Tim Vine Interview

He doesn't swear in his stand-up shows, and enjoys nothing more than a good pun. Which may not sound promising, but the fact is that Tim Vine is so funny, you'll literally laugh till you die. (Not literally). He spoke to us about singing, hecklers and the greatness of puns.

Tim Vine

How did you get started in comedy, and is it as horrible on the bottom-rung as other stand ups say it is?

Actually I found it enjoyable, and especially loved it whenever I died on stage. It's hilarious to flop badly. I used to record my gigs and play it to my dad, and he'd particularly relish the fact that he could barely hear me above the heckling. The thing is, I didn't take it all that seriously. I started out opening for the likes of Alan Davies and Eddie Izzard, and never really thought I'd end up following them into a full-time comedy career. Not caring is the best defence against hecklers.

You're a musician as well as a comedian. Tell us a bit about that, and feel free to plug shamelessly.

Well, calling me a musician is a bit too grand really. I can't read music or anything, but I have released an album under the name Pretend Popstar. I didn't want to release it as "Tim Vine" in case people bought it expecting it to be funny. It's not funny, well not intentionally anyway, and consists of little pop ditties that go verse, chorus, verse, chorus. Revolutionary, that.

Is it true you were the first person to appear on Channel Five?

It's almost but not quite that exciting. I was the first man to appear on Channel Five. The Spice Girls were the first actual humans to venture forth on Five, and they were followed by myself and presenter Julia Bradbury.

You became substantially more famous thanks to your BBC sitcom Not Going Out. How did that happen?

I'd worked with Lee Mack on a sketch show with the staggeringly ingenious title of The Sketch Show. He went on to devise the sitcom with Catherine Tate, who only ended up being in the pilot. Anyway, he needed someone to play his best mate, so he rang me up and I wasn't up to much, so I said, "Alright." Glamorous world, showbiz.

You have a serious fondness for puns. But what's your favourite pun ever? The king of puns, as it were.

I've always been a fan of "Velcro, what a rip-off". Is that even a pun? What is a pun? "Black Beauty, he's a dark horse" is another top pun. Oh, and "I don't sleep with fish, I'm halibut". My shows are basically an hour and a bit of gags like that.

Not many comedians specialise in punning one-liners these days, so it's a nice little niche you've got there.

Yes, and I've got a nephew as well.

For more about Tim, click timvine.com

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