Julian Clary has a simple – if eyebrow-raising – reason for loving being back on the road with his new show, Born To Mince, at the Music Hall this week.
“It’s such a joy and a relief to be back doing it,” said the comedian. “I’ve done lots of other things, I’ve been doing a play, I did panto, but there is a build-up of a need to be really filthy, which has to come out somehow.
“So it’s satisfying me on a very deep level.”
Which means the Music Hall audience on Wednesday April 6 can look forward to “shamelessly low-brow comedy that will leave you feeling slightly grubby”, promises Julian, referring to his renowned outrageously camp stand-up.
“My liking of filth, I think is expected of me. It’s funny isn’t it, innuendo and sexual matters. We live in very liberated times and you talk about anything but to play on words somehow makes it very funny – and it’s very childish,” he said.
Julian Clary’s show gives permission to be silly for a couple of hours
“So what happens in my show is permission to be silly for a couple of hours. And when the world is a bit grim, it’s quite good for us, it’s therapeutic.”
Julian says his show is “a load of old nonsense, really… there’s nothing profound going on”.
“It’s a lot of talk and chat about my life, what I’ve been up to and working with Donny Osmond, which I did last Christmas – which as a comedian was a bit of a gift in terms of us being from different worlds.”
His show also sees audience participation with his “heterosexual aversion therapy” involving men asked up on stage to be wired up to helmets and an electric shock machine – allegedly.
“I show them photographs of Anne Widdecombe and Joan Collins and if they show any flicker of activity in the trouser department, they are given an electric shock. It’s just a device to mess around with people, but you never know what’s going to happen when you are dealing with the general public.”
Julian acknowledges that edgy jokes centred around audience members have their dangers.
Julian Clary says Will Smith’s Oscar slap was ‘awful’
The world saw the consequences comedy can bring due to the Oscars scandal when Will Smith smacked Chris Rock after the host made a joke about his wife.
“I thought it was a terrible joke to make, but I did feel for Chris Rock, because I’ve done that in the past,” said Julian. “You say the wrong thing, it seems funny in your head but when you say it offends someone. I’ve done that a lot in my time.
“But Will Smith’s reaction was awful. You can’t go around smacking people in the face.”
Shock factor was very much at play when Julian started his career back in the 1980s. One notorious joke about then Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont at the 1993 British Comedy Awards sparked a campaign to have him banned from TV.
At the time his humour was cutting edge and with no holds barred jokes about gay life and particularly sex. But he has mellowed over the decades and no longer aims to shock.
“That was back in the day when homophobia felt to me like a result of ignorance, well any prejudice comes from fear and ignorance.
“So I thought I’ll demystify the whole thing. People were horrified about the mechanics of gay sex, so that’s why I went down that route of being very explicit and graphic.
Julian wants to get big belly laughs from everyone in the Music Hall
“I used to enjoy the gasps from people in Harrogate. But that’s not the case anymore. We have all evolved.
“So for me, it’s about laughter and the quality of the laughter. I want a big belly laugh, there’s something joyful about getting a theatre full of people all doing that at the same time. That’s what I set out to achieve now, rather than shocking people.”
For Born To Mince, as well as his comedy, Julian will be bursting into song from time – with tunes such as Keep Young And Beautiful – and one number written by Gary Wilmot.
“It’s quite a rude song and not the sort of thing you would expect from a family entertainer like Gary Wilmot. I was quite surprised.”
Once the tour finishes up on May 1, after a six-date run at London’s Bloomsbury Theatre, Julian – an accomplished writer, stalwart of pantos as well as a previous Strictly Come Dancing contestant – plans to have a rest for the summer.
“I want to be a bit domestic and be at home with my husband and the dogs for the summer. Then I’m going to write a book.
“I’m going to do a murder mystery book. I like a change of direction from making people laugh to murdering them.”
How to get tickets to see Julian Clary at the Music Hall
But before he hangs up the mic for a while, Julian is looking forward to arriving in Aberdeen, a city he always enjoys visiting. And he hopes the audience will enjoy Born To Mince.
“It’s a release, so forget all your troubles, leave all that behind and come and have a laugh. Then I’ll have a laugh as well.”
For more information and tickets for Julian Clary in Born To Mince at the Music Hall, visit aberdeenperformingarts.com