Last year Alan Carr was the winner of the BBC New Comedy Awards beating top Manchester comic Justin Moorhouse. Following that tradition of camp comedy from Carry On to Julian Clary, over the past 12 months Alan has written for the likes of Lilly Savage and in 2002 has already had series commissioned for Radio 4 and BBC Choice. If there's one name to look out for in comedy its certainly Alan Carr!!!
Q: Looking back to last year and the BBC Comedy Awards, It must have been a bit of a mad experience?
A: I've always wanted to go to the Edinburgh Festival and to go up there and win that one...and I cam third in the Channel 4 one as well. We went to the party and there was Steve Coogan and Graham Norton. Its all free drinks as well and the trouble is you've got all these awards to walk round with as well!!!
Q: Before all these awards and competitions was it the typical route of dingy comedy venues?
A: Yeah, yer know working class clubs and pubs. We did a valentines night in a place that looked like a Harvester....I was stood up there talking next to a salad bar!!! Its all experience and what I say to people is it can never be as daunting as your first one.
Q: Have you always wanted to get into comedy then?
A: No, not really. I did a drama degree and as anyone who's done a drama degree knows you're the most wanted out there. I was working in Barclay Card call centre and it was just awful. I'm a creative person, love to do a bit of acting and stuff that just wasn't coming in. I wanted to be this serious actor, but no-one would believe....and I couldn't afford to leave it and say well I'm going to be an actor.
Doing Comedy just gave me something to do in the evening and I could still express myself. I got a really good agent now, Big Eye, who looks after Johnny Vegas so it can't be all bad.
Q: You have to laugh when you work at a Call centre though. What was the maddest experience you had there?
A: They're awful. The human rights are just straight out the window. I was told can you drink in your own time. Because they bought the Premiership and it cost a load of money they've had to get their advertising through different ways....certain people had to flog wine on the phone!!!! How do you fit that into a conversation if someone want their balance - You owe us £2000 - why don't you drown your sorrows with a bottle of wine from Barclay Card!!!
I just had to leave, but it was so good because you know I wrote for the Lilly Savage show and it was so funny just handing my notice...they asked me who my new employer was and it was like Lilly Savage!!!! I can use the toilet as often as I want and have water!!!
Q: You were talking about BBC Choice before. What's the future for Alan Carr?
A: Hopefully with this idea, if they like it, it will go ahead. The Radio 4 programme is actually commissioned. And I'm going to get an hour long show Edinburgh Festival later this year. I think if you start writing you get a good reputation there's a longevity about it....I don't want people to think i'm the next Duncan Norvelle!!!
Alan Carr's Ice Cream Sundae
The Manchester Comedy Store - 26.5.02
Alan Carr may not be a household name just yet, but it can only be a matter of time before he takes over the world of comedy. Since winning the BBC New Comedy Award last year he has gone on to write scripts for Lilly Savage and has Radio 4 and BBC Choice projects in production. Alan Carr's Ice Cream Sundae has been running on the last Sunday of each month since March and in that time it has become a must see for any regulars on the comedy circuit.
Did I also mention that Alan is as camp as a row of tents? So if you're expecting your usual jokes about the wife and the mother-in-law think again. Think of the best Carry On Films, think Julian Clary without the bits of blue for the Dads, think Dale Winton without the perma-tan and you're halfway there. As some of you may know, Alan used to work in a call centre, and much of his material is based around working in what have been dubbed the 21st century's answer to slave labour. For anyone who has actually worked in one you have to laugh about otherwise you'd end up killing yourself.
Alan's first guest tonight is the Amazing Magnus. A Circus act in the true tradition of the freak generation and the sort of English eccentric that shows David Blaine for the humourless prat he actually is. His escape from a series of chains and ropes is a shamble, but then that's so typically English!!!
Next up is Barbara Nice who enters the stage with a rousing rendition of Robbie Williams "Let me Entertain You" and leaves with all singing Ba Ba Ba Ba Barbara Nice to the tune of "Barbara Ann" by the Beach Boys. Think council estates, pound shops and a mad woman dressed in a red shirt from Oxfam dragging who 17 year old sun round by the scruff of his collar. She also say "alright, cock" alot in that Northern way, which is funny no matter how old you are.
And the special guests of the night are Neil & Christine Hamilton. And yes you did read that right - the publicity shy Neil & Christine Hamilton!!! Christine stumbling on stage with glass of red and Neil with matching trousers they would get a laugh by simply being there. Rescuing the "Mr & Mrs" game from Christmas past Alan asks Neil "So if you saw Christine flirting with another guy would you a) Let her get on with it, its typical Christine b) Tell Louis to leave C) Ask her to to shut the door and leave the paperboy alone". Lets just say the paperboy finished his round on time. When asked if they went to the Beckhams World Cup do it was so typical of them to say "of course not, you had to pay....and he was there" referring to Al Fayed. Fayed wasn't the only one in the firing line with Lord Archer and Stephen Byers also in their sights.
Finishing off with the Amazing Magnus sandwiched between broken glass and a bed of nails, rather predictable Christine assumes her position and squats on request. Its a perfect end to one of Manchester's essential comedy nights.
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