Exclusive interview with Alan Davies

YOUR tour started a few weeks ago, are you enjoying being back on tour again?

I’m enjoying it, yes, It’s good fun, and going well. I’ve been on tour a lot in the last three or four years, so I tend to do it in chunks. I was on the road in March and April, and then started again in September doing dates up until Christmas, and then I’ve got some more dates next year too.

Alan-DaviesWhat was the best tour you’ve ever done? Could you pick a favourite?

I don’t really think of it like that. I suppose it was returning to stand-up in Australia in 2011, when I hadn’t done it for ten years, and I just booked five gigs to see how it would go and how my new material would work, with the provision that, if it didn’t work out, I could always go back to doing stuff from the 90’s, but I didn’t really want to do that. It all went very well, and I ended up doing sixteen gigs instead of five. I didn’t know what the demand would be like, but QI is very popular in Australia. Afterwards I came back to the UK and booked a tour here, and that was a big success, and while I was doing that I had loads of other ideas for more material so I’ve ended up doing two shows back-to-back really. I was developing the new one whilst touring the old one. I was still doing dates on Life is Pain until November last year and then started the new show in February, so I’ve been working on that over last summer, but that’s sort of the way it goes really. The main reason for giving the show a title is to let the audience know that it’s an entirely new show. I’ve been to Aberystwyth relatively recently, and this is an entirely new show. I think this one is better than the old show – a bit more personal, a bit more truthful.

Have you got a theme for the new show? 

Not really no, it was all created in 2013 when my kids were small, my father had Alzheimer’s and various other things were happening in my life, which is reflected in the material. I’m not the sort of person who writes jokes about buying shoes, or creates bizarre characters and whole worlds like some of the great comic geniuses who are knocking around. I tend to concentrate on what I know and everyday world, and it turns out a lot of people are living exactly the same life as me so they can identify.

Do you prefer stand-up comedy to QI?

It’s different, and I’ll keep doing QI as long as they want to make them and as long as they’ll have me, but I do quite like being up there on the stage. It’s just you and your audience and nothing in between you, it’s quite free and exciting.

What do you think of Aberystwyth as a place to visit and to perform?

It’s a very nice little town. It’s a strange town, in that I’ve had a walk about and had dinner on the pier. It’s got something about it – I like Wales and I used to holiday in North Wales when I was little, but it’s odd. It’s quite a small population, and yet there are thousands and thousands of students – it’s crazy. I can’t imagine what the locals think of that – it’s mad!

What would you say was your big break?

Well, it depends what you mean. In stand-up there isn’t really a big break, you just work hard. Jonathan Creek was a great opportunity – but it’s acting, not stand-up. It’s great to get work doing both, it opens doors. It’s quite rare to do both, but whether I’m any good or not I don’t know!

Which do you prefer, comedy or acting?

Stand-up is my favourite, definitely. That’d be what I’d do if everything else fell apart; you don’t need to be commissioned by anyone. It’s more personal and you don’t have to rely on anyone else.

Do you find it hard talking about such personal topics on such a big stage? 

It depends really. It’s a little bit easier as you get a bit older, you get a bit more distance and maturity – to a degree, not much more, but some. You realise that everyone has sick parents, marriage and kids, so you’re not special, you’re just like everybody else and your show will resonate with everybody else. I’ve always been quite anecdotal with my comedy – there are so many comedians who do topical comedy, and your material gets old very fast. There’s always a lot of comedians covering the same areas, so you’ve always got someone asking what you’ve got on UKIP, what’ve you got on ISIS, and then your material’s gone the following week. I tried that kind of comedy, but I found if I was doing material on my granny’s knitting then nobody else was doing anything like it, and I could keep that material and grow it.

What’s your favourite perk of the job? 

It doesn’t feel like work – that was my motivation for doing it in the first place, not getting a job! I get to spend a lot of time with my family as well when I’m not away. I like working, and I want to work and do shows, but I like to balance it out.

Alan Davies is performing Little Victories at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on 15th November.