Monday, October 26

Interview: Julian Clary

- March 21, 2016

Talks about his UK Tour ‘The Joy of Mincing’

Julian Clary, national trinket, author, TV and radio star is appearing at The Brighton Dome Concert Hall, April 23rd. The Joy of Mincing is Julian Clary’s celebration of 30 years as a camp comedian.
There is so much to tell you; the ups and downs of his sordid love life, the true and heart stopping account of how he saved Dame Joan Collins’ life, and don’t start him on the perils of his DIY electrical home enema kit. 
On stage Julian will proudly wear his well-deserved M.B.E. (Mincer of the British Empire). It was the last thing he expected to receive when he knelt down in front of Prince Charles in the scullery at Buckingham Palace! And because Julian gives and gives (until it hurts) he will be handing out honours to a lucky few in the audience too. This is Julian at his filthy best. Live and unplugged. Julian-Clary-016-Credit-Eddie-Botsio-copy
Remaining one of the country’s best loved entertainers, Julian’s popularity has endured across a three decade career in show business. With a variety of credits to his name Julian is not only a comedian but presenter, author and established pantomime star too. His colourful career has seen him win Celebrity Big Brother in 2012, become a Sunday Times best-selling novelist, complete countless smash-hit tours and more recently he added children’s author to his long list of credentials, publishing the delightfully amusing children’s book, The Bolds. Julian also fronted a brand new three-part natural history series for ITV, entitled Nature Nuts, which aired in August.
Come and witness a masterclass in camp comedy as Julian brings The Joy of Mincing across the UK in 2016.

Why have you named your tour, The Joy of Mincing?
I always like to get ‘mincing’ into the title. We’ve had Lord of the Mince; Natural Born Mincer; and Mincing Machine was my first tour in 1989. I don’t know why; it sets the tone, doesn’t it?
I suppose mincing, apart from being a means of walking around, is a way of life. The Joy of Mincing is a declaration of the joy of life despite disapproval, perhaps.

Do you still feel people disapprove?
Well, exactly. I think there probably is some [disapproval]. And mincing, which is an old fashioned word, was probably in its day borne out of standing up in the face of that disapproval.

Is the show as rude as ever – you haven’t toned things down?
No, I don’t think so. It’s the one time you can let rip a bit, on stage.I don’t want to be filthy for the sake of it, but I think it’s a comic device. You just exaggerate who you really are on stage. I’m quite fond of moments of vulgarity.

You’ve been performing for 30 years. How has comedy changed during that time?

Yes, it’s my 30th anniversary next year. It’s changed beyond all recognition. It used to be an eclectic selection of people in small rooms above pubs, in the 1980s.
Our comedy was a reaction against the right-wing men in bow-ties who were being offered as light entertainment in those days.

And has your comedy changed?
Yes, a bit. I think you evolve, whether you want to or not.
There was a certain amount of anger and delight in confronting people when I started, which has more or less gone now.
Making people laugh is my main aim in life these days. I don’t think there’s so much to be angry about now.

Do you have fans who have been following your career for that full 30 years?
There are, and they bring their children along now. I’m very fond of them, you know. You don’t know their names necessarily, but it’s always a joy to see a familiar face. There’s a delightful family from Tunbridge Wells I’ve known since the boy was 13 and now he’s a grown-up. It’s charming. We talk about the old days at the Hackney Empire, or our aches and pains. There’s a connection there, even though we don’t really know each other, because on one level we do.

What sort of stories will you be telling on this tour?
Well, there’s a rather long story about how I once saved Joan Collins’ life in a swimming pool in St Tropez. It’s a true story, which I won’t give away now, but it’s a long, meandering tale that fills the first half.
Then the second half is about MBEs. I’ve noticed a lot of my friends in the business are getting these awards. They’re handing them out like Smarties. I think, ‘Ooh, I’d like one of those’, but it’s never happened so I’m obviously not favoured by the Establishment. I can only blame myself…
So during the show, I give myself one and call it ‘Mincer of the British Empire’. I’m making lots of these MBEs and handing them out to people in the audience. Just the lucky few, you understand: it’s not included in the ticket price.
I’m always looking for an excuse to talk to the audience. That’s what keeps me going. You can get bored if you’re just reeling off the same old nonsense. I’m always very interested in the audience and their stories. People are very funny; they never fail to amuse.

I assume that if you were offered an MBE in real life, you would accept?
I’d bite their hands off! I think I’ve been too rude about the Royal Family over the years, unfortunately. I’m probably on some kind of black list somewhere.

Is there anywhere you’re particularly looking forward to visiting on your tour?
I love Glasgow. My rule used to be that the further north you go, the more extrovert people are. But I’ve changed my mind about that rule because I’ve had lovely gigs down south as well as in grim northern towns. I’m an any time, any place kinda gal, I guess.

Do you find it difficult being on tour? Other comedians complain that it’s lonely and that you eat badly because you’re constantly on the road.
Well, nobody’s making you do it. And there’s a Waitrose in every town these days. It’s probably just the dreary, married heterosexual types that complain. This is what I wanted to do 30 years ago, and I’m still doing it – standing on stage, talking about myself and getting applause for it. What’s not to like? I suppose it’s a bit weird coming off stage and being on your own, but it doesn’t bother me.

What was your worst ever gig?
It was in Chatham, in Kent. I don’t know what was wrong with them, but nobody laughed for two hours. I was seething. I refused to ever go back. If you search through all of my novels, I’m rude about Chatham in all of them. It clearly scarred me for life, and I’m still seeking revenge.

Your personal life seems to have changed as much as your career – you’ve turned your back on partying and now live an idyllic rural lifestyle in a village in Kent, is that right?

Yes. Well that’s what I’m telling you anyway. I think there’s nothing drearier than a 56 year old homosexual hanging around Soho in lycra. Mercifully, one grows out of that. Thank goodness.

Concert Hall, Brighton Dome, 23rd April, www.brightondome.org
Julian is also playing at the Congress Theatre in Eastbourne on 18th May, more information at www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk


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