Thirty years since his big break on TV talent show New Faces, Joe Pasquale is still going strong. He remains a popular face on the screen and on stage – and he’s now out on tour with the show, A Few Of His Favourite Things, which Joe promises will feature ‘singing, dancing, music, magic, mind-reading, painting and a lot of audience participation.’
But as Joe says: ‘I never thought I’d still be doing it 30 years later. I initially did it because I didn’t want to work for a living, but 30 years later I’m still doing it. It’s busy, but it doesn’t seem like work at all.’
And it still gives him a thrill.
‘Definitely. I love that feeling of flying by the seat of your pants. Also, it’s just you. You’re the performer, the producer and the editor. You go on stage and you just go with the flow. I have a rough plan beforehand, then I just see what happens on the night. I like being scared. It makes you realise you’re alive.
‘I still get nervous before going on stage. I’ve done a few parachute jumps, and it’s the same feeling. As you’re about to start, you think: “Oh no, oh no. okay, here we go... Now I’m doing it, and it’s great!” You just hope you have a good landing. I don’t want to be sitting on the sofa at home with my feet up. For me, that’s not experiencing life. I want to do things that really scare me.’
In recent years, he’s scored stage hits with touring productions of Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em and as King Arthur in Spamalot. What does he like about the theatre?
‘I love the fact that it changes every night. It’s the same as stand-up. You never know what it’ll be like. When you make a film, it is put down on celluloid, and then it’s the same for ever. In the theatre, the performances, the audiences and the atmosphere change every night.’
READ MORE, BIG INTERVIEW Joe Pasquale on Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em: 'I can’t believe I’m falling down a flight of stairs eight times a week'
Away from screen and stage, he’s also turned his hand to writing, with his first book, Deadknobs and Doomsticks published last year.
‘It went to number one on the Amazon charts for short horror stories. Stephen King was at numbers two, three and four! I love writing and am already writing a follow up – Deadknobs and Doomsticks 2: Dying for a Sequel. I love being scared and scaring other people. I don’t want people to have a full-on Stephen King experience when they read my book; I just want to give them the willies!’
Back in 2004 Joe won I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here, but as he says, don’t expect it to do wonders for your career.
‘It doesn’t do anything for you long-term. Being on I’m a Celebrity is like going on a crap holiday and coming back as Elvis for six weeks. But it doesn’t last. There are peaks and troughs in every career. I’m A Celebrity raises your profile for a while, but the real challenge is keeping your longevity going.’
He’s appeared on other shows ranging from Sugar Free Farm and Total Wipeout, to The Prisoner X and Alone in the Wild, but he rates An Audience with Joe Pasquale as his best TV moment.
‘I did it straight after I’m a Celebrity, and I loved the experience of performing in front of my peers. It got great figures, too, 13m people watched it.’
From learning to fly and surviving in the jungle to parachute jumping and marathon running, Joe relishes a challenge.
‘I’m very aware of my own mortality. I don’t want to be lying on my deathbed thinking, “Why did I sit there watching TV? Why didn’t I climb Everest? I don’t want to sit around moaning. If there’s something wrong, I do something about it
‘If it’s dangerous or scary, I’ll have a go. The scarier, the better. They asked me to do both The Island with Bear Grylls and Hunted for charity, but unfortunately I was on tour at the time. I’d love to do those shows.’
And he still has a few unfulfilled ambitions: ‘I’ve nearly finished my Open University degree. When I’ve done that, I’d like to go on Strictly Come Dancing. They have often asked me to do reality TV shows like Big Brother, but unless I can learn something from it, I’m not interested. Having done Dancing on Ice, I can still ice skate – very badly!’
All that said, he says of his comedy: ‘It’s just me being me. I know that what I do is not important in the slightest. All I do is try to make sure that everyone has a laugh. Life’s too short to take things too seriously.’
JOE PASQUALE: A FEW OF HIS FAVOURITE THINGS
Ferneham Hall, Fareham
Sunday, September 16