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      Paul Tonkinson


      Paul Tonkinson is a comic with a polished line in mimicry who manages to ridicule most of the UK, and abroad, at the same time. Time Out Comedian of the Year and Channel 4 star, best known for his time as a Big Breakfast presenter.


      THIS IS YOUR FIRST HEADLINING TOUR, WHAT TOOK SO LONG?
      I’ve done little tours and forays but I suppose it’s just because I’ve been doing other stuff really, especially radio and telly. I’ve been sufficiently busy that it’s never really opened up to me but now seems like the right time to do a proper UK tour.


      YOU WON SOME HIGH PROFILE AWARDS EARLY ON IN YOUR CAREER AND MOVED QUICKLY INTO TV. HOW DID YOU START OUT?

      I was the joker of the class but I never really considered it as a profession. Then I got into University in Manchester to do drama, more of a fluke really. I was going to do politics in Leicester and they called me first so I did that and I just started performing my own stuff to other students and quickly realised I could do it aged 18/19. From then on I just thought ‘lets do it’ but I wanted to be a footballer and loads of other things but it just developed. There wasn’t that many people around when I started off so if you were any good you just sailed through very quickly.


      YOU WRITE A COLUMN FOR ‘RUNNERS WORLD’ I’M ASSUMING YOU LIKE RUNNING?

      Yes I do a monthly column. I run because it’s really easy to be unhealthy when you do stand up, when you walk off stage and start boozing or drive home and eat loads of rubbish food and late nights. A lot of people just get a bit lardy and unhealthy. I play football and I ran loads as a kid but it’s just something I started doing 6 or 7 years ago. I enjoy it and feel loads better and it’s undoubtedly good for your head. You have some really good ideas when you’re running but you havn’t got anything to write them down onto so you have to run home fast before you forget them. The column keeps me running as well, a lot of people really enjoy the column and it’s something I always wanted to do when I used to read the magazine.


      SO YOU CAN’T STOP NOW EVEN IF YOU WANT TO?
      Yeah! exactly. I’m committed.


      YOU DID THE THE FIRST GIG IN IRAQ AFTER THE WAR OFFICIALLY FINISHED. IS IT DIFFICULT TO BE FUNNY IN PLACES LIKE IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN?

      It was actually quite surreal. I was out in the desert on stage with tanks on either side. There was me, Bjorn Again and a Bee Gees tribute. The atmosphere then was quite buoyant but as morale fades and these conflicts get more complicated it undoubtedly gets harder. I’m not pro-war at all, I’m interested in people. I’ve done gigs where it’s stopped because there's a mortar attack and literally half way through a gag everyone hits the floor including me and then the gig stops for a few minutes and when the siren lifts you just get up and start telling jokes again. It’s unusual but mostly I’ve felt safe. I’m no hero, sometimes you’ll land with no lights on the plane or helicopter because of security risks or the helicopter lands and you have to sprint out before it takes off again. Things like that don’t come naturally to me but the guys there live like that every day so you just muck in for a few days.


      AND AT LEAST YOU’RE A GOOD RUNNER.

      Exactly, bit of interval training. Get your head down and leggit!


      I BELIEVE YOU ARE WORKING ON A NEW SITCOM. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT IT?
      It’s called Insecurity and it’s about two guys who work in security. Two night security guards. I really enjoyed making the pilot and it’s

      in development at the moment so I hope we can do something. My main focus is always on stand up really because it’s so immediate and it’s something you can control. You can think up funny ideas and tell them that night.


      YOU ARE AN AVID MAN U SUPPORTER ARE YOU EXPECTING ANY HECKLERS?

      As I get older I must admit I take it a bit less seriously than I used to which is probably a good thing. I’ve always enjoyed gigging in Liverpool. There are some great comedy clubs there. The Slaughterhouse and Rawhide are great clubs and just fantastic crowds. Very honest, genuine crowds and with a natural wit themselves of course. It’s always good fun to gig in Liverpool.


      YOU GET NAMECHECKED BY A LOT OF OTHER COMEDIANS WHO SPEAK HIGHLY ABOUT YOU. WHO DO YOU ADMIRE YOURSELF AND IS THERE ANY UP AND COMING TALENT?

      There's a kid coming through called Josh Widdicombe who’s a funny lad with really good gags and there's a funny comedian from Oldham called Steve Shanyaski who’s very funny, like Peter Kay but with a bit more edge but the standards generally very high at the moment.


      AND WHO INSPIRED YOU WHEN YOU WERE LEARNING?
      The first comic I actually saw live was Jimmy Tarbuck in scarborough when I was 8 years old and I remember thinking ‘this is quite good fun’ and when I got older Richard Pryor was the main one just because he was so natural and physical and just hilarious and British comics like Billy Connolly who is just a master story-teller.


      You can catch Paul Tonkinson at The Slaughterhouse on Sunday 18th November ||

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