Mock the Week’s Milton Jones is bringing his new tour Milton Jones is Out There to the Theatre Royal on October 11th and 12th and we’re getting excited. The press release describes the tour as ‘a manifesto of nonsense and the perfect antidote to the world’s troubles.’
We could all use a good laugh in these difficult times, right?
The tour is about exploring the truth of society and the lies of the media. Jones is an exceptional one-line joker and a legend of the UK comedy scene performing his material to more than 100,000 people with his last two tours.
I had the pleasure of talking to him about his show and what we can expect. “Jokes, lot of stupid jokes!” He says. It seems that he’s staying true to his particular brand of comedy: the quick-fire one-liners much like of what we see of him on Mock the Week. However he says: “It’s more of that, longer than that but with more of a narrative. There’s going to be pictures and music and sound effects and costumes! I have a giant model of Britain that I kind of ‘inhabit’.” We can see where this is going as we are used to him poking holes in politics and society. His show is a must-see.
Jones tends to play to a diverse crowd, having done Mock the Week where the audience are more in their teenage years and also doing work for Radio 4 “where the average age is about 204” (according to him). So he’s used to a mixture of people.
He is in luck! Brighton is a very diverse place; we spoke about what he expects as he performs his fantastic comedy for us. “I have always really enjoyed Brighton actually. Years ago, when I was doing shows there, I always found it to be quite sharp, that is to say a sharp crowd.” Flattery will get you everywhere Milton! “Sometimes there are places you go that certain jokes you tell the crowd will just get, which means they are going to get the rest of the act. Brighton has always been very honest. There is no slowing it down for them.”
Originally, Jones wanted to be an actor but stand up was his way for getting people to see him on the stage. When he started it was called ‘alternative comedy but now you can study it at university! It’s been recognised as a career instead of a stepping stone to something different. Funny man Milton didn’t seem to regret his change of career goal, he says: “If I was an actor I would be in someone else’s show and have to say things that I wouldn’t necessarily think were great. So [as a comedian] it’s all my own fault if it goes wrong but it’s also my own fault if it goes right. I’ve had to learn how to deal with that but it’s a fun job to have!”
His background in acting helps him do little cameos in the show; he prefers a clip on microphone so he is not restricted by a mic-stand. He is a fan of anything that helps him run around the stage a lot more and deliver us expertly crafted comedy. The socially awkward character that Jones plays helped him to his success. It wasn’t until he stumbled upon this character that things really started to work, messing his hair up and wearing those jazzy, problem-pattern shirts. People recognised him for that. “People suddenly knew what I was about; I was creating a world for that person that I played on stage.” It wasn’t until doing several years of stand-up comedy that he found his voice on the stage.
Jones always tells us ‘cheap’ and ’stupid’ jokes but underneath all of it there is intelligence. His whimsical commentary on news and life in general is something worthy of applause. He spent 20 years doing gigs at clubs before he eventually got his break. When he started doing TV he had a huge catalogue of material which has helped him ride the wave of laughter for as long as possible.
His book, Where Do Comedians Go When They Die? (2009), oozes with surrealist humour and is partly auto-biographical. He sheds light on the backstage of the comedy scene and what it’s like to be living that kind of life. “It was to show the underside of what appears to be glamour but actually the iceberg underneath is just hard work,” Milton tells me. This idea of exposition or ‘truth’ is something that he has become known for. That theme of ‘truth’ will surely be running all the way through his show next month.
The Milton Jones is Out There tour has been extended and is sure to be filled to the brim with hilarity, foolery and absurdities. Busy as his career is Jones shows no sign of slowing down! He tells me: “I would love to have my own show on TV, a sitcom kind of thing. I’ve come close to it a few times and I’m gearing up to having another go of it. I’ve just got to do as much work as possible and hopefully I’ll be in the right place at the right time and it will all pay off.” Whatever he comes up with will be something marvellously witty and defiantly worth watching. In a roundabout way, his dream of becoming an actor seems attainable through his career in comedy.
Milton Jones Is Out There comes to Theatre Royal Brighton, on Weds 11 – Thurs 12 Oct 2017, as part of a UK tour. Tickets available from www.miltonjones.com/live-dates
Words by Adam Kaya