In the middle of my interview with Alan Carr, a very loud police siren starts wailing in the background.
Quick as a flash, the comedian jokes that, “I’m so in demand, even the police want me,” before adding with a laugh: “Or maybe they’ve seen my act and want to arrest me!”
This is typical of the quick-witted humour of one of the finest comics currently at work in this country. And the good news is, Alan is about to underline just how brilliant he is by embarking on his first major stand-up tour for three years.
The show will certainly be coming to a theatre near you very soon – the tour takes in an eye-watering 120-plus venues. So you are advised to book soon to see perhaps the UK’s funniest and most cherished stand-up comedian at the very top of his game.
A dazzling live comedian, Alan just can’t wait to hit the road with his new show, entitled “Yap, Yap, Yap!” The comic, who boasts a huge nationwide following after hosting 13 series of his C4 chat show, Alan Carr Chatty Man, smiles, “I adore touring – it keeps me out of mischief! This is the biggest tour I’ve ever done.”
You’ll be delighted to hear that in person Alan is just as hilarious as he is on stage. The comic, who has won numerous awards, including the 2013 Bafta for Best Entertainment Performance and the 2013 British Comedy Award for Best Comedy Entertainment Personality, possesses “funny bones”. He can find humour in any situation.
The critics agree. The Independent declares that Alan is, “A comedian who owns the space he is working in so much, he could put a flag up”. Meanwhile, the London Evening Standard calls him, “An absolute natural on stage… a born storyteller, sheer entertainment.”
Alan, previously responsible for such successful live shows as “Tooth Fairy” and “Spexy Beast,” is really pleased to be undertaking a tour once again. “I love live comedy,” he beams. “Sometimes the politics of doing the chat show and booking guests can be frustrating. And occasionally you’ll have a dud guest with nothing to say.
“But when it’s just you on stage with a mic in front of lots of people who have come specifically to see you, it’s fantastic. You’re the boss. I get such a buzz on stage. It’s a complete adrenalin rush. When you dream up new material and think, ‘Great, I can add that to the set,’ it’s a wonderful feeling. If it works, a new joke always brings a smile to my face. It’s such a thrill.”
Alan has a massive and loyal fanbase, which is mobilised whenever he tours. “Some venues have sold out within five minutes,” the comic reveals. “People have apparently been sleeping outside to get tickets – oh please, stop it! That’s sweet, but unnecessary.
“I always leave it three years between tours. I don’t know how Jimmy Carr does it, touring all the time. But I’m lucky enough to have the chat show to keep me busy in between. And it means that if I haven’t been touring for three years, it’s more of an event when I do.”
As you can see, Alan, who recently hosted Channel 4’s flagship fundraising show ‘Stand Up To Cancer’ which went on to raise an amazing £14 million for Cancer Research, has amazingly devoted fans. “They’re always lovely,” he enthuses.
“A lot of them want to mother me. I’ve got one of those faces that makes women want to put me on their chest and stroke my hair. Blokes do the same – they always want to nestle me on their chests!”
The warmth of his fans gives Alan a real glow. “Twitter can be a nasty, spiteful place. It makes you think the British public are awful. But Twitter isn’t real. It encourages a certain type of person. The real British public are lovely. People are really warm – they feel they know me, and they’re always bringing me presents! They bring me lots of knickers and ropey drinks for the globe on my chat show.”
Such is his rapport with his fans that Alan has deliberately chosen to perform at more intimate venues on the “Yap, Yap, Yap!” tour. “I could have played arenas and done the tour within a month, but in those big places you can’t talk to the audience. If you mention the jumper of someone in the front row, 11,999 other people say, ‘What’s he on about?’
“With arena shows, the material doesn’t evolve. You don’t want to take the gamble of trying out new stuff in front of 12,000 people. And if you lose the room at an arena, you can’t get it back because it’s so big. Putting a show on in a theatre, everyone there feels they have had a unique night that won’t happen anywhere else.”
What Alan loves is that, “When you’re on stage, the audience transports you and you almost go into a trance. These people have paid good money to see you, and you can’t let them down. If they’ve had a crap day, they just want to go out and have a laugh – and it’s your responsibility to deliver. You want to perform for them because they’re so lovely.”
So what subjects will Alan be discussing in “Yap, Yap, Yap!”? “This show is very personal. It’s a gamble including so much personal stuff, but it pays dividends. The more personal stuff you put in, the more people go ‘Aaah!’ Also, the audience can smell if you start lying in your act. There is an honesty in this show that people will appreciate.”
He carries on that, “It’s about co-habiting and how it affects you. I talk about my partner. The show is about my life, so he has to be in it. I didn’t want to start lying and saying I still live on my own in Stretford. My partner doesn’t necessarily like being part of the show, but I said to him, ‘Look, it’s paying the bills. See those shoes you’re wearing? Comedy bought them, so stop moaning! The show is about manning up.”
Alan proceeds to explain the title of the show. “I called it, ‘Yap, Yap, Yap!’ because there’s a lot of waffle out there. With blogs and Twitter, everyone has an opinion nowadays. I can’t believe I’ll be waffling on stage for two hours – I’m adding to it. It’s my own fault!”
The comic has already been warming up the show, and he says that, “It’s had great feedback. I’ve been doing it on and off for the last six months and I think, ‘This is actually quite good’. Now I can’t wait to get out on the road for the real deal.”
The good news is, even if you can’t make it along to a live show, you’ll still be able to enjoy “Yap, Yap, Yap!” Alan will be recording a brand new live DVD of the show at the Hammersmith Apollo on Friday 25th September. It is due for release by Universal Pictures (UK) in the autumn.
I have known Alan for many years, and the lovely thing about him is that despite his very high profile, he remains the same really grounded and lovely person that he has always been. “Fame is very nice – I’d never take it for granted. You get lots of great opportunities. The other day I was asked to present a Pride of Britain Award, and that was great.
“And I also get marvellous presents. So if the fans who are coming to the show could bring me some awful wine to put in my globe on the chat show, that would be very much appreciated!”
Yap, Yap, Yap! will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray from Monday 16 November.