Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Spencer Jones aka The Herbert

Spencer jones

Spencer Jones Presents The Herbert In Proper Job was one the shows that I saw in Edinburgh this year that restored my faith in the power of comedy. Every night Jones would perform in front of an audience who probably had little idea who he was and by the end of the hour he had them all in the palm of his hand. And quite a few of them dancing onstage. It’s a weird act but also an accessible one, falling somewhere between the old school prop comedy of Tommy Cooper and the new school of clowning as embodied by Dr Brown. I don't know why he didn't make the Foster’s Award shortlist. Maybe the panel had a collective sense of humour failure when they saw him. If so they were the only ones. Have a read of this interview which sheds some intriguing light on the man behind the silliness. If you don’t mind spoilers have a read of this review.

Update December 2017. Go and see his latest show, The Audition, which was nominated for a lastminute.com Edinburgh Comedy Award. It's at the Soho Theatre until January 6, 2018. Read a review here. Buy tickets here.

 

1. What is the last thing you do before you go onstage (apart from check your flies, check for spinach between teeth and check your knickers aren't sticking out of your skirt)? 

 

I speak to my Dad. He's not with us anymore, I'm not a spiritual person so I don't believe its actually him, Its just I have him in my head and he gives very simple advice about how to get away with what I am about to do. It's like I do an impression of him in a conversation with me. He cuts through the bullshit. It's my voice of reason. Then I repeat to myself advice I got from John Kearns and Tom Parry; have a laugh and your show is your haven. Finally I make sure my penis is as visible as possible in my tights. People still laugh at a penis. It’s my opening gag that does make some audience members gag. Then I vomit, usually into a bin, but sometimes a pint glass.

2. What irritates you? 

 

I dropped my new phone down the bog. So I have had to go back to the old one and the battery is crap. Everywhere I go I have to take a charger. I'm like a little electricity beggar, poaching power from other peoples supply. I'm pretty much 'Off Grid'.

 

Also Diet Coke, Pepsi Max and all them lot.

 

The big IKEA blind in my kitchen. The string has broken and it rolls up either painfully slowly or like a rat up a drain pipe. And wonky.

 

3. What is the most dangerous thing you have ever done?

 

I got stuck in a forest fire that was destroying a village in Portugal once. We were helping fight it with the villagers. At one point I got trapped, nowhere to turn, just smoke and intense heat in all directions. At that point I thought ‘this is gonna hurt’.

 

4. What is the most stupid thing you have ever done?

 

Encouraging my Mum to get an iPad. She's all over the internet now checking me out. Which means I am unable to give the real answer to questions like What is the most stupid thing you have ever done? If she knew...

5. What has surprised you the most during your career in comedy? 

 

That I fancy Brett Goldstein and he's a super hero.

Interview continues here.

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