'It's not a pantomime show, but it is a pantomime audience' says funnyman Milton
OFF-THE-WALL comic Milton Jones has just started a new national tour which comes to the Princess Theatre, Torquay, and Plymouth Pavilions in March.
The multi-award winning comedian and Mock the Week and Radio 4 star has spent weeks tweaking the show.
"It won't change the lives of people who see it, in terms of their political opinions, or make them better people, but if they want some stupid fun for a couple of hours than come along," said Milton.
"I get a mixed crowd in every night. I recently saw a tweet to say at one of my shows there was an old age pensioner sitting near a Goth. It's not a pantomime show, but it's a pantomime audience."
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He's prepared a whole host of new jokes as well as new loud and bright shirts, his trademark, for the tour.
"It centres around a mixture of jokes about everyday life and more importantly one liners. There's also music, drawings and crowd interaction," he said.
"I spend my life turning situations upside down and creating one-liners, I'm always on the lookout for ideas."
To prepare for the show he did a series of 'work in progress' gigs to make sure he was on the right track with his new material.
"I went to far flung places I'm never going to visit again," he joked.
"Sometimes I try my routine out on my wife and children while we are sitting at the dinner table and I say to them they can't eat until they laugh at the jokes, that way they've got a vested interest in whether it works or not.
"There's no other way of finding out whether something works or not.
"Jokes I don't think will work, or I make up on the spot, work, which can sometimes take you by surprise. You have to keep moving and trying new things all the time."
As a youngster he wanted to be an actor, but found being funny was where his heart lies.
"There are several university courses now where you can do stand-up, but that wasn't the case when I was young," he said.
"I originally wanted to get into acting, but the trouble with that is you are always waiting for the phone to ring. With comedy you can book yourself for an open spot and just get up there and do it.
"It took me a long time to establish myself and develop my act, but that gradually took over from my acting aspirations.
"By doing comedy, I don't have to be in a play I won't enjoy or tour with people I don't like."
He said he's happy to just stand up on stage on his own and perform and looks up to the likes of Bill Bailey, Harry Hill and Ross Noble for inspiration.
"I like watching comedians who are pushed out of their comfort zone," he said.
"The only problem I have with watching another comedian is I find I analyse their jokes rather than laugh out loud.
"I like comedians who challenge my brain rather than rehash material."
The funnyman has taken home a gong for the Perrier Best Newcomer and the Sony Award for his radio show the Very World of Milton Jones.
He's chuffed to get the credit for his work.
"Comedy is an industry which has a lot of awards, but it's the same as being a doctor with letters after his name. People will think 'oh, he must be good', which is nice," he said.
As well as TV work, stand-up and his radio show, he's also written a novel, Where Do Comedians Go When They Die?
"The book was a little project about being a comedian, but it's more than that," he said.
"It's about travelling and going to places and trying to make people smile even if you are having a bad day," said Milton.
"You can't afford to be unreliable and have an off-day."
Milton was also on our screens recently when he appeared on Mastermind and selected potatoes as his specialist subject.
"I was approached to appear on the show and, as it was for charity, I couldn't turn it down," he said.
"I thought I wouldn't get the chance again. It was fun to sit in the chair and hear the famous music, but I did get nervous.
"The biggest fear I had was forgetting everything. I thought the subject, potatoes, was so obscure it could be funny.
"I never knew there was so much to know about potatoes. Next time, I'll choose radishes as there can't be so much to learn about them. I now bore people with my knowledge of the humble vegetable."
Milton Jones, On the Road, plays the Princess Theatre, Torquay, on March 8 and Plymouth Pavilions on March 9.