Saturday, September 26

Interview: Neil Innes

- September 10, 2018


He’s one of two writers credited with contributing to Monty Python’s Flying Circus not in the core team – the other being Douglas Adams – he’s the heart of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, he’s a musician, a singer, a comedian – and a master at evading questions from Victoria Nangle

Hi Neil, how are you today?
A bit like yesterday – a complex bustle of electro-chemicals and molecular indecision.

What was the most recent thing that fascinated you, and how did it go about attracting your attention?
Being asked “how are you today?” It came by email…

I’ve got to admit, I’m thoroughly enamoured with The Rutles, and your CV reads chronologically like a comedy-musical-creative adventurer. If you had one day’s time travel to a day in your own life, when would you most like to immersively re-visit?
Well, I suppose I have reached that age when it’s almost impossible not to have done quite a lot – but which “day”? That’s a tough one. I’ll go for any Tuesday.

And what are you most looking forward to in your own future?
The end of this Q and A.

You have been described as ‘The Seventh Python’, and have a plethora of impressive collaborations – do you have a collaboration process in how you work with others at all?
I find the simplest way to collaborate is to avoid working on your own. I have been immensely fortunate in the past to have worked with some wonderfully talented people who happily, also seemed keen to avoid working on their own.

I would have loved to work with Stan Laurel. Had we been partners I’m sure I would have put on a lot of weight and grown a little moustache

Is there anyone on the current musical and comedic landscape would you like to work with, and what do you think might come out of such a creative hub?
Not particularly. But I would have loved to work with Stan Laurel. Had we been partners I’m sure I would have put on a lot of weight and grown a little moustache.

May I suggest an absurdist musical working with Bill Bailey (although I am aware I may be overstepping a mark here, and if so I really do apologise)?
Of course you may! I love Bill Bailey’s humour and he’s a great musician – even though he has played on stage with the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band – Shepherd’s Bush Empire 2007…

What might we expect when we come and see you at Komedia in October?
“Flawless sincerity, powerful drama, award-winning comedy and a sweet ukelele marmalade flesh out an entirely honest but otherwise unpretentious musical bouquet with a robust hint of vanilla and a lingering aftertaste of red currants. Good with children and animals. If I could describe what it is I do on stage in a sentence or two, or even a cleverly constructed paragraph, then there would be absolutely no need for me to go on stage and do it.” (Precisely as described in Komedia’s brochure).

What was the last question you were asked (not by me) – and what was the answer you received?
If my memory serves me well, it was: “What would you like for breakfast?” I think I must have gone a bit rhetorical: “What would I like for breakfast?” because the answer I gave was: “Yes – what would you like for breakfast!”

Neil Innes (Presented by Dictionary Pudding), Komedia, Tuesday 8 October, 7.30pm, £17.50,

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