If you are going out next week to see comedian Alan Davies on stage with his latest stand-up routine, don’t expect an evening of QI reminiscences or Alan playing the fool.
Alan said: “I really just set out to be as funny as I can. It’s my main aim. It isn’t QI. Some people come expecting to see the buffoon from QI, so it’s quite an eye-opener in that regard.”
He admits: “If you act the fool long enough and throw enough mud at yourself, some of it will stick. I’ve played along and been on the show for 12 years. You’re not hiding your own personality and character because a huge part of me is a fool but there is much of my character that’s kept hidden and much of Stephen (Fry’s) that is too.
“When the cameras aren’t running, the conversations we have are different. There is a part of you that people are used to seeing. People will see other parts too. I hope that proves interesting.”
Alan said that stand-up is his first love and that wouldn’t change if the TV work dried up. “Stand-up is the thing I would do to put food on the table.”
Alan said that he enjoys TV work like the recent Channel Five show The Dog Rescuers, that followed the work of the RSPCA and was amazed at how popular it was.
He said: “You sometimes meet people and they think that dogs are as important as their children, which sets off a few alarm bells.”
He gave an example: “My little boy got knocked over by a dog on Hampstead Heath. He was only one at the time. The owner wasn’t doing anything about it and I said, ‘you’ve got to control your animal’.
I’m good with dogs, I like dogs but if it’s annoying me it’s not good.
“I said, ‘I think you should apologise, he’s only one’. She said to me, ‘the dog is only six months old’. I lost my rag and I was shouting halfway to the top of Hampstead Heath. That’s so ridiculous. I think she knew once she’d said it.”
He is a very involved dad, fitting his touriong schedule around his children, aged four and three. He sad: “Kids shift everything. You think about them and not yourself. Suddenly you have no ambition professionally, just for a secure future for your family and all of those things people say, which may sound like a cliche but only because they’re true.
“I try and sort my working week out so I’m away from home as little as possible. I spend as much time with the children as I can.
“I keep in touch with things like the Face Time app, where you can see them and they can see you and talk to you. They know I’m coming back. I think it’s important.”
In Alan’s stage show he talks about his life and the general mayhem that seems to follow him everywhwere. “People seem to prefer it. Once you get on stage for two hours, people want to know why you’re there and more about you. The more crazy and bonkers it is, the more they like you. When laugh people laugh, you realise, ‘That is as mad as I thought it was’. It is an affirmation from the general public about how mad my life has been.”
He adds: “It is a nice thing to do to go round getting laughs. It is just something that is very gratifying, seeing people smiling, looking out on a sea of smiling faces.”
He doesn’t get many heckler these days but one in Leeds recently amused him.
“I got heckled about the 2012 Olympics! I was talking about how everyone got emotional and was in tears for a month.
“I was saying how it’s funny to look back to that two years on. This woman shouted out, ‘Speak for yourself! It was boring’. I thought, what a weird thing to be irate about, out of all the things in the show that I was talking about.”
He is a big fan of Sheffield’s Olympic heroine, Jessica Ennis-Hill. “I think she’s wonderful and I think that having a daughter I am very conscious about the way that women are presented to her.
“My sister sent her a Barbie when she was four. I saw it first and hid it in the back of a cupboard and told her, ‘Don’t send this stuff. It’s hard going to try and avoid these ridiculous stereotypes’.
“There are so many ideas about what boys do and what girls do. My wife and I find ourselves saying every day that girls cano anything they want. We tell her you’re a fantastic little girl and you can be everything you want to be.
“I can’t bear it. Someone like our Jess is an absolutely fantastic role model. I’m going to have a picture of her on the wall as something to aspire to.”
Alan Davies brings his new show Little Victories to Sheffield City Hall next Thursday, November 27. Tickets: from the venue, online at www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk or call 0114 278 9789.