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It's a laugh a minute with joke king Tim

As a former world record holder for telling the most jokes in an hour, Tim Vine brings a whole new meaning to quick-fire gags. He talks to Lara Page about ironing boards, one-liners and memories of the Midlands.

It's a laugh a minute with joke king Tim

As a former world record holder for telling the most jokes in an hour, Tim Vine brings a whole new meaning to quick-fire gags. He talks to Lara Page.

"So I went down my local mirror shop, and I said: 'I wanna buy a mirror, you blonde, lanky idiot!' and the bloke said: 'I'm over here, Sir' – a perfect example of the kind of clear-cut, inoffensive, laugh-out-loud one-liner that Tim Vine's fans love him best for.

And it's been an incredibly busy few years for the man Time Out refers to as the 'Supreme Punmeister'.

In 2008, he released his second critically acclaimed stand-up DVD 'So I said to this bloke...', as well as performing to thousands on his sell-out 'Punslinger' tour, starring in the third series of the BBC One sitcom Not Going Out and winning Celebrity Mastermind with his specialist subject - Elvis Presley.

Cameo

Last year, Tim performed at Melbourne Comedy Festival and had a cameo in the Aussie soap Neighbours, and this year he's already packed in an appearance on the new series of Live at the Apollo.

Currently on tour with his new show, 'The Joke-amotive', which he says "isn't all train related, you'll be pleased to know!", Tim's looking forward to returning to the West Midlands in February for two dates at Wolverhampton's Civic Hall and Birmingham's Town Hall.

"I have happy memories of Birmingham," says Tim. "My first bit of telly work was at the Pebble Mill studios. I came all the way from London on the train carrying my ironing board from home, just so I could get there and go 'This deckchair's a bit tricky to put up!'

"I'm looking forward to coming back to Wolverhampton and quite excited to see what Birmingham Town Hall's going to be like.

"Being on tour is quite full-on but it's great when you're performing to people who you know have come all that way to see you."

Trademark

Tim's trademark jokes come to him all the time, whether he's sitting in Starbucks with his laptop or wondering around his back garden in a dressing gown with a cup of tea.

And it's a good job, too, as his vast collection of one-liners flow thick and fast on stage – so fast, in fact, that in 2004 he broke the Guinness World Record for telling the most jokes – a remarkable 499 - in an hour.

"It's quite a long business getting a stand-up tour together. I have to make sure I write about 10 to 15 jokes every day and if I'm finding it hard to concentrate, I just book a room in a library and spend the day writing in peace and quiet."

Tim counts the old-school American joker Foster Brooks and the Cockney boxer-turned-stand-up-artist Ricky Grover amongst his favourite comedians, but says there'll always be a place for a good one-liner.

"I'm a bit of a comedy purist really. I think if you boil down most jokes they end up as a one-liner."

Rollercoaster

In fact, his one-liners have become so sought-after that other comedians have tried to pass off Tim's jokes as their own.

"They're repeatable and short so they're easy to copy," he says. "But on the London comedy circuit that I've come from, there's a very clear code of conduct that you don't copy other comedians' jokes."

When asked whether he finds it flattering, he replies: "Well, it's a bit like saying: 'that burglar must've really loved your DVD player to nick it!"

But stand-up is only one of the many strings to Tim's bow – he's become as popular on television as he is on stage.

Later this year, he'll start filming a new series of BBC One's Not Going Out with fellow comedian Lee Mack, as well as appearing on a bizarre new game show called Scream If You Want to Go Faster, where celebrities have to answer questions whilst hurtling through the air on a rollercoaster.

But for now he's content to be back on stage, and you can catch him at Birmingham Town Hall on February 19th (box office 0121 780 3333) or the Civic Hall in Wolverhampton on February 26 (box office 0870 320 7000).

By Lara Page

TIM VINE'S BEST GAGS

1. So I went to the butchers and the bloke said 'I bet you £10 you can't reach those two bits of meat' and I said 'I'm not betting.' He said 'Why not?', I said 'The steaks are too high.'

2. Last night I dreamed I was the author of Lord of the Rings - I was Tolkien in my sleep. Well, you've got to have a Hobbit, haven't you?

3. Black beauty – he was a dark horse.

4. So I went down my local ice-cream shop and said: "I want to buy an ice cream." The owner said: "Hundreds and thousands?" I said: "We'll start with one."

5. The other day I sent my girlfriend a huge pile of snow, then I rang her up and said 'D'you get my drift?'

6. I saw this bloke playing Dancing Queen on the Didgeridoo and I thought 'that's Aboriginal'.

7. I rang up British Telecom, I said 'I want to report a nuisance phone call!' He said 'Not you again!'

8. So I was taking the M4 out of London and this bloke said 'Put it back.'

9. I went to Alcoholics Anonymous, I said 'I can't stop gambling.' He said 'No, you want Gamblers Anonymous!' I said 'You're probably right, I'm so drunk I don't know where I am!'

10. So I said to this train driver 'I want to go to Paris', he said 'Eurostar?' I said 'Well I've been on telly but I'm not Dean Martin'.

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