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Phill Jupitus speaks ahead of new show Juplicity

Phill Jupitus, sourced by Emery PR
Phill Jupitus, sourced by Emery PR

Probably best known for his 18-year stint on BBC 2's music-related panel show Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Phill Jupitus' wide-ranging career has taken in everything from stand-up and TV, to radio acting, poetry and podcasting.

Phill Jupitus, sourced by Emery PR
Phill Jupitus, sourced by Emery PR

Juplicity will see Jupitus, 55, provide over an hour of tales, laughs and diversions – adult themes and situations, but delivered in a childish manner. Sit back and watch as this experienced funny man drags laughs out of the chaos of his own life and the uncertain world that surrounds it.

Aside from Never Mind the Buzzcocks and live stand-up shows all over the UK, the likeable star – who embarked on his comedy career in 1984 under the moniker Porky the Poet – also appears as a regular guest on QI (BBC2) and Alan Davies As yet Untitled (Dave), and in 2012 returned to television stand-up for the first time since 2000 with an appearance on BBC1’s Live at the Apollo.

On BBC Radio 4 Jupitus is a regular panellist on the award-winning I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue and The Unbelievable Truth and was resident curator on The Museum of Curiosity.

Theatre work includes playing Bottom in the Bath Theatre Royal production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream, appearing alongside Jason Manford in the UK touring production of The Producers as Franz Liebkind and the West End production of Urinetown in the role of Caldwell B. Cladwell at the Apollo Theatre.

His West End singing debut came in 2009 when he played Edna Turnblad in the hit musical Hairspray at The Shaftesbury Theatre.

Interestingly, Jupitus did two gigs as Porky the Poet in Cambridge in 1985 and has performed here quite a lot over the years.

On the subject of Juplicity, Jupitus told the Cambridge Independent: “It’s the first stand-up tour I’ve done in about eight years, I think, which seems to be the pattern.

“I seem to go away from stand-up comedy for a bunch of years and then come back to it, once I miss it enough. I think when you’re in this game you want to come back to something for all the right reasons, rather than because it’s all that you can do.

“I do miss stand-up when I’m away from it, but the funny thing is is when you come back to it, you’re not sure whether you’re going to love it as much again – so it took a few gigs in Australia to remind me that it is a form of performing that I do really enjoy.”

He continued: “The show’s been evolving since early March of this year, when it went out on the warm-up dates, and then the Australian tour in April kind of firmed it up a little bit, as did Europe and Scotland, so it’s in good shape now.

“The reason it’s called Juplicity is because I do two different forms of performing. I start the gig under my original performing guise of Porky the Poet, which is how I started gigging in 1984. So I do a 30 or 40-minute poetry set, depending on how it goes down, and then I do a full stand-up set after the interval, so two different things.

“What’s interesting about doing the poetry and the stand-up together is that they do inform and inspire each other. I quite often when I’m doing poetry gigs come up with stuff that ends up in the stand-up show.”

Never Mind the Buzzcocks remained a big part of Jupitus’ life following its launch in 1996. It ran until 2015 and hosts such as Mark Lamarr, Simon Amstell and Rhod Gilbert came and went (as well as a variety of guest presenters).

Jupitus was the only mainstay on the show, as a team captain, while the opposing team’s captains changed between Sean Hughes (1996-2002), Bill Bailey (2002-2008) and Noel Fielding (2009-2014).

Jupitus said: “I think that Buzzcocks was just a happy accident. The fact that it was on for 18 years was not of my designing or doing; it was just a format that was television-lite, it was on BBC2 that didn’t have a particularly highly-rated comedy show on at that time.

“The ones it did do were quite short-lived, whereas Buzzcocks was just a format that could keep going for a long, long while.”

Could it ever be brought back? Jupitus is unsure. “I can’t see it happening,” he admitted.

“If it came back and it was all new people and all young kids, there would be no point [in me doing it] – I’m 55! There comes a point where you have to kind of step outside of yourself and look at what’s happening and go, ‘You look like an old man, what are you doing?’.

“The only thing I had in mind was that I was quite keen to get to 20 years on Buzzcocks and then I was thinking about quitting. I thought 20 years was a nice round number, and then they cancelled it after 18 so we nearly got there.”

Phill Jupitus will be bringing Juplicity to Saffron Walden Town Hall on Wednesday, November 1 at 8pm. Tickets: £17. Box office: cambridgelivetrust.co.uk.

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