WAS it something The Diary said?
Just a fortnight after this page pronounced Sheffield the stand up comedy capital of the UK, it seems a premier London talent agency is in agreement.
Laughing policeman Alfie Moore – one of four comics we said made the Steel City funny – has been signed by Phil McIntyre Entertainments, a firm which helped launch the careers of Russell Brand, Peter Kay and Steve Coogan.
Not a bad step for a serving sergeant who only gave stand-up a shot after being told his police station briefings were good for a giggle.
“This deal could be a real turning point for me,” says Hillsborough lad Alfie, who has now taken a year’s leave from the force to follow his dream. “I don’t know where it will lead but we’re finalising a national tour for April, which will hopefully include a date in Sheffield.”
It comes after a summer appearance on ITV1 comedy gameshow Show Me The Funny, a programme hosted (ironically, some might say) by Jason Manford. And that in itself came just four short years after Alfie first got on a stage.
“There was a competition at my local comedy club,” recalls the 47-year-old, who currently lives in Scunthorpe after taking a post with Humberside Police. “Maybe it was a mid-life crisis but I decided to go for it.”
He won that contest and his self-depreciating, politically incorrect humour has been winning fans ever since.
Ah, that humour? Certainly, Alfie isn’t from the what-does-a-policeman-say-to-his-belly school of laughs (you’re under a vest). Rather his sets are more...observational.
In one set piece he ridicules the ‘no chase’ policy employed by several forces. In another he declares new LPG vehicles make it a ‘can’t chase’ policy anyway.
“I draw on my experiences as a policeman,” he nods. “I am quite critical of the way things work and I point out absurdities but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. The perception of police can be that we are stuck up. If you see a copper laughing at himself, that could do a lot of good.”
He thinks for a second.
“At least I hope so. I always say I’m walking the fine line between comic genius and unemployment.”
For the moment, at least, he’s erring towards the former.
He had a successful run at this year’s Edinburgh Festival, has impressed police top brass so much they have asked him to compere several force balls and has even been recognised mid-nick.
“There was a bloke I had to stop and search after an armed robbery,” recalls the father-of-one, who will perform a Red Cross charity gig at Bramall Lane on December 18. “He was agitated and looking at me funny, and I was sure he was going to try something. Then he says ‘You’re that laughing policeman, aren’t you?’ He’d seen me in the paper.”
Now, this boy in blue is hoping the only arrest he’ll be making is some arresting comedy.
“This deal with Phil McIntyre is my big chance,” he concludes. “I’ll be trying to grab it with both hands.”
Tickets for Alfie’s Bramall Lane charity gig from www.redcross.org.uk/giggle or on 0114 242 7379. Price £15.
Alfie’s online one-liners
Never has the north/south divide been so clearly defined. You guys have Occupy we have Pukka pie
Theresa May just missed out on best kept garden in her village. Her winter pansies were a delight but her borders were ‘very sloppy’.
My ears are burning. Either someone is talking about me or it’s down to lobal warming.
Just back from an asthmatic jog. Ran past a couple who recognised me from Show me The Funny and started to clap. Made me feel like a fat Rocky.
Postman Pat still going strong after 30 years. I would guess he is trapped in the public sector pension trap.