Friday 6 December 2019

Al Murray on why giving up the Pub Landlord would get him ‘in a tangle’ on stage

The comic said he is unable to avoid Brexit in his stand-up, because his alter-ego has long wanted to leave the EU.

Al Murray has played the Pub Landlord for 25 years (Ian West/PA)
Al Murray has played the Pub Landlord for 25 years (Ian West/PA)

By Lucy Mapstone, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor

Al Murray has said he would not retire his Pub Landlord alter-ego because he would “get in a right tangle” if he had to be himself on stage.

The comedian, who has performed stand-up in the guise of the beer-swilling publican with right-wing views for 25 years, said that the character’s thoughts come to him naturally, while he personally tends to be more doubtful.

Murray, 51, told the PA news agency: “If I had to be me, I wouldn’t know where to start, that’s the basic problem.

You have to be certain and I'm not a very certain person. I've got a lot of doubt about a lot of stuff

“If I’m him I know what to say next, I know what he thinks of things, it’s all just obvious.

“Whereas if I’m me and I wanted to talk about Brexit, for example, I’d get in a right tangle because I think all sorts of things all at once. The Pub Landlord is very definite and in comedy you have to be definite.

“You have to be certain and I’m not a very certain person. I’ve got a lot of doubt about a lot of stuff.

“I certainly have a tendency to agree with the last person I spoke to.”

Murray, who will continue on his Landlord Of Hope And Glory stand-up tour throughout the rest of November and into December, said he is not struggling to keep up with the ever-changing political news agenda in his routine.

“A big part of what the show is about is about how everything is changing every day, and how we seem to be caught in a permanent state of it all happening, all at once, and that fundamentally nothing has changed yet,” he said.

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Al Murray went up against Ukip’s Nigel Farage in the 2015 General Election (Gareth Fuller/PA)

“That’s been the really interesting thing (about Brexit), that in three years absolutely nothing has changed at all.”

Murray – who went up against Ukip’s Nigel Farage for the seat of South Thanet during the 2015 General Election – said he has no problem with addressing politics on stage, unlike other comedians who prefer to avoid the topic.

“Since I came up with the Pub Landlord 25 years ago, he wanted to leave the EU, so I can’t exactly go avoiding that as a subject now that it’s on the cards,” he said.

“He’s kind of in a ‘be careful what you wish for’ situation.”

Murray added: “Comedy is a pretty traditional reaction to tricky times, and you either tear your hair out or you laugh at it.

“And actually I find a lot of it nakedly funny, a lot of what’s happened in the last three years – the double-speak that people have had to do in order to carry on in this Brexit situation, or the double-think that is required – is hilarious.

“The idea that you shut Parliament because you’re trying to restore parliamentary sovereignty, which is what we were told Brexit was for, that’s funny. You couldn’t make it up.”

Murray’s Landlord Of Hope And Glory tour will continue from November 22 at Chatham’s Central Theatre.

The run of shows includes a performance on November 30 at the recently renovated Brentwood Live in Essex, which has undergone a £500,000 makeover, making it one of the biggest concert arenas in the county.

The tour will conclude at Worthing’s Assembley Hall and Richmond Room on December 5.

PA Media

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