Carl Donnelly comes to Portsmouth Guildhall

Carl Donnelly ' loves Russians and Muhammad Ali.
Carl Donnelly ' loves Russians and Muhammad Ali.
Gosport dancer Lydia Mackett, 17, who will be performing in the professional production of Sleeping Beauty Picture: Ben Garner

Dance star Lydia is now ‘on the cusp’ of her big break

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Before he heads off to the Edinburgh Festival this August with his self-titled show, Now That’s What I Carl Donnelly! Volume V, the comedian is in stand-up at the first Jack FM Comedy Club at Portsmouth Guildhall tonight.

When did you first realise you were funny?

I don’t think anyone can truly know they are funny. I think we all have an individual sense of humour and if we are confident in it and can relay it in an accessible way, then it can appeal to others. I suppose I realised I had the ability to make those around me laugh at my ideas at school.

What would you be if you weren’t a comedian?

I would quite like to be the guy in a formula one pit who lifts the car up. That has got to be the easiest job in the world. Everyone else is running around with tyres etc while you just stand at the front with a jack.

Tell us about three things that make you laugh.

1 Total Wipeout – I laugh at this programme more than any other on television. I even find myself now and again watching foreign versions on YouTube just to get my fix! It’s a totally primitive and basic comedy urge I have to watch people safely fall over.

2 Russians – I don’t want to generalise and have never been to Russia, so only have online news and videos to go on, but I think I love Russians. There are compilations of Russian people doing crazy things online that make me laugh a lot more than any other country’s inhabitants. I also watched footage of Putin riding a horse topless recently. Can you imagine if David Cameron was pictured topless on a horse?

3 Sending photos under false subjects – probably the prank I most regularly play on friends and vice versa. What you do is download some filthy image from the internet. You then e-mail it to a friend with a subject header along the lines of ‘just found this photo on my phone from your birthday’.

Tell us a joke

A dyslexic man walks into a bra.

Who’s your hero?

Muhammad Ali. I’m a massive boxing fan and I think Ali was the greatest all-round sports person of all time – amazing at his chosen sport, intelligent, charismatic and funny. I regularly watch Ali interviews online to get myself in the mood for something trying. He was a role model. People go crazy when sportspeople get into trouble, but if that footballer has never done anything to suggest they should be held up on a pedestal, I’d argue that part of the blame lies in the eye of the beholder.

· Carl Donnelly comes to Portsmouth Guildhall on Thursday with Ahirr Shah and Paul McCaffrey. Tickets: £8 (or £14.50 with dinner), (023) 9282 4355, portsmouthguildhall.org.uk.