Comedian Phill Jupitus will be returning to his stand up roots for the final date of his tour, which comes to Banbury next month.
Having spent the last few years as a DJ on BBC 6 Music, team captain on Never Mind The Buzzcocks, TV and film actor, improv player, and musical star of Hairspray and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, he’s now returning to the live arena for a new stand-up tour in which he gets to be two people.
“I have a lot of material to choose from for this tour,” says Phill about his pun-loving stand-up, poetry and music show, Juplicity.
“The thing that really works for me is that I support myself as Porky The Poet, so he goes out and does 40 minutes to start the evening.
“Because of Buzzcocks and other jobs I was given, I let Porky and the poetry slide but after about a decade I came back to it and wrote new poems, often just chucking stuff out on Facebook for mates to read. Combined with the old poems, and factoring in chit-chat between them, I had about an hour of material.”
In terms of the stand-up element, Juplicity will draw on his own life, one that Phill describes merrily as both ‘chaotic’ and ‘flaky’.
He said: “Sean Lock has a phrase, which was both inspiring and worrying, about comedians mining our own personalities for material and then in your head negotiating how much you keep back.
“Initially there was some resistance to me discussing things on stage about my family. One of my daughters, Molly, married her American girlfriend and emigrated there, so what you get is a starting point: gay marriage is a trope that’s very much in vogue at the minute and dovetails with what’s happening in the world with Trump and so on.
“As a comedian you are a person in a society within the world; all you have to do is look at things and shift your camera angle. All comedians can do is put a wider lens on a situation so that it resonates with people.”
As with many acts who take to the road for a lengthy period, the show that is conceived at the beginning might not exactly replicate the one which exists by the end.
“What happens on the tour becomes added to the tour,” Phill insists. “It snowballs as it rolls down the hill of the dates. I wish I had the discipline of my comedy brothers and sisters and say ‘it’s about this!’ By the end, who knows, it could be about my love of the bridge work of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Still, that would do well in Bristol.”
When Phill started off on his path in entertainment, he probably never thought he’d find himself on a stage, in lots of make-up, belting out a show tune. Yet he landed roles in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Spamalot and Hairspray.
Phill said: “After my agent called, I said I don’t sing. Turns out casting directors had seen me do the intros round on Buzzcocks and felt I could hold a tune. So I took some training and auditioned and they said, ‘maybe not this time, but do you want to be Wilbur in Hairspray?’
“I went to see it and even though I’m watching Mel Smith as Wilbur thinking, ‘yeah I could do that’, I kept looking at Michael Ball as Edna and thinking, ‘that looks like a lot of fun’.
“I think I’ve found a way of monetising a social dysfunction. I’ve always maintained that there’s something slightly wrong with arts and crafts types putting themselves in the most confrontational situation, which is standing in front of strangers and trying to get them onside.”
Tickets for the show are £18. For more details or to book tickets visit www.themillartscentre.co.uk or call 01295 279002.