COMEDIAN Gary Delaney studied economics at the London School of Economics before turning to comedy.
The Solihull native is now an award-winning stand up and a regular on Mock The Week.
Delaney, who married his wife, fellow comedian Sarah Millican, in 2013, tours the UK and Ireland until March with his new show Gagster’s Paradise.
He plays Dublin’s Sugar Club on January 13 and Belfast’s Out to Lunch Fest on January 14 before heading back to Britain for gigs in Derby, Aldershot, Aberdeen, Bristol and more.
This week he took time out from his busy schedule chat to The Irish Post...
What are you up to right now?
I’m on a train from London to Liverpool. I’ve just done an Xmas party corporate with Justin Moorhouse and Al Murray at the Tower of London for 500 pissed up construction workers. I was allowed to be rude so I was very rude indeed and it went well. I’m now on my way to this evening’s show at the Philharmonic in Liverpool. I’m using this this time to a) answers your questions and b) mentally change gear so I don’t rush on stage there and too aggressive and c) drink and eat as much free stuff as possible as I’m in first class ‘cos someone else is paying.
Who are your heroes?
My favourites are probably Spiderman, Wonder Woman and those little Mars Bars. My comedy hero is Emo Phlips. A master of joke writing. First heard his stuff on the radio while working at a garage in Birmingham in the 80s. I became fascinated with jokes and wanted to learn how they worked.
What's been the best decade of your life so far and why?
40s definitely. Spent my 20s and 30s too anxious, insecure and bothered what other people thought of me. With age comes confidence and not caring what other people. If I could have the brain of a 46-year-old with the body of a 20-year-old that would be the idea.
What record sends a shiver down your spine?
Children singing is really atmospheric and creepy. Every horror movie since Nightmare on Elm Street has used it. Why? I don’t remember school assemblies being overly frightening. I always want to throw holy water on carollers.
What is your favourite place in Ireland?
Galway is absolutely beautiful but I haven’t got a show to sell there so I should probably say Dublin and Belfast. When I was 19 three of us lads went on a driving holiday round Ireland. I loved the place and the people and the Guinness. One time we were in the pub in (I think) Kinsale and a Shanakee walked in and started telling tales. He was an incredible performer and as I watched him tell his stories I thought ‘This is a bit like stand up’. He was so skilled it was amazing to watch.
What makes you angry?
Comics are supposed to get angry about society and issues of the day but I’m just an irritating pedant. What makes me tetchy is ambiguous signage, bad grammar, and journalists and politicians not understanding differential rates of change and the difference between stock and flow. I try to direct it into comedy rather than just getting on people’s nerves though. My wife recently said to me ‘If you carry on being so pedantic eventually you’ll find you’ve got less and less friends’. I said ‘No, I won’t. I’ll find I’ve got fewer and fewer friends
What book influenced you most?
Grattan catalogue, 1986, lingerie section.
What was the worst moment of your life?
It doesn’t matter, I’m a comedian. Real life is full of real horrors. Loads of awful stuff happens. We get ill, we lose jobs, we lose relationships, we lose loved ones. The job of a comic is to let you forget your worries for a couple of hours and just laugh. It can’t make the crap go away but for me comedy is a little bit of respite from the grit in life. It’s all just jokes. No politics, no sad bits, no lecturing people. Just make them laugh for a bit.
Which local star in any field should the world outside Ireland know about?
Caimh McDonnell. My old flatmate of many years, support act of many years and a finer friend you couldn’t want. His last show was supporting me in Glasgow. He gave up comedy to concentrate on writing his funny crime thrillers when that took off. They’re brilliant and selling so well that now I’ll never get him back out on the road with me. Check out The Dublin Trilogy and Bunny McGarry if you haven’t already.
If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?
I’d have stopped drinking a lot earlier, I’d have started working hard a lot earlier. Probably nothing though really. All our mistakes and regrets make us who we are.
Though I’d also like to be taller, athletic and great in bed. So let’s say that.
What is the best lesson life has taught you?
Hard work is more important than talent.
What is your favourite film and why?
Airplane! by Abrahams, Zucker, Zucker. Saw it in the cinema with my parents. I was too young to understand the jokes, but I remember Dad loved it and Mom hated it. I love their editing discipline. A joke that didn’t get a laugh at previews is automatically cut out. The golden rule.
What do you believe in?
In life: I believe that great majority people of all backgrounds are fundamentally decent, kind and generous and want the best for their fellow man. In work: I believe in editing.
What trait do others criticise you for?
My wife says my two main problems are I only hear what I want to hear and I’m too sexy.
Where do you live and what are the best and worst things about that place?
In the countryside, it’s beautiful and I love the quiet, the wildlife and changing of the seasons. The worst thing is not being able to get broadband and mobile phones to work when you want them too.
On what occasion is it OK to lie?
When filling in Q and As and talking to the in-laws. Or for the first ten years of my career when anyone asked how it was going.
What do you consider the greatest work of art?
The Elephant Celebes by Max Ernst.
What is your ultimate guilty pleasure?
Stealing a whole tub of Ben and Jerry’s from the freezer at 2am when the wife’s away and eating it while watching zombie films with our little dog.
Who is/was the love of your life?
My wife, and I’d say that even if I wouldn’t be wrong for saying anything else, and our little girl cat Lieutenant Ripley. All of our pets are named after action heroes with ranks.
For tour dates and tickets click here