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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 25/04/2014
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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) British comedian phill jupitus best-known from tv quiz series never mind the buzzcocks is bringing his improv skills to dubai for the whose line is it anyway live shows.

buzz right here

yell what you like at phill jupitus this weekend as he performs three whose line is it anyway improvisation comedy shows at the madinat theatre but you’re unlikely to rattle the 51-year-old joker’s stride.

“the more you perform improv the better your skill set becomes plus the nervousness starts to diminish” the british funnyman tells us over the phone from his hotel in oman which is hosting the long-running live show for one date before it crosses to the uae.

“as time goes on there’s very little you’ve not heard an audience shout” he adds. “when you ask for a place where two people work you wouldn’t be at all surprised at how often they shout ‘toilet’. when they’re in the dark people will shout the worst possible things at you!”

what’s more likely is that phill and his fellow performers – stephen frost steve steen andy smart and ian coppinger from london’s comedy store players collective – may try to deliberately bamboozle one another during their madcap games.

“there’s a possibility that you’ll occasionally misbehave and muck around with one another” he says. “there’s a game when one of you has to invent a gobbledygook foreign language and someone else translates for him. you’ll say something and then he might say ‘i’d now like to do a donkey dance for you’. that’s a game where you can really turn someone over!”

28 not out?

phill first chanced his arm at improv comedy 20 years ago as a side note to his regular stand-up and broadcast work but never appeared in the whose line is it anyway tv series which aired in the uk from 1988 to 1998.

the entertainer is most recognisable to audiences in his homeland as a team captain for all 27 seasons to date on the popular music panel show never mind the buzzcocks beginning in 1996.

so will he be back this autumn for series 28?

“i’ve not heard it isn’t happening – that’s the best i can give you right now” is his response although he’s quick to add that this lack of forward planning has always been the case. “it’s just the nature of television. i’ll be the last person there when it does eventually stop.

“i’m enjoying it more now than i did when i started” he says adding that the pressure to be funny he would put on himself in the show’s early days has dissipated.

“the secret to all those tv panel games is being relaxed and not being over-eager to deliver. the more you relax and the more you treat it like seven people in a room shooting the breeze and having a laugh with each other the more natural it comes out and the more fun it is.”

(left to right): phill with doctor who actor john barrowman and opposing team captain noel fielding

initially hosted by the acerbic mark lamarr (1996 to 2005) and then by the even more acerbic simon amstell (2006 to 2008) nowadays buzzcocks has weekly guest hosts – bringing in everyone from james blunt to david hasselhoff to alice cooper.

“it gives you something new to look forward to every week” phillsays. “i think it’s more fun with a guest host in that there are no regular tics to what the presenter does. a regular host is absolutely brilliant too but there’s always a danger that the show can become staid and repetitive.

“with a different host my duties are varied. noel (fielding his opposing team captain) and i feel that it’s our responsibility as regulars to make the thing function. we’re not interested in ripping anyone apart – unless they’re a d*** – and they’re generally not.”

we wonder whether phill has had to mentor any guests unfamiliar with hosting duties.

“no” he replies “i’m always stunned by how brilliant they are particularly the young american kids like ne-yo josh groban and kristen schaal – she’s an incredibly well-trained comedian. but i’m always stunned at how literate americans are at hosting shows. they seem to have it wired into their entertainment dna.”

poetry plays and podcasts

before buzzcocks stand-up and improv phill was known as porky the poet touring uk universities from the mid-1980s and reading politically-charged poetry as the support act for bands like the housemartins and the style council.

in more recent years he has had small acting parts in television and film co-written and starred in the play waiting for alice at the edinburgh fringe festival hosted a football podcast and voiced several characters on the animated series rex the runt.

he concedes though that radio is “a bit of a first love just because there was an 18-month period in the 1960s when i didn’t have a telly”.

he has presented two long-running shows on bbc glr from 1995 to 2000 and then on bbc radio 6 music from 2002 to 2007 (the latter of which inspired his humorous memoir good morning nantwich: adventures in breakfast radio). in addition to this phill has appeared on radio shows like the news quiz the unbelievable truth and just a minute.

with such a diverse cv it’s unsurprising that phill has a “slightly unfocused” selection of opportunities on his plate in 2014.

“i’ve got two bbc radio 4 series i’m doing this year which will be nice as i’ve not really done anything regular on that station” he says.

“in september i’m also going to be doing stand-up at a festival in sweden. they get qi over there (another of his regular tv comedy panel shows this one based on intellectual oddities) and they absolutely love it.

“i’m looking forward to basically doing a gig in a foreign language” he continues. “i have a friend called par wiksten (frontman for indie-pop band the wannadies) and i was thinking of getting him to come onstage at the end to do some interpreting.”

is phill not afraid that his swedish friend might “turn him over” and make him do something akin to a donkey dance?

“who knows?” the comic laughs. “he’s rock and roll – he’s got no discipline!”


event details

what: whose line is it anyway with special guest phill jupitus

where: madinat theatre madinat jumeirah dubai

when: thursday april 24 (8pm) friday april 25 (8pm) and saturday april 26 (7pm)

cost: dhs170 stalls dhs200 balcony

for tickets and more info see www.madinattheatre.com


Khaleej Times

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