Interview: Dave Spikey | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Dave Spikey is perhaps most recognisable from his various TV appearances; whether it be Phoenix Nights (which he also co-wrote), as an original team captain on 8 Out Of 10 Cats or even host of the relaunched Bullseye. He’s never lost his thirst for comedy though, and it’s as a stand-up comedian where he thrives; the love of performing comedy seeing him embark on his fifth tour, in a show almost about comedy itself. He brings his new show Punchlines to The Tyne Theatre & Opera House, Newcastle on Thursday 31st March.

I spoke to Dave at length about this show, what’s it’s about, what to expect; and it was with an excitement evident in his voice, he explained how this show started to form, “you just get these little gems of ideas…I was in the pub chatting with mates and we just had this idea; if you just said the punchline, would you still laugh?” A second moment, after taking his Mum to hospital and being sat reading a magazine in the waiting room, a chance article gave further inspiration, “the brain is a pattern making machine. That’s why, once you’ve heard a joke you never laugh at it again. I wondered if I could challenge that, if I could give the audience a load of punchlines right at the beginning of the show; so I project them on the screen. There’s about six or seven and I go through them and say in the second half of the show ‘I’m gonna do the jokes and stories to cover those punchlines and you’re still gonna laugh.'”

“And the rest of the show examines how I’m gonna make that happen, how we tell a joke, the devices at a comedian’s disposal, ” he explained further. Utilising projections and still managing to be inventive after decades performing, it was interesting to hear Dave explain where he feels his comedy is at, “It’s a little bit of a challenge, rather than just go on and tell stories, observational stuff; I mean, you are what you are. I was struggling to find themes, so I thought, let’s try this.” The show is one that sees a comedian still evolving even after years in the business, “I have changed quite a bit. Part of that process is that your audience grows with you.”

There’s some nights on stage where you hit them with something and you get a massive laugh and all the hairs on your neck stand on end and then you think in the back of your head, ‘yeah, I’ve got a better one coming up’. It’s gonna be great.

As soon as we started speaking about performing, his love of it was evident, “there’s no better buzz,” though, an intelligent and immensely self-aware man, he followed on “I still get very nervous, you’re bound to, if you don’t, you’re not gonna be on top of your game.”

It was when we started chatting about that moment when it hits though, when a joke works, you could hear Dave come alive even further with an infectiously hyped tone that will surely carry over throughout this tour; “there’s some nights on stage where you hit them with something and you get a massive laugh and all the hairs on your neck stand on end and then you think in the back of your head, ‘yeah, I’ve got a better one coming up’. It’s gonna be great. That’s the satisfaction of creating it and delivering it.”

He has a massive love for Northern audiences too, particularly our own region, “if you were really analytical about it, I always seem to go better in Yorkshire and in the North East. They’re maybe a tiny bit more up for it. It’s just sometimes more noticeable,” it all bodes well for something special at The Tyne Theatre.

The most refreshing thing of all though, was to talk to a man with years in the industry, still as passionate as if he’d just discovered it, but vastly experienced and drawing on all of that to be the best he can be, though immensely humble with it. “I’m not madly ambitious, that’s why I still live in Chorley. I love writing, I love creating. Whether it’s writing scripts, ideas for stand-up, but if you’re writing ideas you’ve got to do them.”

Dave Spikey brings his show Punchlines to The Tyne Theatre & Opera House, Newcastle on Thursday 31st March.

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