Very few stand up comedians have made me laugh till it hurts. Michael Redmond is a bit of a legend so I was delighted he was up for answering some questions...
Harry Pye: What are your fondest memories of the late Sean Hughes? Did you have much contact with him in recent years?
Michael Redmond: "Sean and I arrived in London around the same time, by arrangement, to try our luck on the comedy circuit in 1987. We shared a grim bedsit together in Turnpike Lane for over a year. We were both on a quest to make a mark on the London comedy circuit. I remember it as an exciting, largely happy time.I didn't have a lot of contact with Sean in recent years as I've been living in Scotland for nearly twenty years. However, I did meet him at this years' Edinburgh festival where I was performing my show, coincidentally entitled, " I WROTE A JOKE IN 1987 " but he seemed a bit poorly."
In the late 1980s when I was a teenager I used to see you perform at clubs in South London such as Deptford's Albany Empire. Does South London have a place in your heart?
"I have huge affection for London in general. It was the place that gave me an opportunity to perform comedy as there were quite a few great comedy clubs around then, Deptfords Albany Empire being one, which I think was run by the late Addison Cresswell. There were also Malcolm Hardee's Tunnel Club, The Red Rose in Finsbury Park and of course The Comedy Store. Great times!"
Who have been your favourite M.C.s and comperes? Who was always fun to work with? What qualities should a good compere have?
"I would have to say Arthur Smith was/is the doyen of comperes and always good fun. Ivor Dembina always did a great job at the Red Rose Club as well. I think the job of a compere is to make the audience relax and get them focused for the acts, as well as being funny. I think it's probably the hardest job in comedy and hugely under-rated."
What's your idea of a perfect day or brilliant evening?
"Beautiful wine, beautiful food, and if there's a beautiful woman available as an added bonus."
Are there any politicians alive today that you admire or would like to meet?
Did you ever get into the plays of Harold Pinter?
"I remember occasionally people saying that my stage act was similar to a character in a Harold Pinter play, but the truth is I have never seen any of his plays. I haven't made a point of avoiding them in particular but I rarely go to the theatre. I don't know if it's because you're sitting in the dark but anytime I've gone, I've usually ended up falling asleep."
Do you like the line "But I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now" from Bob Dylan's My Back Pages
- do you relate to Dylan / own any of his albums?
"I do love that line and had never heard it before. I realise Dylan wrote some great lyrics but the if I'm honest, the sound of his singing voice always grated on me. It always reminded me of a vacuum cleaner. When I was growing up, my icons were comedians rather than musicians. My hero is Peter Cook..." If dolphins are supposed to be as clever as humans, then name me a fucking dolphin who's ever written a decent stage Play "...or words to that effect."
What kind of comedy films or radio shows did your parents enjoy? Was your home a happy one?
"My father loved the Marx brothers films, Groucho in particular, and I think that was my first introduction to comedy films. I loved the madness and chaos of them and some of Groucho's one liners were fantastic. I also loved The Goon Show on radio. It was genius and totally ground breaking. My childhood wasn't particularly unhappy, shall we say!"
Is there a stand-up comedian around now that you feel inferior to? Is there anyone you would just refuse to go on stage after they'd done their act?
"I wouldn't say that I feel inferior to anyone else as such, but I can stand back and admire other comedians with a degree of healthy envy . I have yet to meet any comedian whom I wouldn't follow on stage."
What are you working on at the moment? Do you have any big 5 year plans?
"I was recently commissioned by Channel 4 to write a sitcom pilot and I just submitted the final draft this week. It's set in a small town in Ireland and centres around the somewhat dysfunctional characters that can inhabit small towns."
What's the punchline to your favourite joke?
"Which came as a bit of a shock to my parents who were both Protestants."
Have you been lucky in love?
"At times lucky, at times extremely unlucky!"
I've attached 3 j-pegs. One is a painting by George Stubbs
("A Gentleman Upon A Grey Hunter" 1781), the second is a painting from 1967 by Bridget Riley called "Cataract",
the third is a painting Philip Guston made in 1969 called "The Studio" - which of these three impresses you most and which do you have the least time for?
"I like the one called " The Studio ". ..not sure why. Good colours and big hands!. I don't like the one of the hunter on the horse, fair too formal for my taste."
What is your idea of beauty in nature?
"When the sun shines on everything. I live in Glasgow and love the place but the sky is very often grey and gloomy."
Michael Redmond's Sunday Service
takes place at 9pm on the 22nd October at 333 Woodlands Road, Glasgow, Glasgow, G3 6NG For more info: http://www.thestand.co.uk