Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – John Hegley: Page 2 of 2

6. What do your parents/children (delete as applicable) think of your job?


My daughter, Isabella, age 5 or 6 was about to hurl some coin at my person during a performance. This I averted with a parental (as opposed to performer's) word and such has not been repeated.

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


There are other jobs which are easier when you are not feeling up to your best, but it is true we do have 'Doctor Footlights' to assist.

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


Possibly too introspective. But let's not get too introspective.

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


Any earning of appreciation from the public for artistic endeavour is a great thing and occasionally one is slipped a little packet of a more profound gratitude which is marvellous. 

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


When I was singing with The Popticians, we were largely performing out of doors, doing street stuff, somewhat anonymously. However, on one of our rare indoor outings, John Peel chanced upon us and gave us a Radio 1 session. It was a very important luckiness for our 'Winfield Wall of Sound.'*

11. 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?


This year at the Edinburgh Fringe, 8 of the 9 shows in the run, I hoped had some hard-won artistry. That other one, not so. I sensed afterwards that I had let us all down. That I was sloppy and that although the performance might have been adequate, it did not have sparkle and delight. A bit of self-whacking after that show.

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

I twice met and once shared a stage with Tony Benn; that was at the Hackney Empire. His speech on the Balkan crisis of the 90s was so well informed and compassionate, delivered in a compelling way of oratory that I have never since heard. I was recently given a CD 'Tony Benn's Greatest Hits', by poet Tim Wells. There are backing tracks by Charles Bailey behind the speeches, so apt for the un-precious pride of this most special of speakers. And nice tunes.

13. 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).


I look into my untidy drawers and think, very soon these drawers could be tidy. And KEPT so. In fact this act could well have been accomplished since the considering of this gently prodding question. Thank you.

*I think this might be a kind reference to my description of his band in a review I wrote a long time ago. 



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