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Al that you can't leave behind
Lately a cuddly quiz show panel member, Alan Davies is going back to his first love, stand-up. He explains the rationale for the decision, but has less to say about his controversial comments on the Hillsborough Liverpool FC tragedy.
Paul Nolan, 22 Oct 2012
Now best known for his role as resident panellist on QI, Alan Davies recently returned to stand-up and embarked on his first tour in many years, Life Is Pain. Why did he choose did this particular moment to return to live performance?
“I had the opportunity to do some of my old material from the ‘90s,” explains Davies. “I really have a total fear of having to do that, so I went up to a little studio theatre near my house, and did a work in progress for a few weeks to try and cook up the material. That process seemed to go okay – it was torment for the audience and really useful for me. Now I’ve got a show again, I can do gigs. It’s been a long time. I just didn’t have enough material to do a show, and then I couldn’t get material without doing shows, so I was in a bit of a catch-22.”
Is performing stand-up like Davies remembers it?
“It is, yeah,” he affirms. “I’m a bit less mobile than I was in my 20s – I tend to stand still a bit more. I’ve enjoyed it. I’m 46 now and I’m talking about different things. I’ve got a couple of children and there’s a lot of distance between them now and my own childhood. When I started doing stand-up there were no mobiles, no internet. It’s weird really, you used to pick up the answer-phone and that was it! There’s a lot of talk between how things are different between then and now. There’s a bit about being a parent and there’s a fair bit of filth at the end.”
What’s in the filth bit?
“There’s a bit about the end of the world, a bit about Facebook and some comedy gold about sex toys,” replies Davies. “Is it autobiographical? (laughs) I make a confession that I’ve always found sex toys far too amusing to actually use. There wasn’t any research – it wasn’t what you might call hands-on!”
Davies mentions the tour stopped off in Sweden at one point, although explains that the main reason he was there was to meet about a Swedish version of QI. Davies travelled in the company of the show’s creator Jon Lloyd, the legendary British producer heavily associated with the ’80s wave of UK comedy, including Blackadder and Not The Nine O’Clock News. Davies notes that a previous Dutch adaptation of the show wasn’t a success, although on the foot of the Swedish version, Lloyd is hopeful it might become a worldwide franchise. I thought Lloyd would have made his money already.