There aren’t many comedians who would flit between tossing out quotes from the poet William Henry Davies or lyrics from the movie Grease within the same show.
But then Tom Allen isn’t like most comedians. And he is out to prove it with his tour of his latest show Absolutely, extended to include a date at the Oxford Playhouse on Sunday, September 30.
The comedian has been seen on Mock the Week, 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown as well as heard on Radio 4’s Just A Minute.
However, it is his work on The Great British Bake Off spin offs An Extra Slice and The Professionals which brought him wider attention.
He said: “I like to do a preview around the house, maybe for some teddy bears: they’re a gay social grouping that I know. You want it to feel fresh and invent around it and add things and you want to be relaxed about it.
“Last year I talked a lot about things in my past and this time I wanted to do something about my present, which admittedly remains dogged by my past because I’m still living with my parents.”
Of course, Tom is not alone in this situation with many people unable to afford their own home. He aims to capture this feeling of frustration in his new show.
He said: “As we saw in the general election, my generation and those younger than me are feeling, ‘well, you’ve got to do something for us; give us one thing to look forward to’. I certainly wouldn’t consider myself a political comedian but it’s an interesting time, though for me it’s still combined with a heightened sense of snobbery: I still have an air about me that’s, ‘well, of course I still want avocado on sourdough bread’ and ‘no, we’re not going to a Toby Carvery for dinner, absolutely not’.”
Living at home with his parents will inevitably lead to some friction, no matter how much they love each other.
Tom explained: “At one point, I started giving my dad some interior design advice about having the desk at a particular angle by the window and he said ‘why don’t you get your own house?’ There’s a little bit of tension around.
“We decorated my room in a bid to create the illusion of me having control over my life; I took time choosing what colours to have and what lamps to go with and then mum and aunt Christine went to Dunelm Mill and bought me a lamp that they liked. It was very nice but not what I wanted, and you can’t just hide that away in the cupboard.
“Socially it’s very complicated, and results in lots of lying and eventually an explosive argument: it’s great value.”
Still, there are some changes afoot in Tom’s life and the good news is that he’s passed his driving test at the third attempt. “I had a lovely two to three years of learning; it was like another degree and I feel very happy that I can drive.
“What I want to talk about in the show is that sense of moving forward. I think a lot of people experience those around them running ahead and sometimes if you’re not in the same boat as them (if you’re not getting married or not owning your own home) you can feel a bit left out. For me, I wonder, well, is what they’re doing necessarily better?
“So, I’ll talk about weddings and some hen parties that I’ve been invited to. I don’t quite know when that started, when gay men began to be invited to hen dos. I don’t think lesbian hen dos invite a straight bloke along so they can sit in front of Sky Sports.”
Tickets for the show are selling fast. People can book tickets by calling the box office on 01865 305305 or by visiting www.oxfordplayhouse.co.uk