Julian Clary talks his ‘The Joy of Mincing’ tour, hobbies and everyday life

Julian Clary

Julian Clary - Credit: Archant

Comedian, entertainer and novelist Julian Clary has taken his one-man shows around the world numerous times.

But, with his new ‘The Joy of Mincing’ run, the household name is coming to the Cambridge Corn Exchange, Bury St Edmunds’ Theatre Royal and Peterborough’s The Cresset. Here, he talks to us about the new tour, everyday life and more...

Why have you named your tour ‘The Joy of Mincing’?

I always like to get ‘mincing’ into the title. We’ve had Lord of the Mince; Natural Born Mincer; and Mincing Machine was my first tour in 1989. I don’t know why; it sets the tone, doesn’t it? I suppose mincing, apart from being a means of walking around, is a way of life. The Joy of Mincing is a declaration of the joy of life despite disapproval, perhaps.

Is the show as rude as ever - you haven’t toned things down?

No, I don’t think so. It’s the one time you can let rip a bit, on stage. I don’t want to be filthy for the sake of it, but I think it’s a comic device. You just exaggerate who you really are on stage. I’m quite fond of moments of vulgarity.

You’ve been performing for 30 years. How has comedy changed during that time?

Most Read

It’s changed beyond all recognition. It used to be an eclectic selection of people in small rooms above pubs, in the 1980s. Our comedy was a reaction against the right-wing men in bow-ties who were being offered as light entertainment in those days.

And has your comedy changed?

Yes, a bit. I think you evolve, whether you want to or not. There was a certain amount of anger and delight in confronting people when I started, which has more or less gone now. Making people laugh is my main aim in life these days. I don’t think there’s so much to be angry about now.

What sort of stories will you be telling on this tour?

Well, there’s a rather long story about how I once saved Joan Collins’s life in a swimming pool in St Tropez. It’s a true story, which I won’t give away now, but it’s a long, meandering tale that fills the first half.

Then the second half is about MBEs. I’ve noticed a lot of my friends in the business are getting these awards. They’re handing them out like Smarties. I think, ‘Ooh, I’d like one of those’, but it’s never happened so I’m obviously not favoured by the Establishment. I can only blame myself… So during the show, I give myself one and call it ‘Mincer of the British Empire’.

I’m making lots of these MBEs and handing them out to people in the audience. Just the lucky few, you understand: it’s not included in the ticket price.

I’m always looking for an excuse to talk to the audience. That’s what keeps me going.

You can get bored if you’re just reeling off the same old nonsense.

I’m always very interested in the audience and their stories. People are very funny; they never fail to amuse.

What hobbies do you have?

I used to like yoga, although I haven’t been for ages. It started morphing into an encounter group with people talking about their depression and their marriage problems. I just wanted my ham strings stretched. So I said ‘Namaste’ and didn’t return. I like pottering around my garden. Am I good? I’m very good at walking around and telling my gardener what to do.

What do you think the public perception is of you, and do you think they’d be surprised by your real life?

Maybe people imagine I’m camp and outrageous all the time and that I wear full make-up and glittery outfits when I’m at home doing the hoovering. In fact I wear just a touch of raspberry lip balm and a drip dry kimono. Just like anyone else.

What would be the best way to approach you, if somebody wanted to come and ask for an autograph?

Send a stamped addressed envelope to my agent. I jest. As long as I’m in a good mood I’ll oblige. Autographs, selfies, a sample of my DNA, you only have to ask.

Your children’s book, The Bolds, was hugely successful. Did you feel any pressure writing the second one?

No. I’m onto my third now. They flow out of me, I don’t know where they’re all coming from. It’s delightful; I just have such a lovely time writing them. Making children laugh is a whole new thing for me, it’s lovely. No child pretends to laugh - it’s very genuine. It’s obviously a world away from my usual filth but that’s liberating. A whole new world.

Julian Clary comes to the Cambridge Corn Exchange on October 13, the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds on October 29 and The Cresset, Peterborough on November 2.