Eric and Ernie were role models

Comic magician Pete Firman comes to Fareham next week.
Comic magician Pete Firman comes to Fareham next week.
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Simon Emmett

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Comedy meets magic in the form of self-taught Middlesbrough funnyman Pete Firman. JODIE JEYNES meets the man best known for his BBC One Saturday night show The Magicians.

When did you first realise you were funny?

Even at an early age I loved the feeling of getting a laugh. I would sing a silly song or mess about. When I was four or five I’d do routines that I’d watched Morecambe and Wise or Tommy Cooper do. At that age I didn’t realise that eventually I’d have to write my own stuff.

Where do you get the inspiration for your shows?

I have quite a big library of old magic literature. Even though the books are antiquated you can take the ideas and turn them on their head. A lot of them don’t have pictures so you just have to sift through the text and find them. It’s like mining for gold.

What would you be if you weren’t a comedy magician?

I suppose I’d be an actor. That was my original intention. I have a degree in theatre and I really wanted to act. After I graduated, I was looking around for work and I saw an ad for magicians wanted for a new TV show. I applied and got the job. That was 10 years ago. I may go back to acting at some point.

Name three things that make you laugh.

My dad makes me laugh a lot. I just find him so funny.

Daft 1980s comedy films. They remind me of my childhood. Ghostbusters, Three Amigos, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Trains, Planes & Automobiles. I love all that stuff.

Puns. Silly jokes really make me laugh. I love Tim Vine.

Tell us a joke.

Two men sitting in deck chairs on the beach. One says: ‘It’s nice out.’ The other says: ‘Yes, I think I’ll take mine out as well.’

Who’s your hero?

There are too many to single out just one. I love the legacy of Morecambe and Wise. When I was a kid, I watched them with my family and we laughed so much.

Pete Firman comes to the Ashcroft Arts Centre in Fareham on Wednesday, March 6, from 7.30pm with his Hoodwinker show. Tickets £15 from 01329 223100.