Greg Davies interview: stand-up, The Inbetweeners, We Are Klang, Avatar and Question Time
Greg Davies chats to us about his new stand-up DVD, The Inbetweeners Movie, and people shouting at him in the street...
Comfortably one of the best stand-up DVDs of the season is Greg Davies’ debut disc, Firing Cheeseballs At A Dog. It tops a strong year for Davies, who has been touring his show, appeared in The Inbetweeners Movie and then released this disc. And he spared us a little time to talk about it.
A tour of the size of the one you’re undertaking is a pretty mammoth thing to do. How are you finding it?
I absolutely love it. I only intended to do 40 odd dates and the fact that we've been able to extend the tour twice is a pleasing as it was surprising.
Of course there's a lot of travel and it can be tiring, but how any comedian could complain about the fact that people want to pay to see you do something you love is beyond me. This answer will make my support act for the tour - Ed Gamble - roll his eyes as he knows that I am such a moany twat. I stand by the principle of the answer though.
Would you say you found comedy at the right time, in that you’d built up a wealth of autobiographical material you can dip into to structure your act around?
I would say the more significant factor of my starting late is that I developed a sufficiently thick skin to be able to - just about - handle the knocks that a fledgling comedian takes. I am amazed and impressed by 18 year olds with the confidence to try this ridiculous business.
Naturally as my current show is largely storytelling it has been handy to have stories to tell but one of the great things about stand-up is that you have absolute creative control and you are always evolving. It's entirely possible that my next show will not be anecdotal. Probably will be of course.
How has the audience of your stand-up shows differed as The Inbetweeners grew in popularity? Does it change what kind of things they’re shouting out at you? How have audiences managed to surprise you?
It's a strange old thing but I think an awful lot of Inbetweeners fans still don't realise I'm a stand-up. That's not to say that my tour audiences haven't been hugely swelled of people who saw me as Mr Gilbert first, but they seem aware that I have been a comedian for some time and as a consequence it rarely gets commented on.
Don't worry though, in high streets around the country teenagers are regularly heckling me, something that Iain Morris [The Inbetweeners co-creator and co-writer] thinks is absolutely fucking hilarious. I sometimes think his sole reason for casting me was to ensure the end to peaceful shopping.
Have you been tempted to skew your act in the light of the popularity of Mr Gilbert?
Well I have a bit in as far as I've kept his face. I tried to rip it off but it's a lot harder than you might imagine.
No I haven't. Firstly, he is a total psychopath and secondly any comedian who attempts to modify what they do for the wrong reasons inevitably stops being as funny. I imagine. I don't know any comedians who've tried it. It's probably true though.
What have you made of the response to the film, though? How do you wrap your head around the fact that it was doing bigger numbers than Avatar in the UK?
Well yes, I mean we suspected it would do pretty well purely because of the amazing response the three series received, but to be out selling James Cameron and his massive tree lizards was a very pleasant surprise. I must go and see Avatar by the way, I was put off by a friend who told me it 'sucked a fat dog’s cock,' but his reviews have often turned out to be less generous than they might have been.
Onto other things, then! Would you look to do anything else with We Are Klang?
We haven't got any plans, but we've never said well, that's that then, so who knows.
So what kind of projects are you looking at next? Are you writing and developing anything yourself?
Yes I hope that next year will be largely dominated by writing narrative comedy. I have a couple of projects that I'm loving working on. Also I'm looking forward to developing a new stand-up show. As of the release of this DVD I am a comedian with absolutely no material, which is a strangely exciting place to be.
Comedy has been a second career for you, it always seems. Do you have a third one in mind that you’d like to try?
No. I didn't want to do the first one I simply didn't have the courage to try comedy until I was far too old to be trying comedy. I love what I'm doing and will continue to do it and there's nothing you can do to stop me. Maniacal laugh.
Given that there’s an increased breadth as to what comedians seem to be offered now, then, what have been the best and worst offers you’ve received? Have you had the call from Question Time, yet?
Strangely I haven't yet. They're missing a trick too as I am easily as politically astute as, say, a dead pig. I've politely declined a few reality type things, but generally have been asked to do things that I'd enjoy. I'll be doing less in the new year so I can get some writing done.
You proved to be an excellent liar on Would I Lie To You the other week. Which are the panel shows that you really enjoy the most? How do they differ in terms of the expectation on you?
For me they all bring the same pressure, that of attempting to be funny on the spot. Of course there is some level of pre-preparation depending on the show, but they all require you to be in the zone and firing on all cylinders as soon as the cameras roll. The build up to any of those shows is mentally knackering as a result.
Again though, I'm not moaning - I used to have a real job. This is playtime. I usually end up looking back on any of those shows having enjoyed them. I hosted Never Mind The Buzzcocks the other week, which was proper fun, Tynchy Stryder is my new hero.
If you get nerves building up to the panel shows, how did you feel the same way when it came to filming the stand-up show for DVD? How easy was it to find your natural rhythm with the cameras following you on stage?
It was one of the hardest things I've had to do. When you've worked hard on a show the knowledge that this is the one that will be captured on film is psychologically challenging. I filmed two shows in one night and thank god for the second...
Finally, Amazon says that if we buy your DVD, we should also pick up a copy of Green Lantern. What would you recommend as the ideal companion to your new disc?
Well, yes. I have always very much seen myself as a member on an 'intergalactic police force,' so that is the perfect companion to my show. In fact I forbid anyone to buy my show without also purchasing the Green Lantern and have already spent any future earnings on the DVD installing technology that destroys the disc player of anyone who has dared to buy my show without also purchasing the aforementioned Green Lantern.
What is the Green Lantern?
Greg Davies, thank you very much.
Firing Cheeseballs At A Dog is available on DVD and Blu-ray now. It is ace, too.
Follow our Twitter feed for faster news and bad jokes right here. And be our Facebook chum here.