National trinket, author, TV and radio star Julian Clary has been hitting the road again with a nationwide tour, The Joy of Mincing, celebrating his 30 years as a camp comedian.
Why have you named your tour The Joy of Mincing?
I always like to get ‘mincing’ into the title. We’ve had Lord of the Mince; Natural Born Mincer; and Mincing Machine was my first tour in 1989.
‘I don’t know why; it sets the tone, doesn’t it?
‘I suppose mincing, apart from being a means of walking around, is a way of life. The Joy of Mincing is a declaration of the joy of life despite disapproval, perhaps.’
Do you still feel people disapprove?
‘I think there probably is some disapproval.
‘And mincing, which is an old fashioned word, was probably in its day borne out of standing up in the face of that disapproval.’
Is the show as rude as ever - you haven’t toned things down?
‘No, I don’t think so. It’s the one time you can let rip a bit, on stage. I don’t want to be filthy for the sake of it, but I think it’s a comic device. You just exaggerate who you really are on stage.’
How has comedy changed during the past 30 years?
‘It’s changed beyond all recognition. It used to be an eclectic selection of people in small rooms above pubs in the 1980s. Our comedy was a reaction against the right-wing men in bow-ties who were being offered as light entertainment in those days. ‘
And has your comedy changed?
‘Yes, a bit. I think you evolve, whether you want to or not.There was a certain amount of anger and delight in confronting people when I started, which has more or less gone now. Making people laugh is my main aim in life these days. I don’t think there’s so much to be angry about now.’
Do you have fans who have been following your career for that full 30 years?
‘There are, and they bring their children along now.I’m very fond of them, you know. You don’t know their names necessarily, but it’s always a joy to see a familiar face.
‘There’s a delightful family from Tunbridge Wells I’ve known since the boy was 13 and now he’s a grown-up. It’s charming.’
What sort of stories will you be telling on this tour?
‘Well, there’s a rather long story about how I once saved Joan Collins’s life in a swimming pool in St Tropez. It’s a true story, which I won’t give away now, but it’s a long, meandering tale that fills the first half.
‘Then the second half is about MBEs. I’ve noticed a lot of my friends in the business are getting these awards. They’re handing them out like Smarties.
‘I think, “Ooh, I’d like one of those”, but it’s never happened so I’m obviously not favoured by the establishment. I can only blame myself…
‘So during the show, I give myself one and call it Mincer of the British Empire. I’m making lots of these MBEs and handing them out to people in the audience. Just the lucky few, you understand –it’s not included in the ticket price.
‘I’m always looking for an excuse to talk to the audience. That’s what keeps me going.’
Julian Clary:The Joy of Mincing
Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
Sunday, May 8