Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Tim Key: Page 2 of 2

6. What’s the worst thing about being a comedian?


Oh you know, when you feel it's on the verge stopping working and deserting you and everything’s going to evaporate and you’re not a comedian any more. I always think when that happens I'm going to look back and wonder how any of it ever worked in the first place.


7. I think you are very good at what you do (that’s why I’m asking these questions). What do you think of you?


Thank you Bruce. I think I'm good at some of the things I do. I think I'm lucky to have a turn of phrase, and lucky to have fallen into a lot of talented people’s arms and clung onto them for dear life. I'm lucky that any crippling lack of belief I might have is sometimes counteracted by some kind of self-confidence, and I can't work out where it came from. I'm also lucky to have an audience and that helps you build up some reserves of faith in yourself, certainly on stage.


8. How much do you earn and how much would you like to earn?


This is a very nice question. I asked my brother this on the train home on Saturday and he wouldn’t answer me and said it was none of my beeswax. I told him you’d asked me and he said that was weird, too. I don’t mind it though Bruce. I own more than I should, given my skillset. I am a very talented voiceover artist, which subsidises financial shortcoming elsewhere. I’d hate to earn more than this, as it is I bought a belt-hole punch tool to make extra holes in belts last week. I guess that means I have too much money.


9. How important is luck in terms of career success – have you had lucky breaks?


Very important, but also not at all important. I mean it’s nice to have a bit of luck, but you don't want to be lucky at the wrong time. I could have got a lucky break in my twenties and been financially secure and working a lot, but that would have meant I wouldn't have been broke and driving around in Alex Horne's car for five years or tried doing poetry or made a short film in a maze. Nothing should come for free. I’d have dropped Horne like a stone if I’d got a lucky break at 27. Glad I didn’t.


10. Alan Davies has said that comedians fall into two categories - golfers and self-harmers. The former just get on with life, the latter are tortured artists. Which are you – or do you think you fit into a third category?


Probably a third category. I'm fortunate that I've got a big lump of "tortured artist" to fall back on. But amongst that there have definitely been chinks of light. For example recently I went to Wahacas with friends which I guess is “getting on with life”.


11. Who is your favourite person ever and why – not including family or friends or other comedians?


If it's someone I don't know then Daniil Kharms. He's a Russian avant-garde hound from the 1930's and other nearby decades. His stuff is bananas and very addictive. I was lucky enough to make a radio documentary about him last year, it was heart-breaking and very emotional, which sounds ridiculous but actually was true. His collected poetry, letters, notebooks and everything pretty much floored me. I also Love Julia Louis-Dreyfus, PG Wodehouse and David Shrigley.


12. Do you keep your drawers tidy and if not why not? (please think long and hard about this question, it's to settle an argument with my girlfriend. The future of our relationship could depend on your response).


It's drawer by drawer. I have one which has a play by Daniel Kitson and some pyjamas in it. That's quite neat. Another one has wires, it's not neat but it is just wires. There's one with things like snow globes and highlighter pens and letters I haven't sent in it. I think that's a manifestation of a different part of my brain. My cleaner always puts the sieve in the draw with the baking stuff. I prefer to hang it with the pans. God knows how that's going to end.

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