This section features a series of probing questions asked by you and answered, comprehensively, by me. You can ask anything, from real soul-searchers, to how you can book me to appear in your play/sitcom/film/radio show, or bring laughter to your club/theatre/festival/wake. Remember, comedy is an art form, and I do it for the love of the genre, but as Gwen Guthrie so succinctly put it, in 1986, Ain’t Nothin Going On But The Rent. To clarify, it means there will probably be a fee. I am not, nor have I ever been, a male escort.
Q Hi Mike. I recently saw your stand-up comedy at a leading comedy club, and I was stunned by how funny you were. At one point I begged for help from my wife, because I was laughing so hard that I could not breathe. The problem was, she was laughing even harder than me! And then I looked around, and although my eyes were streaming with tears of joy, I could make out that everyone in the top-class venue, from teenagers to people in late middle-age, were in a similar predicament! You should come with a health warning! But seriously Mike, have you always been so insanely funny?
John, Leighton Buzzard.
A Hi John. In a nutshell, yes! In the 1970’s I would entertain my parents friends in the sitting room ‘Hey Bob and Lynne!’ they would exclaim, ‘Forget the Cinzano, get little Mikey down here, last time he did some of his stand-up comedy we nearly choked on our After Eights!’ And that early insight into what it felt like to give the gift of laughter shaped my life. I felt a calling to be a comedian. It was something that came so naturally to me it was absolutely no surprise to anyone when I leapt straight into the world of comedy, after brief spells as a pensions administrator, civil servant, ten years of teaching full-time and two years of doing supply teaching to supplement the fortune I was raking in doing middle tens at comedy nights in pubs.
Q Hi Mike, just a quick question, and I’m sorry to go ‘off subject’, but have you ever done any modelling work? You are one seriously hot bit of stuff, and when I’m not doubled-up with laughter at your gigs I’m undressing you with my eyes! Sorry! But it’s true!
A Hi Jane. I get asked that a lot, and the answer is no! It’s not my thing. In that respect I’m just like Jermaine Stewart, that is to say, I’m not a piece of meat, stimulate my brain! If I’m a fantasy figure to women (or men!), then it’s a by-product of what I do, it doesn’t define me. So I’m flattered, but please stop virtually taking off my trousers when I’m on stage, to reveal my figure-hugging, ‘packed’ underwear, and tanned, muscular thighs.
Q Hi Mike, when is your US tour? Asking for a friend.
A Hi Ian. I have tried to let you down gently in the past, but now I’m going to have to be cruel to be kind. There is no us. Okay? And certainly no us tour. What happened happened. But then you went and married my sister. Yes, I will still crack you up at family gatherings. Yes, you can still tell all your friends that I’m your brother, although technically untrue. But as far as I’m concerned that the extent of us. Full stop. Or period, as you Americans incorrectly say.
Q Hi Mike, sorry to go off topic, but I’ve just returned from a trip to the USA and it was sunny and rather hot. My American colleagues kept going on about it being ‘100 degrees’, but it wasn’t hot enough to boil water. Can you explain what they were on about?
Paul Curtis, address withheld
A Hi Paul, you’ve stumbled on an enduring mystery – why do Americans insist on doing everything differently? I remember visiting my sister in New York a couple of years back, and the chap on the TV said the temperature was ’30 degrees’. Naturally I walked to the local store (shop) to buy some homo (full fat milk) and a wiener (sausage), wearing only my nut huggers (Speedo swim briefs) and Hawaiian Tropic Factor 2 (same). It might have been a visual treat for the locals, but I nearly lost four toes. It was 30 degrees FARENHEIT, or as the rest of the world call it -1 degree Celsius! On my return I talked to a mathematician friend of mine who taught me this handy rhyme to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius, so that I would never get caught out again. And now I’m teaching it to you-
‘Take away just 32, if indeed you’re able,
Multiply what’s left by 5, use a five times table,
When that number is revealed, divide it quick by 9,
If you find that sum too hard, then, quite frankly, you deserve to burn or freeze.’
He is a below average poet, in fairness. But his maths (NOT math) is spot on. And remember, it’s important to know the outside temperature at one of my gigs. Why? Because you’d better believe that the roof will be coming off!