STAR INTERVIEW: Jasper’s ready to Stand Up and Rock with latest tour

Jasper Carrott
Jasper Carrott

The man once dubbed the Godfather of British comedy may have amassed a pension pot to enjoy the most leisurely of retirements but Birmingham’s best-loved funnyman is far from finished, he says.

In fact Jasper Carrott – born Robert Norman Davis – is entering his 70th year with gusto, taking on an enormous 50-date tour alongside long-term musical pal, Bev Bevan, of ELO and The Move.

Stand Up and Rock, his first string of shows since 1998, is due to come to Royal & Derngate in Northampton on September 4, featuring Carrot’s trademark wry material, coupled with music from some of the Midlands’ finest.

And the Solihull stand-up said he just could not resist the call of the stage.

“We did three shows earlier in the year and the crowd went bananas, so we decided to do a few more,” he said

“I guess we are catering for an audience that isn’t really catered for any more.

“It’s all music from the sixties and seventies. The comedy is responsible; no-one is going to be offended by the language.

“We know we’ve got the content right, we just want to get out there now and start doing the show,” he said.

Far from peddling out a best-of reel of popular gags and characters, Carrot has prepared for the tour by getting back-to-basics.

The gagster took the decision to perform a number of low-key shows on the Midlands’ club circuit – where he made his name in the 1970s – in order to road test his 

new material.

Shocked punters at Birmingham’s Glee Club even witnessed the veteran take to the stage unannounced at an open-mic night, alongside a bill of absolute beginners, as part of his preparations.

He explained: “Playing to two and three thousand seater stadiums is great, but doing that eyeball-to-eyeball stuff is really exciting.

“Derngate will actually be the largest place I’ve played; the rest are only 700 seaters.

“I wanted to get back that excitement of being there on your own, with nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.”

But the move to swap theatres for smaller venues, Carrot says, was more than simply a nostalgic thrill.

With a new set focussing on ageing, the tribulations of modern life, and even the amount of fluoride in water, the grandfather of six said it was important to road-test a difficult set of subject matters before hitting the road again.

He said: “This was tough to write because it’s so hard to be funny by saying what’s wrong with so many things.

“If it was up to me, I would be out there for half-an-hour giving a lecture, but that would be very boring.”

Carrot, a Bafta-award winner, whose career of numerous television outings saw him awarded an OBE in 2003, says he still finds time to visit each stop of his tour before the show in order to glean some local material.

“This will be the 40th year of me coming to Northampton and it has changed a lot over the years,” he said.

“I love locality. So it’s good to come and get a feel for the place.”

Jasper Carrott visits Royal & Derngate on Thursday, September 4. Tickets start at £27. For details, call 01604 624811.