Tim Vine is a jester with a joke for every occasion. After his last show, Plastic Elvis, in which he paid tribute to the king of rock and roll, hold onto your headgear, the king of the side-splitting one-liner I touring with Breeeep! Expect quips and quickfire punchlines to rain down from the stage as he fills the room with funnies.
Vine has won Dave's Joke of the Fringe twice. In 2010 with ‘I've just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I’ll tell you what, never again.’ And in 2014 with ‘I’ve decided to sell my Hoover… well, it was just collecting dust.’ It is no surprise that The Times asked: 'Is there a more ludicrous comedian in Britain than Tim Vine?'
Tell us about your new show Breeeep!?
“Can I say it's nonsense? Hopefully funny nonsense. I do silly one liners and silly songs with silly props. I have a table with a black bag full of bits and pieces. And I have another table with some other stuff on it. I end with a song called 'These Are Some Of My Things'. I'm surrounded by all this detritus at the end of the show. It does sort of sum up my life a bit.”
Can you give me a flavour of any of the jokes in Breeeep!?
“This one was in Dave's Joke of the Fringe top ten this year. I used to live hand to mouth. I'll tell you what changed my life. Cutlery.”
People seem to want to laugh right now so Breeeep! sounds perfect.
“I'm just trying to make people laugh as stupidly as possible. I'm not breaking into satire at this point in my career. I think there is an appetite for comedy without any message. There's quite a few of us doing that. I like being in that little gang. I really am not making any point whatsoever.”
Did you start off with this style from your very first gig?
“I attempted different things. I remember doing a chay thing about how I sort of inadvertently affected world events, a bit like in Forrest Gump. I had this thing where JFK was was going to Dallas and wanted to borrow one of my cars and the choice was of the convertible or the bulletproof Bentley, and I said 'it's going to be lovely weather in Dallas, take the convertible...'”
Can you teach someone to write a funny joke?
“If I knew how to write a funny joke I'd only ever write funny jokes. Everything I wrote would go straight into the show. But part of the joy of the whole thing is that I know how to structure a joke. There are rules and things that will help it feel like a joke by the time you finish writing.
So I know about that, but the whole thing about what makes it funny, you dig around and throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. It's a gradual purifying process. Whistling. That's the fun of it. It's always an audience that decides.”
What are you like off duty? Are you more serious?
“I'm a lighthearted person. I think I get that from my dad. One me as he walked to work across this football field and it had been snowing he thought 'if I close my eyes and try and walk in a straight line for 200 paces, I'll be able to look back and see how successful I was by how straight the footprints are.' He came home with a massive bump on his head. He'd hit the goalpost at the far end. I love the fact that he decided to do that and wasn't worrying about work.”