December 6 2013 Latest news:
Joe Bill, Features Reporter
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Fresh from winning Big Brother, Britain’s favourite camp comic Julian Clary is seeking romance on his new tour, which auditions men in the audience to be his husband… as Joe Bill discovers
■ Position Vacant Apply Within,
Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells
Saturday, October 6.
Tickets, at £20,
The king of the double entendre, Julian Clary is back from reality.
His desert-dry wit and clear compassion for others saw the funny- man navigate his way through the emotional peaks and troughs of the Big Brother house to be crowned winner of this year’s celebrity show.
And now he is looking for love. Not real love, of course, as his partner might testify, but the Kent-based comedian has built his new show on the hunt for a man he can call his own.
He said: “The premise is a search for love, so I am auditioning men in the audience to be my husband.
“At the end of the show I will marry one of them and there will be a beautiful civil partnership before your very eyes on stage. There will be confetti and bridesmaids, so all very heart-warming.
“Of course, it’s a load of old nonsense, but it is good fun and passes the time, you know.”
Clary has been a name in British comedy for almost 30 years fronting TV hits like Channel 4 game-show Sticky Moments in 1989 and Terry & Julian and Prickly Heat during the 90s.
But he is best known for his stand-up shows that have stretched the length of his career since his very early days as a gigging comic known as The Joan Collins Fanclub.
His provocative dress sense, sexual references and occasional public speeches – see the British Comedy Awards 1993 appearance – have sometimes drawn criticism, but Clary remains one of the most recognisable faces in UK comedy.
But faux-marrying a man, straight or gay, on stage in front of an audience is certainly something original and thought-provoking.
What if he actually finds someone he really likes?
Tongue in cheek, the 53-year-old said: “Well, I don’t know. My world and persona on stage is one thing, but if you are seriously suggesting that will happen, well, I just don’t know. I have a partner. So probably it is best to keep it all as fantasy, I think.
“Yes, anything could happen, so I suppose I am playing with fire. My partner hasn’t actually seen the show yet, but I am sure he will be amused.”
Clary has taken up presenting, theatre and screen-acting roles, is a journalist for the New Statesman and even became an author with both his autobiography A Young Man’s Passage and his novels Murder Most Fab, Devil In Disguise and Briefs Encountered.
Although he now enjoys the life of a country gentleman in his 16th- century Kentish farmhouse, he can’t resist the lure of live performance.
His last show Lord Of The Mince clocked up a mammoth 140 dates and his new show Position Vacant Apply Within has already been around Kent at Canterbury, Margate and Folkestone venues, with Tunbridge Wells coming up next week.
He said: “I live here, so I tend to tour here first. It is always nice to be able to get back to my own home after a gig and they are good audiences in Kent – they like a laugh.
“Touring is the thing I enjoy most – it is my own creation and I enjoy the creative process as you tour seeing the show evolve. I like making people laugh – it is a very good way to earn a living. It feels very good for my soul to send people home happy.”
Reality television has also become fertile ground for Clary, who took the runners-up position in series two of BBC’s flagship show Strictly Come Dancing and has now triumphed in the Big Brother house. Maybe his last reality experience?
“The Jungle? I don’t know how appealing that is to me because there is a bit of humiliation involved in that. There was a bit of that in BB, but not too much. I think I have now made my contribution to the genre.
“You never forget about the cameras [in the house], but you learn to live with being watched all the time. Where the stress comes in is Big Brother controlling your emotions with the tasks, the rewards, the punishments and the nominations.
“You think you can keep in your mind it is just a TV show and it is all just nonsense, but you become institutionalised after a while. That is the hard part, as well as the claustrophobia. You have no concept of people watching, really – you don’t know how it is being edited.”
Clary is a firm believer that his successful stint on the Channel Five reality show has been extremely beneficial to him both in terms of lining up new work and as personal experience.
“The reward is you discover things about yourself and, without saying that I have been on a journey, I think what I discovered is I judge people too quickly, and in fact all these people I thought were frightful when I first went in, there is actually something interesting about everybody if you can but winkle it out.
“There have been lots of TV types sniffing round and, yes, I think there will be something [a TV show] quite soon, but I won’t tell you about it until it happens because you never know. BB has paid off for me in that way as well.”
The comedian will be looking to stay friends with a few of his housemates now they are all on the outside.
“I will be friends with almost all of them because we have been through this shared experience, but Julie Goodyear in particular and Coleen Nolan is lovely. These are good people I feel I need to stay in touch with.
“I have got the tour, then panto in Southampton at Christmas, then some TV work and then another tour in the spring, and then I might write another book. So I can see the next couple of years being quite cheerful.”
But Julian Clary would not be Julian Clary without an innuendo- filled line promoting his new show…
“Because I’m still considered to be quite a catch and because the UK is noted for its heterosexuals on the cusp, there’s bound to be stiff competition. I will leave no straight unturned.”