Milton Jones Profile

If aliens ever invade and challenge us trembling humans to a pun-off there's only one man who could prevent us from becoming intergalactic whipping boys and that man is Milton Jones.

Milton Jones

He might look ever so slightly like a geography teacher who's just been startled after coming out of a charity shop, but don't let that fool you. Behind the bed-headed façade lurks the mind of a comedy ninja, with Milton Jones' knack for crafting a one-liner as fine as anyone in the business of funnies. It all started for Milton when he won the Perrier Best Newcomer at Edinburgh in 1996 – a simpler time when Britpop was in vogue, wheelie trainers were just a twinkle in their inventor's eye and Milton was sporting rather natty Oxfam-plundered knitwear. It was the first of many awards, too, with Chortle, Time Out and other gong-givers quick to dish out trophies over the years to the gagsmith.

Milton's style of comedy isn't just rib-troublingly funny, it's also a bit of strain too. Having to constantly come up with witty one-liners, it's not just writers' block he has to worry about, with that lightfingered bane of the comic – the gag-pie – always plundering from concise witmongers like him and passing off his best bangers as their own fare. But it's no surprise when the sort of material he comes up with is as brain-fryingly witty as this little beauty – "So I phoned up the spiritual leader of Tibet, he sent me a large goat with a long neck, turns out I phoned dial a lama."

With a pun-reflex as sharp as Milton's it's no surprise he's a staple of Radio 4, the home of all things wordplay related, where the nation's brightest and best gag crafters can seek refuge away from the world of fart jokes and dwell in the comparative sanctuary of the camomile scented airwaves. He's had nine radio series commissioned by Radio 4, making him about on a par with Woman's Hour in terms of being a station staple. He's only one series away from getting to keep an Archer of his choosing…

Unsurprisingly, with a wit as fine as Milton's, he's also become something of a mainstay on the screen, as well as the talky box. Now a regular on Mock The Week the natural habitat of all comics with quick wits and sharp tongues, Milton's become an even bigger cult hero than ever, taking over from Frankie as the oddest team member but trading the Scot's gallows humour for something a lot more wholesome, albeit equally cutting. Like this pearler, for example: "About a month before he died, my grandfather, we covered his back full of lard – after that he went downhill very quickly."

With his recent stand up shows winning him Chortle's prestigious Best Headliner Award and ever-bigger audiences thanks to his success on shows like Mock The Week it seems like he's stopped being comedy's worst kept secret and become one of its leading men. With more telly work on the horizon, including a potential new sitcom for Channel 4, it seems that while Milton might have swapped his chunky woollen wear for brightly coloured shirts he's not changed his habit of being one of the most exciting and inventive wits in the comedy business. And he's well mannered too, is our Milton – as he once said himself - "Militant feminists, I take my hat off to them, they don’t like that." If he can avoid the wrath of Germaine Greer and the like he might even make it through his latest tour in one piece…

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