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Three Phills for the price of one
PHILL Jupitus could easily have hit the road with a show comprising “greatest hits” gags and no one would have complained.
But he is a far more adventurous and innovative comic than that and has come up with a dazzlingly inventive three-part character comedy show that will surprise and delight his legions of fans.
You’re Probably Wondering Why I’ve Asked You Here… comes to Burnley Mechanics on Saturday, September 21.
It features three very different characters: The Late Vernon Herschel Harley, a legend of stage and screen who died at the age of 114 just last Thursday; the late Kurt Schiffer, the “Korvettenkapitan” of the U42B, part of the German Navy’s feared “Wolf Pack”, which was the scourge of the Atlantic shipping lanes during the Second World War; and the late Phill Jupitus, who died on June 24, 2052 on the eve of his 90th birthday.
Phill said: “I did a stand-up show two years ago that was just me telling jokes. It was great fun, but I didn’t want to do the same thing again.
“So this time I was looking for a way of keeping myself interested in the job, and I wanted to approach it in more experimental way. That’s how the idea of doing character comedy evolved.”
Phill, best known for being a team captain on the BBC’s Never Mind the Buzzcocks, added: “Stand-up is generally risk-averse, but I wanted to build something with an element of risk because that’s when the best stuff happens.
“The joy of stand-up is that when it’s at its best it is like improvisational jazz.
“The great thing about ’You’re Probably Wondering Why I’ve Asked You Here…’ is that it’s a show where I know the characters, but I don’t know what they’ll be asked. Every night is different — it’s entirely dependent on the audience.
“I wanted to find a way of incorporating into the live work the kind of thing that happens on Buzzcocks, where it flies in an entirely free-form manner. That flight of fancy element came from the panel show. Once the audience get what you’re doing, they start to participate, and that’s when the show really takes off.”
Phill has already had plenty of audience participation in the shows so far.
He said: “Recently, when I was playing Vernon, one guy from the audience said: ‘Tell us about your feud with Tony Curtis, which I know you don’t like to talk about’. That was brilliant.
“The more creative the audience, the more they are rewarded with the responses.”
In the final part of the show, Phill plays a deceased version of himself in the future, reflecting on his life.
He said: “It’s a great device because the audience can ask me not just about myself, but also about current affairs. I can spiral off, looking at the future of the world over the next 40 years.”
Phill can’t wait to step back into the live arena.
He said: “I love doing stand-up. It’s that bond you have with an audience. Because you’re on the radio and television, you are aware that you have an amorphous constituency out there. But once you see them in a room, you can make that connection and it develops into a huge thing.
“I’m very thankful that I have a really loyal following. If Lee Evans is at the level of One Direction, I’m Squeeze. I’ve been around the same amount of time, and people regard us with a certain degree of affection. I’m very grateful for that.”
- Phill Jupitus, Burnley Mechanics, Saturday, September 21. Details from 01282 664400
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