shadow puppetry and the like.
Q. You have kindly played to our troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan, were you nervous about heading into a potentially dangerous situation?
A. I was a little nervous I mean they are always going to look after you, and they try and keep you away from dangerous scenarios, but I was in Iraq this one time and there were constant mortar attacks, they rarely land inside the walls of the base, but a mortar alarm would go off and everyone would have to hit the floor within two seconds, you had to drop where you were, even if that meant lying in a puddle, while on stage that night there was another alarm, so I’m telling jokes mortar alarm sounds, slam we all hit the floor 10 minute delay, and then you just stand up and resume the gig, so that’s probably tougher than the gig in Norway if I am honest. But I think doing gigs for the troops is vital and necessary, you know for the moral and to remind them of home. It is a very enjoyable but intense experience.
Q. You did the Christmas 2011 celeb Come Dine, with Sean Hughes, Duncan Norvelle and Gina Yashere, what did you make of Sean serving you the same thing for all three courses?
A. It was a great trick by Sean to serve up the same thing for three courses, but it was more the slow way in which you realised he was serving the same thing. Since the show I have got to know Sean really well and as we live quite near each other, we meet once a week for coffee, so it was actually the start of a beautiful friendship. I am a massive fan of the show, it propelled me into the kitchen and cooking, so the whole family have benefited from me doing the show. I remembered Duncan from when I was a kid, but to actually meet him was wonderful and what a genuinely nice guy.
Q. What plans do you have for 2013, and will you be attending the Edinburgh fringe this year?
A. My plan is to enjoy my life as much as possible, which is why I won’t be attending the Fringe this year, it does not fit in with my life at the moment because I have three kids of a certain age, and if you go the Edinburgh Fringe you have to go for a month, and it ruins any chance of having a summer holiday, so we tend to just go on holiday. I am doing the tour, I have plans to do a lot of gigs around the world later in the year, then I will be starting work on my new tour, and hopefully the sitcom will come off. I do a lot of running and am doing a lot of marathons for charities this year. Look out for me in a venue near you.
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