You’ve got that weird straight road, and no motorways, comedian Bob Mills sums up Norfolk
As comedian Bob Mills prepares for his stand-up show at St. George’s Theatre in Great Yarmouth later this month, Becky Murphy spoke to the 57-year-old, well known for his television show ‘In Bed with Medinner’, about his up-and-coming gig and previous visits to the county.
What can the audience look forward to from your show?
They can expect ten minutes about how difficult it is to get to Great Yarmouth. You’ve got that weird straight road [the A47 Acle Straight] and you haven’t got those things called motorways. Someone told me that sometimes there are accidents on the long road because people drive off it because it is so straight. I’ve got an hour long set. Some nights I will just do the 60 minute set, others I’ll add to it. But doing what is prepared can be disappointing. I’m going to talk about Yarmouth and what I see. I usually get the local paper, look at the headlines and see what I can get from those.
You’ve been to Great Yarmouth before and you regularly visit Norwich...
I did a really strange gig at a holiday camp in Yarmouth this year and I have done a few gigs at Potters and a few other places along the coast. I love those sorts of places, because the big corporate clubs are not as much fun as places like Yarmouth. People at the smaller gigs are actually coming out to have a good time. I go to Norwich a lot and there is a nice comedy club there, the Red Card Comedy Club at Carrow Road. I do a show in Norwich about twice a year.
Do you enjoy doing the stand-up shows after so many years?
I love it and I’m very lucky to be doing it. I’ve done it for 30 years now and this is all I have ever wanted to do. It is a nice feeling when you get to do something you enjoy. I also get to do shows like talkSPORT and Radio 5 Live. A lot of comedy now is cynical and angry and I do a set which is edgy, but I have a happy outlook on life.
What was your inspiration for becoming a comedian?
I had just got married and our daughter was very young, I was about 27 years-old. My wife and I went out to see a film, but when we got there it had already started. We decided to go a pub in Islington and there was a comedy show on. It was brilliant. I really liked it and thought I’d like to do it. I hadn’t thought about becoming a comedian before. I left school at 15 and left my home in Chester to join the navy in Gravesend but left the navy quickly, I realised I had made a mistake.
As well as stand-up, you’ve written screenplays; do you enjoy writing as much as stand-up?
I’ve written a few series on TV. I wrote some episodes of Shameless, a sitcom for Michael Barrymore and a show which stared Robson Green and Mark Benton. I also wrote a film called Pierrepoint, about Albert Pierrepoint who was a hangman.
Because of stand-up I got into television and was offered the opportunity to do other things. But once I’ve finished writing I still can’t wait to get back to stand-up. I’m just going to do stand-up now. It sounds glamorous writing screenplays and it is amazing, but it is also boring. With stand-up you do it there and then and people either like it or they don’t. It’s the best feeling in the world when they do like it. Stand-up is an organic and on-going thing. Some things I will say at my Yarmouth show, I’ll never use again. Over the years you do get bits you’re fond of so you keep them in.
Tell us about any embarrassing moments?
I had a TV programme on channel four called ‘The Show’, which was a chat show but the whole week leading up to the show was filmed and then we made the actual chat show and edited them together. It was like a documentary about a chat show. One of my guests was an American comedian. I had been having problems with my back so I had a reflexologist before the show started. I did my opening monologue and then started to interview the comedian and as she started telling a story I feel asleep because I was so relaxed. I tried to play it off and act as if I had been deep in thought.
Also, another time, I had finished a gig in Leicester Square and was off to do another gig. I walked into the club, grabbed a drink and went on stage, apologised for being late and started my set. Then I saw the MC looking at me and there was another comic standing at the side of the stage. I’d gone into the wrong club. I had to tell the audience that I hope they enjoyed my set but I’m going to have to stop because I’m at the wrong club.
Bob Mills will be at St George’s Theatre on Thursday, August 21 21st at 8pm. Tickets £12. For more information visit, stgeorgestheatre.com or call, 01493 331484