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Lifestyle & Leisure

A numbers game

Wednesday, 5th September, 2018 4:31pm

In a world where art often seems to double up as social commentary, you’d be forgiven for thinking light-heartedness was a lost art.

Enter the cartoonish, quick-quipping and jovial Tim Vine. The UK comedian has been delivering one-liners onstage and on screen for 20 years, counting a number of Best Joke awards at Edinburgh Fringe Festival and a role in BBC sitcom ‘Not Going Out’ among his achievements.

As he prepares to launch his Sunset Milk Idiot tour to Cork next week, the Londoner is in fine fettle.

“We were almost thinking of redoing the posters for the Irish leg of the tour and calling it Sunset Milk Eejit instead, just to localize it a bit!” he jokes.

The tour will feature Vine’s signature quirks – “lots and lots of stupid jokes, silly songs and props, all family-friendly”.

“It’s not a kids’ show, but also it’s the kind of show where a dad can bring his 12 year old son, you know, and not have to hear anything they have to spend half an hour explaining when they go home,” he says.

Vine is nothing if not prolific; he once broke the record for number of jokes told in an hour – 499 was the magic number, should you wonder – and believes he still holds the honour in Europe at least. Raised on a diet of comedy greats such as Ken Dodd and Tommy Cooper, the 51 year old credits what he calls an “uneventful, middle-class upbringing” for his style of performance.

“I never had that much to complain about, so when I wrote I did one liners. It wasn’t a conscious thing. Some are good, some are rubbish; what’s important is to write a lot, try it out. If they don’t laugh, cross it out. If they laugh, keep it. It’s always a pleasant surprise when something gets a big laugh and you think ‘ooh, that’s a keeper!’”

Vine’s Cork Opera House show will be his first visit Leeside in over 20 years, something he says is not down to anything sinister, but rather logistical issues.

“I’ve got too many flippin’ props! The trouble with touring is that the way it often goes is something like Portsmouth, then Dublin, then Newcastle... and it’s just impossible to bring all my stuff across and back. My last tour had me coming out of a chimney, and I couldn’t well take that in my hand luggage could I? But we’re doing eight shows and having a proper Irish adventure this time, so it’s gonna be fun.”

With Vine’s track record, can we expect more than 499 jokes?

“I can promise quantity, if not quality,” he laughs. “There will be hundreds upon hundreds of jokes that’ll laugh their socks off – best to come in flip flops!”

See Tim Vine’s Sunset Milk Idiot Tour at Cork Opera House on Monday 10 September at 8pm.

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