Laughter Lines: Gary Delaney Talks Gagsta's Paradise
This autumn, Gary Delaney is back on the road with his latest stand-up show, Gagster’s Paradise.
Widely regarded as being the most quotable one-liner comics in the country, Gary is a regular guest on BBC Two's Mock The Week. In 2016, Sony and Chortle Award winner, Gary returned to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with his show, There’s Something About Gary, which has toured extensively around the UK with over 100 dates.
Having played Cardiff in October, Gagster’s Paradise is set to return to Wales on November 24 with a performance at Pontardawe Arts Centre on November 24 and Merthyr Tydfil’s Redhouse in early 2019.
Gary recently took time out to tell Andy Howells about Gagsta’s Paradise.
What led you to a career in comedy?
I was always keen to do stand-up but never had the confidence. I didn't know at that time that funny people are very rarely loud and confident. I used to organise conferences for a living and go to a lot of comedy on my own to watch.
An old college buddy of mine Martin Lewis, (the Money Saving Expert guy off the telly), dabbled in stand up mid 90's. I helped him write jokes. I wrote him one about nurses (too rude to print here) and said, 'Do this, it's great'. He did. It didn't work. I said, 'You're doing it wrong”, he said 'Do it yourself then!'. Then one night in the pub he bet me twenty quid that I wouldn't have the balls to do a gig myself. So, I did. I never got the money though as we'd agreed a deadline of 6 weeks, and it took me seven weeks to get a gig. Money Saving even then you see! The gig went well, and my life changed.
Who are your comedy heroes ?
I like old school gag men like Ken Dodd, Max Miller, Mick Miller, penny Youngman, Frank Carson and Jimmy Cricket and I also like more modern joke writers like Anthony Jeselnik, Emo Philips, Mitch Hedberg and Steven Wright.
You write comedy as well as perform it. Does writing comedy come naturally to you?
Being a smart Alec comes naturally, the rest is just finding a way to channel that and make it productive.
There's an old question. What's the difference between someone who's funny down the pub with their mates and someone who's funny on a stage? The answer is 'ten years learning your craft'.
Who or what inspires your comedy?
I listen to people talking, and how they use language. Most one-liners are reverse engineered and start with something you hear. I hear an everyday phrase and think “I could muck about with that'. I'll give you an example.
We've just got a little dog. It was my turn to walk him. As I was leaving the house the wife reminded me 'Don't forget poobags?'. Talking casually gives you more leeway for jokes. If you are being picky, she should have said 'Don't forget the poobags'. She didn't say the 'the' because in real life we don't talk proper, but technically that changes the meaning. The poobags is a noun. Poobags is a proper noun, with a capital P. So now it sounds like someone's name. Or nickname. Hence it became this joke.
I went round Granddad's to walk his dog. As I was leaving, he said 'Don't forget poobags!', I was like 'Alright, GRAN!! You can come as well'.
Who or what makes you laugh?
Well written comedy with good jokes in at. At the moment, I'm enjoying Brooklyn nine-nine.
Whats your funniest experience at a gig?
I was doing a summer afternoon gig in a big tent for a load of hairy bikers. It was going really well. Then about 20 minutes in it went ballistic. I was getting the biggest laughs and cheers ever; the crowd were on their feet. I thought I was a genius and had finally discovered the secret of comedy. I hadn’t….
...the sunlight was bright on the tent wall behind me. Unknown to me a drunken biker had slipped out of the gig and, seeing the queue for the porataloo, had craftily popped round the back of the tent to relieve himself. He didn’t realise that with the sun behind him he was making the perfect shadow puppet of a weeing man on the canvas right behind me. If you’ve ever seen the Mannekin Pis in Brussels it was like that, but 6'2 with a beard and leather jacket. Still well done to him, he nailed that gig, in fact I think he’s going to be on the next series of Britain’s Got Talent.
What can people expect from Gagsta’s Paradise?
Loads of jokes. No stories, no sad bits, no themes, it's not about anything and you definitely won't learn anything, but if you want a show with 200+ silly and sometimes very rude jokes in it, then this is for you.
Catch Gary at Pontardawe Arts Centre on November 24, 2018 and Merthyr Tydfil’s Redhouse on January 25, 2019 For further details on Gary visit www.garydelaney.com