Tim Vine interview: ‘I’m either the uncoolest man ever or a spearhead’

Tim in his ‘recycle helmet’
20 May 2018 @ 12.14 pm
| Entertainment

He’s won the award for the best joke at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival twice and once broke the world record for the most jokes told in an hour (499).

Tim Vine Sunset Milk Idiot

Grand Opera House

Sat May 26


More details

And now Tim Vine is bringing his newest show to York.

Sunshine Milk Idiot hits the Grand Opera House later this month and you can expect moderate to severe daftness as well as an excess of remarkable puns.

We caught up with Tim before the show to talk props, Tweets and why York audiences are better than London ones…

‘There’s a blackboard here with a bite taken out of it’

Where did your unusual headgear in your tour photo come from?
I made it before having a joke for it. I was doing some new material preparing to go on tour and I just thought, it’s nice to come on with something on your head.

So I made the hat.

Then I went on and I didn’t really have a joke for it. So this thing was lying around my house and when they needed to take a picture for the Edinburgh show I took it along.

It looked great in the photo with the sunset thing behind.

And we were trying to come up with names for the show. Because my shows are not very themed. So you can really just say what the poster looks like.

I came up with a couple of puns, like ‘don’t milk it’ and ‘recycle helmet’. Then I said ‘I’ve got it – Sunset Milk Idiot’.

It was funny at the time because we’d done a lot of puns, but Sunset Milk Idiot just said what you saw.

Do you have a lot of props knocking about the place?
I do have a few. I have a lot of props that I’ve used once. There’s a blackboard here with a bite taken out of it.

I filmed this little sketch, which nobody’s seen – you know when you’re in a restaurant and the waiter comes up and he held up this blackboard and it says ‘apple pie’ on it.

And I go, ‘oh yes, I’ll have that please’. And then it cuts to me eating the blackboard.

You’re on Twitter – what do you make of the modern way of doing comedy on social media?
I’m a long way further back than probably any other comedian you’ll talk to. I do have Twitter but I don’t have the internet at home. So I can send Tweets as a text on my very old Nokia. If I’m at my mum’s house I might send something on her iPad.

The fact that my mum has got an iPad and I haven’t means I am either the uncoolest man that ever lived or I’m at the front of some sort of spearhead.

Every time I hear about people talking about social media – whenever it comes up on the news – it’s not getting a good press.

Saying it’s bad for your mental health and people get addicted to it. So I’m quite happy dipping in and out of those things.

Did you have any comic heroes growing up?
Lots, to be honest. I think of all those people in the Seventies and the Eighties – Morecambe and Wise, Tommy Cooper, Ken Dodd who we’ve just lost. He was probably the last of those kind of greats. Frankie Howard… I love Larry Grayson as well.

And then once I started doing comedy in clubs, then I was transfixed by the proper acts – they were like the sixth formers.

I was doing something with Arthur Smith and Alan Davies the other day and I said to them, ‘In my eyes you will always be like sixth formers’. I will always feel that they are higher up the food chain.

It’s just like when you start school. You’re in awe of these people.

Your comedy doesn’t date. Why do you think that is?
In many ways it doesn’t date because it’s so old fashioned in the first place! It’s quite traditional. There’s not much topical stuff there.

It’s just what I like doing. That sort of comedy must be the influence of that sort of joke-telling comedian who was on telly. It wasn’t very chatty.

Particularly somebody like Ken Dodd. When you start telling a joke about the Battle of Hastings as he does – Harold’s at the Battle of Hastings with an arrow sticking out of his eye and all his mates are going, ‘maybe try blowing your nose…’

Are Yorkshire audiences different to those elsewhere?
I find it pretty much the same wherever I go. Generally people come along who want to see my thing. The last time I went to York I had a fantastic time. I’m hoping that those people come back again!

Audiences in places like London might be a bit harder to please. Just because everything’s on the doorstep. You go to places like York and there’s less pretension up there maybe.