After finding fame as TV's master of illusion Jonathan Creek, ALAN DAVIES returns to Edinburgh in a puff of smoke. The comedian you could bring home to your mum is ready to share some Urban Irauma.
Words: Brian Donaldson
and ’loping physicality’ are just two of the descriptions in a press release he hasn't read.
‘Blimey, it's about time I had a look at this,’ says Davies. ’I let the hair grow back four, five years ago and l was doing stand-up for years before that and going down quite well, so I’m not too worried. If I suddenly get struck down by alopecia, I don’t think the laughs will stop. As for loping, I suppose I do that. I’m not Mr McKay from Porridge.’
Those of you who only know the work of Davies through his ‘slacker Philip Marlowe’ in the BNTA Award- winning Jonathan Creek may be unsettled by his 1998 Fringe show Urban Trauma. In this show, which was a sell-out in London's West End, he tackles such heady areas as amoebic dysentery, the BSE conspiracy, women's underwear (and its capacity for shrinkage) and mouse-marauding
IS KEEPING UP cats. appearances. 'Folically over-zealous"
’I think they'd be vaguely surprised, but hopefully in a pleasant way,’ he says. ’It's certainly not Jonathan Creek who’ll be up there. That'll finally nail all those people who reckon I'm just playing myself on the telly.’
And then there are the ads for Abbey National. Isn’t there the risk of falling into the Slattery/Deayton syndrome - wherever you look and whatever channel you turn to, there they bloody well are. For Davies, it‘s very much a case of his quantity being in direct proportion to his quality. ’If I was really embarrassed by them, I'd be worried; if you're over-exposed in stuff that's OK or funny, then you’re on safe ground. But if you're over-exposed in cack telly, then you’re in trouble. And at least .I do bank with the Abbey National.’
One thing he certainly won’t be worrying about is the threat of a Perrier Award — his nomination in 1994 was met by defeat at the hands of,
'It's certainly not Jonathan Creek who'll be up there. That'll finally nail allthose people who reckon I'm just playing myself on the telly.’ Alan Davies
um, Leno and Woodley. Not that there are any hard feelings being harboured.
'One of them stayed in my flat after that Festival and shagged his girlfriend in my bed,’ reminisces Davies. 'It was a little bit of a sideshow [the Perrier, not the shagging]. On the night the Perrier was awarded, they said that, if you'd won, they'd come in at the end of the gig and give you the prize. 50 I spent the second half of it slightly distracted and the door at the back of the room kept opening and people kept going in and out of the bog. l was expecting to see the Jules Rimet trophy. At the end of the night, I said, “Thanks, goodnight," and stood there and no one came up with the prize. Anyway, I'm a big fan of Buxton and Ballygowan water. And tap water. With ice-cubes in it.’ Honest, if nothing else.
Urban ‘Irauma (Fringe) Alan Davies, Observer Assembly (Venue 3) 226 2428, 7-15 August, 9.15pm; 16-18 August,