Comedy meets magic in the form of self-taught Middlesbrough funnyman Pete Firman, who mixes old school vaudeville charm with jaw-dropping tricks.
Best known for his BBC One primetime Saturday night show The Magicians, he’s also been seen on the box in The Secret World Of Magic (Sky One), Dirty Tricks (Channel 4), Don’t Miss A Trick (BBC one), Derren Brown’s 3D Magic Spectacular (Channel 4) and Jason Manford’s Comedy Rocks (ITV1).
He mixes logic-defying feats with theatrics and a litany of fast-paced gags and one-liners.
Speaking about how and where he finds inspiration for material for his shows, he says: ‘I have quite a big working 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.’
Ahead of his appearance at the Ashcroft Arts Centre in Fareham, we caught up with him to find out more.
When did you first realise you were funny?
I’ve always been messing around really. Even at an early age, I loved the feeling of getting a laugh from someone. I would sing a silly song or mess about, when I was really quite young.
When I was four or five, I would do routines that I’d watched Morecambe and Wise or Tommy Cooper do. At that early age, I didn’t realise that – eventually – I’d have to write my own stuff.
What would you be if you weren’t a comedian?
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 an acting course 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, I really enjoy it.
Name three things that make you laugh.
My dad makes me laugh a lot. I just find him so funny.
Daft 1980s comedy films. The just 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. He creases me up.
What’s your favourite one-liner?
Two men sitting in deck chairs on the beach. One says: ‘Its nice out.’ The other says: ‘Yes, I think I’ll take mine out as well.’
Who’s your biggest hero?
There are too many to single out just one hero – so many magicians and comedians I really admire. I suppose I love the legacy Morecambe and Wise have left. When I was a kid, I watched them with my family and we just laughed so much. We did the same thing last Christmas. Doing great work, that remains timeless, like they did is the ultimate aim.
Pete Firman comes to the Ashcroft Arts Centre in Fareham on Thursday from 7.30pm with his Jiggery Pokery show. Tickets cost £12.50 from 01329 223100 or ashcroft.org.uk.