Kevin Eldon gets grilled by Josh Widdicombe
Anonymous1 April 2008
For 15 years Kevin Eldon has been entertaining us with his hilarious rubber face. Josh Widdicombe decided to say thanks by asking him some annoying and highly irrelevant questions. There really is no justice in the world.
SSP: Pretentious comedy tome Sunshine on Putty says that the last 15 years has been the golden era of British comedy. Agree? It states that your career deserves a book written about it. Are you getting on to it?
KE: I don't know. The late 1640s were pretty good. It might be a bit too neat to just siphon off an area of time and hang a gold badge on it. Any period has its highs and lows. The seventies had Python and Love thy Neighbour. The sixties had Cook and Moore but also Mike and Bernie Winters. In the last 15 years it's true that there have been some damn good comedy events and many, many dreadful ones. As for the career book; well, I don't understand this new phenomenon of writing your life story when you're about five. That dozy bint from Big Brother for example. Why has she written hers? She's not 25 and she's never done anything of any interest value of worth. Ever. So why? Oh, yes, of course, for other dozy bints to spend their money on. Silly me. I think such books should be written when the subject is dead. Or at least having laundry problems.
SSP: Is your reluctance to do interviews and have a large public profile a conscious effort to let your acting speak for itself, or do you just not really like them?
KE: I don't get asked to do many interviews to be honest. But that suits me. From my limited experience, in interviews I'm either a tongue-twisted bore or a horrible over-energised fool trying too hard to be interesting. Plus, the more interviews you do the more attention you draw to yourself. And that means that you get into the fame game which, as far as I can see, is a foul and truly upsetting experience. I have mates who are really famous and believe me there's nothing remotely glamorous about it. It largely consists of people staring at you in supermarkets and cunts following you around with cameras. And anyway, what is there to say? 'Ah yes, I played a funny man in that. I put on a voice and pulled a face.' Fascinating! Interview someone who's working towards world peace - that's what I say!
SSP: Can you name three shows from the last 15 years that you wish you were in?
KE: The Thick of It. Father Ted. League of Gentlemen.
SSP: And one you wish you hadn't been in?
KE: I Was a Teenage Horse Fucker
SSP: Was Attention Scum a brilliantly original yet chronically underrated show, or not as good as I remember?
KE: Well it was Simon Munnery, wasn't it? Our finest comedian. It was the former of course. It was done on an absolute shoe string. With Simon's usual, shall we say, jazz style approach to preparation. I'm proud that the idiots in charge of such decisions de-commissioned it after watching just one episode. Oh, ok, there actually was one episode (not the first one) that was quite spectacularly bad in sheer lack of being ready for filming. But even that was a million times better than the rotting filth that often gets put on in the name of so-called comedy. Taking all the best bits you've got what telly comedy should be: original, perplexing, daring, annoying and 'bladdy funny'.
SSP: You have been called 'the nicest man in British comedy' on numerous occasions. Who do you see as your main rivals for this coveted crown?
KE: What bastards have been saying that about me? Names! I'll make them pay. Well, actually that's very nice to hear, honestly that is. There's no need to be twatty really is there? I meet lots of lovely people in my job. Part of the reason why I love it so much. There are in fact a lot of shallow self-seeking reptiles too but that makes the nice ones more valuable. Julia Davis springs to mind as almost ludicrously lovely. You wouldn't think so with all that nasty Nighty Night character stuff but she is totally terrific. As is Olivia Coleman. Oh there's loads.
SSP: You are offered a very, very large sum to appear as the lead (opposite Patsy Palmer) in an appallingly scripted ITV primetime sitcom, interested?
KE: Only if there's a full penetration sex scene in it.
SSP: Cluub Zarathustra: very good on paper, what was it like in reality?
KE: The Munnery factor again. I remember the Cluub Z times with massive affection. Simon and me and Sal Phillips and Stew Lee and Richard Thomas and many others. In our warehouse office making ridiculous props. Doing Edinburgh and often watching as most of the audience (justifiably) left in disgust boredom or irritation. As well as watching them roar with delight. The pilot was great I thought. We all keep in touch.
SSP: People will remember Kevin Eldon as...
a. Simon Quinlank
b. An evil hypnotist
c. That bloke from everything?
d. Other (please state)
KE: Who knows that they will remember me... eh? eh? I maybe getting on a bit but there's a lot to do yet before any summing up for remembering goes on. So stop being so bleeding maudlin.
SSP: BBC 2 is running a Kevin Eldon night consisting of three of your best performances and a rather long documentary. Which programmes should they choose and who should they approach to be talking heads on the documentary?
KE: You see this is the boredom with interviews for me. 'Oh, yes, I think I was burrilliant in the following...' 's'a bit wanky innit? I try to do me best in everything, guvnor. I more often than not look at what I've done and cringe for just not getting it right. It's not false modesty. I wish I could relax and enjoy what I do but that's often not possible. Too critical. And as for talking heads documentaries, burn the bastards who appear on them I say, and the people who make them... and the people who watch them. Who cares what some third rate wannabe thinks about anything, and yet we are weekly subjected to their farting opinions. BURN!
SSP: What next for Kevin Eldon?
KE: A lovely cup of tea. Work wise nothing too solid there. A script editing job, several little actual writing jobs. I'm playing Melvyn Bragg in Kombat Opera on BBC 2. Watch that series, do! The music was written by the above-mentioned Richard Thomas. The one I'm in was also written by Stewart Lee.
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