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One of Britain's leading one-liner comics returns to the road with another onslaught of lean, expertly crafted gaggery. As seen on Mock The Week and Live At The Apollo.
He’s been upstaged by an unfortunate silhouette in a tent at a biker rally and bombed in Berlin – but the Midlands will always be where Gary Delaney likes gigging most.
“I tend to write three types of joke,” he said.
“Some are really silly, some require a bit of thought and some are dark and dirty.
“Your arts centre type crowds and southern types tend to really go for the cleverer jokes but recoil a bit at the darker stuff.
“Other crowds lap up the dirty jokes but haven’t got the attention span for the cleverer stuff.
“The best crowds for me are the ones who love all three types of joke – and the crowds I have found that do that generally tend to be in two regions, the Midlands and the North-East. So they are my favourite places to gig.”
The one-liner comic recently appeared on BBC’s Live At The Apollo and is a regular on Mock The Week.
He is topping the bill on Saturday (Feb 17) at Brierley Hill Civic Hall in the latest instalment of “Live At The Civic” alongside Phoenix Nights star Justin Moorhouse. Nearly 550 tickets have already been snapped up, with a few still available.
“I am really looking forward to it,” he said.
“I’ll be trying out some new jokes on a big stage for the first time so it’s exciting to see how they will land.
“I’m really looking forward to gigging with Justin too, who I think is excellent.
“It’s not often you get two such experienced acts on the same bill, and we’ve got very different styles as well, so it should be an excellent show.”
Delaney has been one of the most highly-regarded headliners on the stand-up circuit for over a decade – but one gig sticks in his mind as being particularly memorable.
“I was doing a gig for bikers, for the National Association for Bikers with Disabilities,” he said.
“They tend to look after their own and support them by holding these massive rallies with comedy tents.
“It was absolutely packed and they are always great gigs, the bikers have a great sense of humour and are really up for it.
“I was going down well, then suddenly it just went into overdrive. I was killing, the crowd were absolutely roaring and I was starting to think ‘I’ve cracked this comedy lark’.
“Then I started to realise the roars of laughter weren’t really coming in time with the words I was saying.
“I thought something’s going on here, so I looked round and then it all became clear – there was a giant silhouette behind me of a biker having a massive wee outside the tent. So that was probably the gig where I got the most laughs, and they weren’t even laughing at me!”
All comics have tales of the horror gigs too, and for Delaney that came in Berlin 15 years ago.
He explained: “They used to run a variety club. All the acts were German and they would invite over one English comic to perform, so I was asked to go and do it.
“It was around 2002 and I was a very young and cocky comic at that stage, thinking I knew it all. The German comics came on and all killed, and I thought I’ll do better than them, because we all know Germans aren’t funny.
“Then there was this bizarre variety act, which was basically schoolchildren from a nearby school carrying lanterns on their heads and bobbing up and down to the tunes of the Beatles.
“I went on and died horrifically. I got two laughs, one from one man, and then the second from another towards the end of my set when I joked how badly it was going.
“I wanted to say it was the worst bombing seen in Germany since my grandad last flew over here with the RAF – his Lancaster was shot down and he spent the rest of the war in a camp. But I bit my tongue instead.
“They changed the rules after that gig so that no puns were allowed because the Germans didn’t get them – so not only did I bomb, but I took the chance of work away from a load of one-liner comics!”
Delaney is best known for his frequent appearances on the topical panel show Mock The Week.
“It’s great fun to do but it’s also really stressful,” Delaney said.
“It’s true about it being competitive, you’re on with five other really good comics and they are really good – you don’t get on Mock unless you are a top comic.
“As you’d expect there is a lot of banter and mickey-taking among the comics too, but it’s all good natured.
“The episode I’m probably best known for is the one where I got into a real muddle with my words. I wanted to say Princess Grace of Monaco, but I ended up calling her Princess Monaco of Kent and got ripped for the rest of the show.”
So what’s next for one of the hardest working men in comedy?
He’s going out on tour again in late 2018 with a new show – Gagster’s Paradise – for which tickets are now on sale. But he said he would only be doing a select handful of gigs before then, including the Civic one.
He said: “I’m going to be spending the next few months concentrating almost exclusively on writing.
“I compare it to football and at the moment I’m rebuilding my squad.
“I want the next tour show to all be brand new jokes, but I can’t take an old joke out and replace it with a new one unless it’s better.
“So that will be my focus, on improving the starting eleven as it were, so I can deliver my best show yet.”
Tickets for Live At The Civic are £15 each plus booking fees and are available online at www.bhillcivic.co.uk/whats-on/comedy or by calling the Civic on (01384) 573381.