Phill Jupitus became a performer way back in 1984, when utter boredom caused him to quit the Civil Service and follow a radically new direction. He started performing punk poetry under the moniker Porky The Poet, supporting bands including The Style Council and The Housemartins. Jupitus went on to work extensively for indie label Go! Discs, as well as alongside political singer-songwriter Billy Bragg in the heyday of the late eighties' Red Wedge movement, and even directed videos for Bragg and Kirsty MacColl. And his love of music continues to this day, having recently performed on stage with the likes of The Who, Madness and Ian Dury and also performing Reasons To Be Cheerful with The Blockheads to a packed sell-out crowd at London's Brixton Academy in 2000.
His television career took off in 1996 when he joined Never Mind the Buzzcocks as a regular team captain. Chances are you'll have seen him pop up in many other panel shows on telly, but there is more to Phill than sitting behind a desk - as a stand up comedian, he's brandished his rapier wit on both the national and London comedy circuits for years. In 1996, lightsaber in hand, Phill performed his first tour of the UK with Jedi, Steady, Go - a personal interpretation of the Star Wars story. In 1999, his second UK tour, Quadrophobia, was a huge success. Phill has seen his live material aired on TV and was himself the focus of a half hour stand up special, filmed at London's celebrated Jongleurs nightclub. This show served as an excellent showcase for both his strong material and his razor-sharp, off-the-cuff remarks when dealing with hecklers.
When he's not making us laugh he's indulging his very peculiar fixation with baseball (he's a Boston Red Sox fan, and even has their logo tattooed on his arm). Oh, and if you ever get into a fight with him, just point to the corner and yell "Spider!", as he's severely arachnophobic and will start barking and yelping like a puppy. Although, if you are going to have a fight with him, it will probably be over text message while he is on air, which is how Jupitus infamously lost his rag with BBC 6 music controller Lesley Douglas and subsequently his job (don't mention Sinead O'Connor!). Jupitus does seem quite aware of his own brashness, claiming that he is "not everybody's cup of tea" and that as the arrogant team captain on a TV pop quiz, he was going to annoy someone, but clearly not everyone, as his Buzzcocks' chair is probably moulded round his witty bottom by now.
While he claims to be getting too old for stand up his ability to master a panel show is clearly evident and he'll probably still be there when he's reached the age where flannel pyjamas become his outfit of choice. A comedy panel dream team member who can boast that he's been on every episode of NMTBC and to cap it off, Jupitus regularly appears on QI often impersonating Stephen Fry (which generally involves a lot of hand gesturing, laughing manically and basically being much much cleverer than everyone else). He also doesn't take any funny business from his guest team mates, memorably walking off of set when Dappy from N-Dubs suggested a guest was overweight.
Love him or loath him, this is one team captain that doesn't appear to be going anywhere.