Justin Moorhouse

He laughs at the thought of being "Britain's Best New Straight Comic" after coming runner up to camp Mancunian comic Alan Carr at the BBC Comedy Awards. After winning the City Life Comedian of the Year in 2000 (a competition that has launched Peter Kay and Caroline Aherne to name but a few) its been onwards and upwards for Justin Moorhouse -  a starring role in Peter Kays Phoenix nights, regular slots at The Comedy Store and several TV shows in the pipeline. In one of his first major interviews Justin talks us through his career and how as a comedian he tackled the subject of the Terrorist Attacks in America.

Q: Onto the Competitions - there's been so many you've won. Tell us more?
A: Well competitions are crap until you win one...and then they're fantastic!!! The first competition that I did well in was the City Life one which I won last year. In its own way its just a small thing in Manchester but previous winners have been Peter Kay, Caroline Aherne, Tony Burgess, Dave Spikey & Neil Anthony who wrote Phoenix Nights. There's some real pedigree in there and I'd like to think that one day perhaps somebody wins it in 10 years time will say "Justin Moorhouse won it" - you never know though it could all end tomorrow!!!

Q: And you came runner up to Alan Carr at the BBC Comedy Awards this year. Does it wind you up you lost it to another Manc?
A: That Alan Carr, I don't think he's got a girlfriend, so I've been putting it around that I'm Britain's Best New Straight Comic!!!! In a way I didn't need it because the work was coming in anyway but it was just funny that Graham Gardner was sat next to you on this big podium and you just thought "I wasn't allowed to stay up and watch you when I was younger".

Alan's a good mate of mine and its been fantastic for him. And in a way I got as much exposure for not winning it as I would have got for winning it. All I missed out on was the big cash prize and I beat him in the City Life final so fuck him!!!

Q: You've been compared to Peter Kay and Jo Brand - valid comparisons or not?
A: Peter's a really nice lad and if what you mean by like Peter Kay is I become good at it and as successful and talented as him then great. But when people say it, it sort of implies that i'm a clone of him and its not fair really - the thing is i'm fat and i'm a Northerner so you're going to get that comparison.

I just find any type of comparison to somebody else. Yeah, I'm a male version of Jo Brand because I'm fat. I think you'll find I don't do anything references to tampax, eating cream cakes or that all men are bastards...however I do tend to have a bit of a weight problem. I believe Jo Brand is a big girl as well!!!

Q: You were in the Phoenix Nights as well I believe. We've been wracking our brains round here trying to think who you were so let us out of misery?
A: Young Kenny - I didn't have the glassed on, I had longer hair and had a Man City shirt on a lot of the time. I pushed him round in the wheel chair, painted walls and had headphones on all the time - just a bit of an odd job man really.

Were filming the next series in October in Bolton. We've all got a caravan each now...mine's a bacon buttie caravan off an industrial estate. The thing that was fantastic about that was Peter knew us all and had in his mind who he wanted for the parts.

Q: Rumours suggest Mr Noel Gallagher might be appearing in this series - tell us more?
A: Who wouldn't want to be in the Phoenix club? I mean who wouldn't want to stand on that stage - they could win Talent Trek. We've all been there and there will be more in the future so they've all got to audition like everybody else.

Q: Comedy and politics - You also do the M.E.N At Work show at the Manchester Comedy Store?
A: We comment and put an acerbic spin on the weeks news. Do you know with Have I Got News For You? it takes them two and a half hours to record and they stick half an hour out - well ours is the two hours they choose to leave out!!! We are getting a fairly intelligent audience in now. When we first started we'd ask people for suggestions of people who'd been in the news...we'd all wrote stuff about Tony Blair, Claire Short or Anne Widecomme...and they'd come out Billie Piper or Steps!!!

I think comedy's become very apolitical and naval gazing - there's no political animals out there doing comedy as such, or even topical stuff. I'm just interested that you have got an opportunity when you have a captive audience to tell them a bit of what you think. I'm don't want to preach to anybody but I would like audiences to know that I do think about things and the world is a fucked up place - if humour is the way of getting that message through to people then that is fantastic!!!

That's how I see myself going. To do more topical or satirical stuff and looking at events and making a difference...then again I've always got the jokes about being fat!!!

Q: It must have been hard to cover the September 11 events in America. How did that come across?
A: Its partly scripted it because we do write it in the days leading up to the show. But you have an incident like the terrorist attack in New York the day before your show - we couldn't possible sit on stage and not talk about that. We certainly didn't stand on stage and go "6000 people have died...well, that's a laugh!!!". But what you've got to do then is look at the media reaction to it and everything else - there are lots of different way of looking at something like this!!!

That's the thing is people always assume that this sort of thing will be different but there will always side stories and reactions. Frankly, i thought that George Bush's reaction to it needed mocking. When he said that "he was going to go out and get the folks that did this" to me he sounded more Foghorn Lego than the President. The thing with Bush is he's a fucking clown!!!

Q: Would you agree that the whole media reaction to it has been in poor taste as well?
What are you going to do with a souvenir pullout of the World Trade Attack - are you going to put it with your Charles & Di mug, your stuff for the Queens silver Jubilee. Are you going to get them out in 40s years time - "I tell you what, when I was a lad they used to bomb world trade centres. You've got it easy with just this global germ warfare!!! We had real terror when I was a lad. Real proper terror you could watch on Sky News"

I'm writing stuff this week about Jack Straw and his reaction to it. Because I remember when Jack Straw used to say "Ban The Bomb" and now he's saying "Bomb the Taliban - its just one easy step isn't it. Jack Straws like your dad or your mum isn't he "You'll know when you grow up" and that's what he's done, grown up.

There's probably not a lot of humour in it but the idea to me that you would go and bomb a country, an impoverished nation, because one man might be hiding somewhere in that country - to me that sounds ludicrous. All you money you're going to spend on that - spend it on giving aid and forcing the people to change and get a democracy in there. Especially considering that the Present rule has been put in there with the help of the US in the first place when they were fighting them nasty commies. Oh now, they've helped them to bomb them now!!!

Q: And on a lighter note. The future for Justin Moorhouse is...?
A: I'm currently attempting to lose a third of my body weight to do a show next year called Two Thirds The Man I Used To Be which i'm in discussion with TV shows about filming. And I'm also writing - basically that's what you do as a stand-up comedian because you've got all day to do fuck all and there's only so many episode's of wipe-out you can watch!!!

My dream is to make something - whether it be a film, a TV show or a book - something that I'm very proud of, which pays the bill, rather than doing commercials for chewing gum. I'd never say I wouldn't do that, if anybody's reading this and there looking for a fat kid to do double extra mint Orbit - i've got one tooth missing and the rest are yellow!!!

I'd rather go back to my day job than do stand-up for another 10 years. That sounds quite dis-respectful to very good acts who make their living just through stand-up and they do it as a pure art form, but I didn't want to do this forever.

Justin Moorhouse appears at
M.E.N at Work - Wednesday Nights - Manchester Comedy Store

Check the Comedy Store website for more details