Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – John Hegley

Stand-up poet John Hegley is something of a legend. He has been around since the early days of the alternative comedy scene and with his erstwhile band The Popticians was championed by John Peel. So you could say he was a pioneer of comedy as the new rock and roll. Not that Hegley is very rock and roll. His poems tend to be about everyday things and also Keats, Daleks and soot. In particular he writes about wearing glasses and has been a lifelong advocate of spectacles over contact lenses. Go see him on tour now. Dates include a show at Kings Place in London on October 19. See all dates and buy tickets here.

John Hegley's latest book Peace, Love & Potatoes has just come out in paperback. Buy it here.




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


Be steady


and ready


to grow


2. What irritates you?


On the subject of irritation, D.H. Lawrence's mosquito poem is a humdinger. It is an irritation many of us share. He also found the bat in his room irritating, I think I would find this more frightening. Both are great poems, though.

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


Place a thin slice of cold tomato on a burning naked light bulb.

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


See above.

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

At my second paid gig at the Kings Head Islington (1980, I think) I was on the same bill as had been put on the previous week. New to the trade, I was very surprised to see a comedic talking turn doing the same (very good) sequence of pieces. I did not know this to be a norm and now it is surprising, my surprise.

Interview continues here.


Hello! Thanks for reading all the way down. I wish I could give you a prize. But BTJ needs your support to continue - if you would like to help to keep the site going, please consider donating.

Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.