Interview: Al Murray

You make people laugh. So personally, what tickles your funny bone?
I love all sorts of different stuff: Laurel and Hardy, Tony Hancock, Pete and Dud, Fawlty Towers, Steve Martin, Billy Connolly, Larry David, Alan Partridge…

Is humor serious business?
Yes, but if you have decided you’ll do anything to make the joke work you can find yourself naked on stage or on TV pretty quickly—in this case you can’t take yourself too seriously. 

Standup comedy can really be a hit or miss thing. What sort of challenges did you face during the initial stages?
I’d like to think by now I don’t miss any more. When you first start out you die a few horrible deaths on stage, but you chalk them up to experience and keep trying. It certainly helps you make up your mind about whether you really want to do it. 

What goes on in your head when you’re making the same joke for the umpteenth time and the audience watches you and laughs?
[Chuckles] I think what a great joke that must be, well done me.

What’s tough about going on tour?
It’s a fractured lifestyle, and unlike everyone else you don’t think of weekends as anything special in particular.  But I’ve been doing it so long I find sitting at home without a journey to make or a case to pack pretty odd. 

Best thing about British humor?
I don’t know, because I don’t know my way around enough other kinds of humor to make a sensible comparison!  We like to say we like laughing at ourselves, so I guess it might be that.

Is it stressful from everyday life coming from people who expect you to be a joker?
Not really. Because I play a character it tends not to be an issue.

What sort of preparations do you make before you go on stage? Do you have to “get into character”?
Not any more. I like some quiet time when I’m left alone to read or generally chill out.

From a scale of 1-10, how funny do you think you are?
A stone cold 10.

Your ultimate guilty pleasure?
I’m a huge fan of really good single malt whisky, but it’s too expensive to justify buying often.  And when you have it, it seems too expensive to drink.

Al Murray The Pub Landlord: THE ONLY WAY IS EPIC tour takes place on September 27 at the Kallang Theatre, 8pm. $58-$108 from SISTIC.