Al Murray
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Joined: 28 Feb 2007
Location: Tottenham

PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 3:35 am    Post subject: Al Murray Reply with quote

in my opinion al murray is the funniest guy on tele.
Time gentlemen please was side splitting and his itv chat show has been great
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

he is really good for sure - he was one of the resident acts on "Live Floor Show" a few years back if you're ever looking for more stuff from him.
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Joined: 11 Feb 2007
Location: by the sea

PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

all hail to the ale Smile

pint for the fella, glass of white wine, fruit-based drink for the lady - those are the rules. if we didn't have rules where would we be? france! if we had too many rules where would we be? germany! Laughing
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Multiple personalities: Murray displays his array of comedy characters
Interview: Al Murray
Al Murray talks about his new sketch show Multiple Personality Disorder and his take on the taste debate.
Michael Deacon
19 Feb 2009

Al Murray has been playing the Pub Landlord, his cheerfully belligerent bar-room philosopher, for 15 years. He’s played him on sell-out stand-up tours (the DVD of his most recent tour sold 200,000 copies), in his own Sky1 sitcom, and even in his own ITV1 Friday night chat show, in which the Pub Landlord interviews real celebrities, Mrs Merton-style. Indeed, the public has yet to see Murray play anybody else. Perhaps that’s why some people seem to think he actually is the Pub Landlord.

Last year, Murray was in a shop in London, shooting a scene for his new sketch show. He was playing not the Pub Landlord but a bad-mannered shop assistant with a goatee. Filming was disrupted by a group of youths outside, who had heard that Murray was there. “They weren’t going away, so I went out to say hello,” he says. “They said, ‘You’re not him. Where is he?’ I said, ‘I am him – this is a fake beard.’ But they said, ‘No, you sound different.’ One of them refused to have her picture taken with me because I wasn’t Al Murray.”

If this sceptic tunes in to ITV1 next Friday night, she’ll see that the bearded stranger wasn’t having her on. Al Murray’s Multiple Personality Disorder is the 40-year-old comic’s first sketch show, and its characters are all new. “It was exciting to make, because you never know whether something’s going to work until you put it in front of an audience,” he says. “As the West Country sex maniac Peter Taylor [one of the new characters], I wasn’t quite sure where the line was, whether we’re going to gross people out or not.”

Ever since the Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross row, offensiveness in comedy has been a much-debated topic. Last month, Frank Skinner presented an edition of Panorama about it; Murray, one of his interviewees, said that an executive at “a major broadcaster” once asked him to be “more edgy”. Murray, though, said he didn’t like to swear unless it feels absolutely necessary. Today, however, his position seems to have changed slightly. “I think there’s going to be a righteous backlash against this idea that all comedy has to be presentable to your grandmother,” he says. “And I’d like to be part of that.”

Not that his new sketch show is wilfully outrageous – it was filmed before the Ross-Brand furore, or, as Murray calls it, “the great rebooting of British comedy”. He says he himself has never been offended by comedy. “The crime,” he says, “is not being funny. Stephen Fry once said, ‘If you’re offended, ---- off.’ He’s a brilliantly witty man, obviously…”

Despite these views, Murray has little of the Pub Landlord’s tendency for dogmatism. Oddly, some of his fans don’t seem to grasp that the Landlord is meant as a spoof of reactionary thinking; they’ll approach him and say, “Yeah, you really speak sense, Al,” even after the Landlord has been explaining to his audience that God is British. This doesn’t mean that his fans are all roaring boors. On the contrary, Murray says, “It seems to be everybody: no class distinctions. The marketing team for one of my DVDs said, ‘We’re aiming this at the 18-25 single males.’ But I’d done a gig the night before where there were very few of those and lots of families: grandpa, dad, teenage kid…”

Murray’s life has been nothing like the Landlord’s. He was born in Buckinghamshire, and went to public school and St Edmund Hall, Oxford, where he studied history. He has two daughters with his wife Amber (although the couple separated last year). Our interview takes place over lunch at a members’ club near his London home; he orders a chicken salad, a selection that would dismay the Pub Landlord.

It sounds as though he inherited his gift for sending up the pugnacious from his father, a senior Army officer. “At Sunday lunch when I was young, if I had friends round, he’d propose the return of hanging,” says Murray. “There was one lunch when he came up with a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ criminal justice scheme; after the third offence, no matter what it was, you’d go to the gallows. My friends would sit there going, ‘Bloody hell, his dad’s Hitler!’” Murray laughs. “It wasn’t until I was older that I realised he was winding us up. My mum told me that in the officer’s mess he’d go the other way and propose nationalising everything. They all thought he was some sort of Soviet spy.”

Al Murray’s Multiple Personality Disorder begins next Friday on ITV1 at 9.30pm. For details about his new tour, visit
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interview: Al Murray
20th February 2009

IT’S time, gentlemen, please, to book your tickets for one of the most popular live comedy acts of the moment. For Al Murray, the Pub Landlord, will be pulling pints and dispensing his unique brand of saloon-bar philosophy at King George’s Hall, Blackburn, on Friday, February 27.

After a couple of years locked away in the TV studio and tapping away at his laptop, the Landlord is embarking this month on his “Beautiful British Tour.” It marks a very welcome return for the man who puts the “Great” back into Great Britain. The Landlord, the bald, narrow-minded Little Englander who rails against all things that are “not normal” (especially the French), is an electrifying live act.

Critics have been lavishing praise on his act for many years. The Times calls him “the most consistently exciting live comedian in the land for years,” while The Daily Telegraph says “no other comedian working on the live circuit in Britain today offers such a cast-iron guarantee of start-to-finish mirth.”

Al is unwinding before a warm-up gig at a West London pub and fans will be delighted to learn that he is as warm and funny off stage as he is on it. Looking relaxed, he begins by explaining why his ranting alter ego has become quite so popular. The comic reckons the Landlord resonates with everyone: “He’s a universal figure. Everyone can relate to him, if only because he spills beer and he spouts garbage, and everyone knows someone like that!”

Al, whose last DVD “…And Another Thing” shifted 200,000 copies, goes on to underline how much he is relishing his return to the live stage. “There is nothing like the buzz you get from a live audience,” he says. “The audience has come along to see me, so we get off on the right foot, and it just builds from there. The other thing I like about live comedy is that it’s perfectible, in a way that television never is. If you’re doing 53 gigs in a row, you can constantly fine-tune stuff.”

Above all, Al adores the opportunity that stand-up affords him to improvise. “Improvisation means that every night is different. You can go off on a tangent without having an autocue saying ‘get on with it’.

So what subjects will the Landlord be pontificating about on his “Beautiful British Tour”? “The show is about broken Britain,” reveals the comic. “Who broke Britain? And what are we going to do to fix it? At the end, the Landlord applies his Five Golden Rules to mend Britain.”

The Landlord says he will also be reflecting on people’s anger about the current financial crisis. “People are genuinely furious about that,” observes Al, who recently headlined to acclaim on BBC1’s Live at the Apollo. “Bankers have lost our money, and now we’re having to use our money to bail them out!” During the show, the Landlord will also be proving that God exists and fulminating about youth crime.

Al is a former winner of the coveted Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Festival. And the Pub Landlord is now one of our best loved comedy characters. He has become so big, he can sell out arenas up and down the land. But Al remains appealingly modest about the immense success he has had as his buffoonish, loud-mouthed alter ego.

“It never ceases to amaze me,” he almost whistles in astonishment. “When I started doing the Landlord more than a decade ago, I never thought he’d have this kind of legs. I never thought he’d end up with an ITV1 talk show and playing at the O2 Arena. Sometimes I think, ‘I must have covered everything now.’ And I know that when I can’t come up with new stuff for him anymore, that will be the time to stop. But so far he’s proved really durable. He strikes a chord because everyone knows an idiot and everyone’s been in a pub!”
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Landlord who gets around
Mark Layton talks to Al Murray about his new TV series and his Beautiful British Tour which visits Newcastle three times and is close to selling every seat.
5th March 2009

YOU would be forgiven for thinking Al Murray was something of a one-trick pony. After all, how often is it that you see him out of his well-known Pub Landlord persona? But there’s more to this comedian than meets the eye. “The thing is that the landlord is such a big character, that along the way people assumed that’s what I’m like and that’s the only kind of acting I can do,” 40-year-old Al says. “I get offered a lot of bouncer parts and cab driver parts and other unimaginative spins on skinhead blokes, and I could probably do different things.”

His appearance on BBC1’s The One Show recently saw Murray impress hosts Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley with informed opinions on the Magna Carta and British manufacturing, to prove there’s more going on upstairs than a few gags about Frenchmen and student layabouts. Maybe the start of his new sketch show, Al Murray’s Multiple Personality Disorder, which gives him a whole bunch of new characters, will herald a change for the better. “Hopefully people will maybe have a look at it and go ‘Ooh gosh, he can do more than one thing’.”

The new characters include West Country dad Peter Taylor, who likes nothing more than to talk about sex at inappropriate moments; Barrington Blowtorch, the quick-witted Victorian gentleman-thief; and Hitler’s most trusted, though incredibly camp, aide Horst Schwull.

“It’s an old-school sketch show with a central lead person in every sketch, pretty much,” Murray explains. “Funny voices, wigs, familiar characters you may have run into in your lives, others you may not have done. We’ve got sketches with Victorians in them and modern footballers to tramps and stuff. It’s quite broad as well I think. It’s the first sketch show ITV have done like this since Russ Abbot, I think I’m right in saying that, so it’s quite a big thing for them. It’s quite a big deal for me too.”

Barrington Blowtorch particularly stands out as a strong character, but Murray says he doesn’t have any favourites among the fresh crop of alter egos. He also believes it’s one of the most challenging things he’s ever worked on. “The thing is, you’re doing one scene, and you’re not thinking about the rest of it, and then you tend to not end up with favourites because there’s so much to do. But this is much more intense, because it’s different characters and I’ve got to go off, come back on and be someone else, remember loads of lines and work with actors, which I’m not used to. It was such a fantastic challenge, so I’m not for one second going to complain.”

Maybe more importantly, the Pub Landlord is nowhere to be seen. Murray says: “I mean, there’s no way I’m retiring him, I’m doing a giant tour, so that would be stupid wouldn’t it? That’s why, in a way, doing the arenas is a good spin on what I’ve been doing for a long time, a way of challenging myself with a thing I’m less familiar with.” The current Pub Landlord’s Beautiful British Tour sees him entertaining sell-out audiences across the UK including Newcastle City Hall on March 19 and the city’s Metro Radio Arena, on May 1, with the arena adding an extra date on April 16. He’s got a lot on his plate, but Murray says he doesn’t have enough time to be worried about it. “I don’t have the luxury of being nervous... I wish I was. It’s just stress, because there’s so much to get ready and write and tidy up and finish off.

Whether or not the new show succeeds in moving Murray further away from the Pub Landlord, he reveals that the character will still be around for some time to come. “We’re hopefully going to do some more Happy Hour, but we’re waiting to find out exactly how, when and where and with whom. I’m doing a book for Christmas,” he adds. “ It’s a self-help book; he calls it a ‘help yourself’ book. It’s filled with all sorts of essential advice. I think it’s quite funny actually, but I would say that wouldn’t I?”


I watched the first episode of the new series the other day and wasn't really impressed at all. It forced a few chuckles out of my tired old lungs but didn't do much more... I'll give it a few weeks though.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Life in the Day: Al Murray
The comic known as the Pub Landlord stands up for book shops, Action Man and pork pies
Al Murray

Interview by Ria Higgins.
Photograph by Big Rocket
April 5, 2009

Doing stand-up, I’m used to travelling up and down the country. But even in the most expensive hotels the one thing that still gets me is how useless the tea- and coffee-making facilities are. I don’t want to have a rant, but the kettle’s always too small, the lead’s always too short and the spout won’t fit under the tap. It does my head in.

I was staying at the Malmaison in Newcastle the other night and the only place I could plug the kettle in was behind this huge TV. I sat there watching it, worried sick that when the steam started coming out, the whole thing would blow up. What we British will do for a cup of tea!

I’ll stick on jeans, shirt, jacket and always a hat — at the moment a brown trilby from Lock & Co in St James’s. I normally skip breakfast, which means that by 11 I’m ready to touch base with my tour manager, Adam, who travels with me. I’ll then usually have the rest of the morning to relax, so I might go for a wander. If I’m lucky I’ll find a book shop.

In fact, I’ve toured so much now I know every book shop, comic shop and music shop in the UK. But if I find an instrument shop I’ve really hit the jackpot. Drums are a bit of a hobby of mine, so a drum kit will keep me entertained for ages. Not sure I can say the same for the shop owner…

Most days Adam will find us a nice place to have lunch and, after that, we’ll head off to the next venue. We’ve got a big Merc, so I’ll sit in the back and read. At the moment it’s a book on Montgomery. He’s a fascinating man, but it’s partly because I was given an Action Man of Monty for my tour mascot. In fact, me and Adam have been taking photos of him everywhere. On our way to Cambridge last week we went to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford and photographed him next to Lancaster bombers. Then the other night we took photos of him at the Nottingham gig — we had him waving from the balcony. At my age there’s no end of sensible things you can do with an Action Man.

Actually the army interests me, because after Dad finished his National Service he stayed in the TA for years. He worked for British Rail but he served in several places, including Suez in 1956. But I suppose I’m a bit of a history buff anyway. When I was at boarding school in Bedford I used to think David Starkey was a history rock god. Then I went on to study history at Oxford, although by then I think I was more into showing off than getting all fired up about the Tudors. I’m still trying to work out how I ended up in comedy. I never sat down and said to my parents:

“I want to do stand-up for a living.” My two girls, Scarlett and Willow, are only nine and five, but at the first opportunity I’ll be telling them about the merits of accountancy.

I’m the sort of person who starts eating again as soon as we hit the first petrol station. A pork pie here, a supersize packet of cheese and onion there. I’m doing my best to lay off the KFC, but honestly, you really do get into the mind of a dog — you just eat whenever you can.

If we arrive about 5 or 6 we’ll go straight to the venue for a sound check. I’ll have a sandwich and a cuppa while I mull over the order of the show. I often stick a load of Post-it notes on my dressing-room mirror with all my subject headings and subheadings. Then just before I go on at 8, I might have a taste of whisky — you don’t want to be the only sober person at the party.

This is a good time to be a comedian because there’s so much to talk about — not least the state of the economy. The government’s ballsed it up and the banks have pissed all our money away. In fact “the Brown years” couldn’t sum this period up more — everything’s turning to shit. So the audience don’t need much to get them going — it’s like pouring petrol on fire. And if I’m lucky I’ll always find some poor sod who’s a banker. It’s funny, I never dreamt of being any kind of political comedian. My mum worked for the Citizens Advice Bureau, but that’s about it. So I think it says it all when people are looking to comedians rather than politicians for a bit of common sense.

When I come off I need a couple of hours to unwind. I’ll go to the hotel and put my bags away and then maybe a few of us will go to the bar. The other night in Cardiff we had Vespers — the original James Bond cocktail. It’s a crazy recipe with gin, vodka and Kina Lillet, which you can’t get any more, so we had them with vermouth instead. I went up to my room about 1, and although I was tempted to tackle the kettle, I thought better of it and just fell into bed.

The Pub Landlord’s Beautiful British Tour is on nationwide
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Al Murray threatened with legal action for repeatedly mocking builder in his shows
10th April 2009

A builder who was ridiculed by stand-up comedian Al Murray in a live show has threatened legal action. Malcolm Snape was mocked by Mr Murray in front of 2,000 fans at the Guild Hall in Preston, Lancashire on Friday. The pair had previously fallen out over building work six years ago. Mr Snape had been hired to build an extension at the comedian's house in Chiswick, West London. But an argument over the contract led to a long-running rift with Mr Murray, who mentioned Mr Snape by name twice in his sellout 'Pub Landlord' show.

Mr Murray, 40, claimed that he had been conned out of thousands of pounds by the builder. But Mr Snape, who denies the claims, says that Mr Murray's actions are damaging his business, and has contacted solicitors to see what action can be taken. The father-of-two said: 'As he's gone on, he has got worse and worse with his allegations and I'm just a bit fed up of it. I have had reports from people and he has said things on TV. I did work for him six years ago and he has been a constant nuisance. It never was funny but it is getting to the stage now where I'm getting sick of it. With the money he has why does he not just get on with his life?'

Mr Snape claims that Mr Murray even tried to find him in his local pub in Fulwood, near Preston, after a previous show. Mr Snape, whose other Christian name is William, believes that a character in the comedian's new ITV1 show, Al Murray's Multiple Personality Disorder, called Builder Bill Preston is modelled on him. The show was part of Al Murray's national The Pub Landlord's Beautiful British Tour, which will see him play in front of 170,000 fans across the UK.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does it offend you?
Al Murray says he is concerned with the way custodians of taste are making life awkward for comedians
Brian Donaldson
16 Nov 2009

Best known for his lairy, loud-mouthed pub landlord character, Al Murray how has a new target in his sights ... censorship.

Those who tuned in to Al Murray’s ITV show, Multiple Personality Disorder, would have seen the following sketch. As Adolf Hitler plots the Allies’ defeat, Murray arrived as SS agent Horst Schwull, dressed from blond bouffant head to jackbooted toes in pink rubber, firing off a series of double entendres that would have been stamped into the cutting room floor by ‘Allo ‘Allo!’s Herr Flick. In one fell swoop, Al Murray had morphed from his most famous alter-ego, the knowingly xenophobic Pub Landlord, into a ridiculously over-the-top gay Nazi. Whether Schwull (drop one “l” and you have the German for “gay”) was subtle or funny was barely open for debate.

While Murray insisted the character, who made his TV debut in February, was a satire on the comedy of appalling double entendres, to others it crossed the line of taste and decency expected in a tolerant nation. For Gay Times columnist Patrick Strudwick, it was quite simply the “most outrageously homophobic few minutes of television ‘comedy’ this country has seen”. Scott Agnew, Scottish Comedian Of The Year in 2008 and self-proclaimed “big poof”, can barely hide his disbelief that a character such as Schwull would appear on British television in 2009. “As if it wasn’t gay enough for the Nazis to dress up in Hugo Boss in the first place, the fact that [Murray] felt it necessary to reproduce this in pink rubber was ludicrous,” he says.

“Everything’s feeling very 1980s at the minute, with the recession and the Tories probably going to get back in, and there’s an undercurrent of intolerant and racist attitudes coming back to the fore. People like Ricky Gervais and Murray have helped that no end with this ironic stance that might be fine for the London media set but not for the rest of the country.”

I meet a fedora-wearing Murray in the snug of Edinburgh’s Hotel du Vin (a pitch perfect irony given the Pub Landlord’s loathing of all things French). He ponders the offence caused by Schwull while cheerfully chomping on the kind of exotic club sandwich that would be immediately barred for life from the Pub Landlord’s gaffe. “People can laugh at it or not laugh at it,” he says. “I didn’t do it to provoke anyone but I wasn’t surprised at the media frothing. You can’t spend all your time thinking that someone might get upset by something because, yes, someone will. And they’re entitled to. I wouldn’t want to take away a person’s right to be upset about things. People can make of it what they want – I honestly don’t care.’

At this stage of his career, Murray can afford not to give a jot about the naysayers. In addition to his ongoing British tour, he is about to release the DVD of his triumphant gig earlier this year at London’s O2 Arena which was witnessed by 15,000 punters, many of whom waved their mini Union Jacks as the Pub Landlord strode on stage to call opening time on his latest assault on the French, the Germans, his front row and, most pertinently of all, broken Britain.

“This has been the first overtly topical show I’ve ever written,” he says. “Normally I’ve been zeitgeisty rather than doing actual stuff about politics. But the credit crunch has been such a meaty thing to talk about.” In each of his shows on the tour, the Pub Landlord seeks out an audience member who works in a bank and demands to know “where the f***ing money is”.

But, for the most, the Pub Landlord remains a boorish bigot panning anything that happens not to be British (or, more specifically, from Little England) while insisting that the London Olympics are going to be a bit rubbish. None of which sounds particularly close to the knuckle, though any gay Murray fans in last month’s Edinburgh Playhouse crowd might have been discomfited by the moment which brought the biggest, wholly unironic cheer of the night: the use of the word “fairies” to describe some young men in the front row.

There seems little doubt that Murray’s audience has changed through the years. How could it not when you consider that the Pub Landlord first spilled pints over the front rows of tiny Fringe rooms and is now, alongside Harry Hill, the face of mainstream ITV comedy?

“I personally don’t think the way audiences react to what I do has changed one bit,” counters Murray. “I’m comfortable with what I’m saying on stage. People get it. And to those who don’t – the joke’s on them. I also think that I’m grown up enough as a comic to know that I can’t control what people think or what they make of what I do. You realise as you progress that some people are just not going to like it, for whatever reason, and some people are going to get the wrong end of the stick, for whatever reason. There’s nothing you can do about that.”

Of course, backlashes against comedians are not new. In 2004 Billy Connolly was temporarily vilified by some sectors of the press for making a joke about the soon-to-be-executed Iraq hostage Kenneth Bigley. Comedian Jimmy Carr was recently in the firing line for a joke he made suggesting that the high number of British soldier amputees would benefit the British Paralympic team in 2012. Carr subsequently apologised and dropped the line from his live shows, but insisted that his sole intention had been to make people laugh. In August, a joke made on Mock The Week by Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle about the British Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington (“She has the face of someone who’s looking at themselves in the back of a spoon,”) was deemed to be in poor taste. Unlike Carr, Boyle declined to apologise, and questioned the authority of the BBC Trust which chastised him for the gag. “I don’t like it when we’re issued instructions on taste,” says Murray. “We’re all grown-ups.”

Alastair James Hay Murray was born in 1968 in a peaceful Buckinghamshire village to Lieutenant Colonel Ingram Bernard Hay Murray and Juliet Anne Thackeray Ritchie. On his mother’s side, Murray is the great-great-great-grandson of Vanity Fair author William Makepeace Thackeray, who used the weapon of satire to expose the terrible flaws at the heart of English ­society. Which sounds a little familiar.

Murray says he was “not especially funny” as a child, although he was prone to “ghastly showing off”. He wouldn’t fully exercise this trait until going to Oxford to study history. There he hooked up with two young men who were already knee-deep in comedy: the writer and comedian Richard Herring and Stewart Lee, whose Jerry Springer: The Opera sparked 64,000 complaints when it was broadcast by the BBC in 2005. The influence of both these men on Murray was significant. “It was just luck,” he says now. “I could have gone to Norwich instead and not met these people. The emphasis was on writing and creating rather than learning Monty Python sketches and reciting them inanely.”

Murray describes his Oxford crew as “terribly arrogant and pushy” – at least until they were taken down a peg at their Edinburgh Fringe debut. “Stewart [Lee] directed the 1989 Revue I was in which, according to the Independent and The Guardian, was the worst show at the Fringe that year,” Murray remembers. “On reflection, I agree, but we thought we were amazing. We had no craft but thought it was our job to reinvent the whole thing. None of us knew one end of a joke from the other but we thought we could tear it all up.”

When Murray talks about Herring – who co-wrote Time Gentleman Please, the Sky One sitcom which hurled the Pub Landlord on to the small screen in 2000 – there is clear admiration. When it comes to Lee, though, you sense there might be some mutual suspicion. On stage, Lee has attacked the “populist” nature of the Pub Landlord’s crowd. “Stewart was in the year above me at uni,” says Murray in response. “He’s always going to be a year older than me and will always know better and always tell me off. Bless his heart.” A slightly hollow laugh erupts.

In 1994, Murray found himself at the Edinburgh Fringe collaborating with Harry Hill on a show entitled Pub Internationale which earned Hill a Perrier Award nomination. “We didn’t have a compere holding the act together so I said: ‘I’ll be a pub landlord, what do you think?’ And Hill was like, ‘yeah whatever, I don’t care’, because he was worrying about doing 45 minutes, which back then seemed like a big deal. We eventually did a 70-date touring show and by the end of that tour I had my act.”

Murray would go on to have his own flirtations with the Perrier panel, being nominated on three successive years from 1996, losing out to Dylan Moran, The League Of Gentlemen and Tommy Tiernan before winning in 1999. He was initially deemed too famous to be considered for nomination but, following complaints from his PR company, a U-turn was forced and he was back on the shortlist.

The same week of the Perrier win saw Murray become a father to Scarlett, the first of his two daughters. “She was born on the Monday and I won on the Saturday,” he says. “It was weird, as it wasn’t your normal Festival of staying up till four in the morning shouting at people in bars.”

Murray has since done well on television but seems increasingly concerned with the way the custodians of taste and decency are making life awkward for comedians. “There’s been a change [since the Russell Brand/Jonathan Ross phone call row to Andrew Sachs last year],” he says. “On ITV we sail on blithely – nothing to do with us, not taxpayers’ money or whatever – but the Beeb seems to be in this huge situation where everything has to be done to prevent the Daily Mail or whatever getting outraged. So when you go on something, you have much more of a chat about what you’re allowed to talk about and what you can and cannot do than you ever used to.”

Murray himself claims to have a higher tolerance for the potentially tasteless. “Nothing offends me really. To be offended by comedy is to talk up not liking something. Saying something is not funny is your right as a comedy viewer, but I don’t know that it’s the same with being offended. Stephen Fry says, in his usual witty, pithy way: ‘Oh dear I’ve offended you have I? F**k off. Too bad.’ And there is something to be said about that point of view. You can find me not funny, but amping it up to be outraged is having your cake and eating it.”

The ripple effect from last year’s Brand/Ross debacle, he says, means laughter has become secondary to whether a joke hurts our feelings. “And so you get a Panorama with Frank Skinner talking to people about edgy comedy in which he’s not allowed to swear. He’s talking about what words are not ­acceptable and he can’t use them to talk about them. And that’s just crazy.”

Murray, perhaps unsurprisingly, was one of Skinner’s guests on the Panorama show when it aired in January. “That was the first time I’ve ever had a conversation with a comedian about what is edgy,” he says.

“We never talk about that – we talk about what’s funny.”
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All this outrage over comedy is getting on my tits. Where will it all end?

A man walked into a bar. Ouch! How terrible! How insulting to all those people who really did walk into something and hurt themselves.

My dog has no nose etc... How spiteful! What about all those dog owners whose faithful companions have had a terrible accident... How must they feel!

You might as well ban all laughter, after all, you're always laughing at somebody.

Go get 'em Al, turn up the heat!

(Actually, this all reminds me of Faceless and I getting banned from a forum long ago for making jokes about turnips and swedes. Apparently it was considered insulting to certain people from Scandinavia!)
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

haha Captain, turnips and swedes - I'd forgotten about them... those sensitive moonshine drinking Scandinavians!

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Happy the man, happy the hour
17 Dec 2009

AL MURRAY's Pub Landlord is one of the most successful comedy characters in "beautiful British" history. In real life, of course, the Chiswick-based drumming enthusiast is far removed from his xenophobic alter-ego. Not only does Al, 41, sport a decent head of hair and beard, but he is an Oxford history graduate. The Pub Landlord, on the other hand, is a man who Al admits is "as stupid as he can be".

How much fun must that be to write?

"Brilliant," he says. "I went on the Wright Stuff and we were talking about the war in Afghanistan. If it was me, it would get very serious very quickly and not funny at all. But the Pub Landlord? We're off! 'Well the Russians were there for ten years. We can't be outstayed by the Russians, because otherwise we're gonna look like poofs!' and so on. If it was somebody really saying those things, it would be completely wrong.

"I was once on radio with a guest from New Zealand. I said 'if it wasn't for us giving you rugby you buggers would have nothing to do' and she was aghast, like; 'What? Does he mean these things?!' The DJ knew I was in character and he found it hilarious."

In the early days Al honed his club act by gigging relentlessly. "For five years I did 4-500 gigs a year," he recalls. "The worst was doing five on a Saturday night. By the fifth I went on and thought, 'I've done this joke already' when of course I hadn't. I'd just done it 40 minutes ago somewhere else!"

Buckinghamshire-born Al is lauded for his ad-libbing, but that skill has clearly come from those early years of graft. He adds: "The reason jazz players can improvise is because they know every combination of notes on the saxophone and piano. I learned to be 'spontaneous' by doing it over and over and over again."

It also helps when you've stored everything you have written. Al has catalogued every gag for the last 15 years. "There's something on the new DVD I wrote in 1994," he says. "It's anal, and it pays off. Hang on, that came out wrong!"

So Al, any New Year's resolutions? "Not really. The only one I ever made was to stop eating crisps... then I became a social crisp eater. It worked, I cut down dramatically."
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Al Murray on what the Germans did for us plus appearing in Liverpool
Catherine Jones,
Liverpool Echo
Oct 29 2010

MENTION the Germans to the Pub Landlord and you can imagine the bigoted British bar-room bore’s robust response – possibly involving football, fighting and rules, rules, rules. But then the blazer-wearing, pint-supping little Englander is about as far away from his creator as you could imagine.

“Everything we think about Germany is wrong,” Al Murray says firmly. “They’re incredibly cultured people, and there’s classical music on at lunchtime everywhere and stuff like that. The German culture involves a lot of old music and they don’t make a song and dance of it, they just get on with it.”

We’ve got on to the subject of our Rhineland cousins because the comedian has recently fronted Al Murray in Germany, due to be screened on BBC4, a historical series about art and culture which aims to debunk the myths about the European state. “It was absolutely fascinating,” he confides. “It’s not political history, although disentangling culture and politics in 19th century Germany is pretty tricky. That’s because there was no Germany until the late part of the century.

“And you’ve got German composers trying to write German music to express Germaness because they’re from Bavaria or Weimar, and it’s that groping around for national identity which is interesting, that’s it’s done culturally rather than politically. And then it goes political – and it all goes wrong.”

If it sounds like the 42-year-old knows what he’s talking about, it’s because he does. It was while studying history at Oxford that the young Alastair James Hay Murray fell into performing. And he admits that if he wasn’t a comedian he would probably have ended up as “teaching history at a minor public school I wouldn’t need an actual teaching qualification for.”

Instead, he met fellow undergraduates like Richard Herring and Stewart Lee, and started performing in the Oxford Revue. Al reveals: “I met Richard and Stewart on my second day at uni. There was a music room in my college, and they were plotting some sketch show in there. You don’t think, ah right, I’ll know these two muppets for 20 years, you think – ooo, that’s interesting, they’re doing some stuff and they’ve written it themselves.”

Al went on to write gags for radio and TV shows like Spitting Image and Week Ending, and in the early part of his career he toured with Frank Skinner, making people laugh with Michael Winslow-style sound effects. It was hooking up with Harry Hill that led to the creation of the Pub Landlord, when Hill asked him to come up with something to front his Edinburgh show.

There was born the xenophobic publican whose pronouncements on everything from metric measures to people who claim they are big-boned, and “beautiful British” names, have had audiences tittering into their pints or ‘fruit-based’ drinks for the past 15 years. An early appearance together was in Liverpool more than a decade ago, an evening Al recalls with a laugh.

“I was staying at the Feathers with Harry Hill, and I didn’t lock myself out of my hotel room but the key didn’t work,” he explains. “And so the night porter kicked the door open. That’s one of those situations where you go, I’m in Liverpool and I’m not going to indulge in any of the welcome to Liverpool stuff, the Scouse thing – and he’s kicked the hotel open!”

Al reckons he’s played most of the city’s venues over the years. Last time fans will have seen him was at the ECHO arena in 2009. Now he’s on his way back to the city next month with his Barrel of Fun tour, but this time he’s appearing at the rather more intimate Philharmonic Hall.

It’s a busy time for the Perrier Award-winning funnyman, with the current tour, new DVD, and The Pub Landlord’s Great British Pub Quiz Book published this week. “I’m not a human being any more, I’m a multi-media platform,” he jokes.

He appears to be as popular as ever, but with Al’s other interests (he admits he’d like to do more in the history line) how long will the Pub Landlord continue on his merry old England way I ask? Al considers: “I never imagined when I started doing him I’d be doing him the following year, let alone 15 years later. You don’t want to get bored, but to be honest, I think there’s probably two people in showbusiness who know what they’re doing the year after next.”

But at least Al knows what he’ll be doing the week after next – bringing laughter to Liverpool.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Al Murray: Through the looking glass
Think the Pub Landlord is a close relative of his creator? Think again. Ian Burrell meets a multilingual, renaissance pint-puller
2 November 2010
The Independent

With the Christmas market in mind, Al Murray has released a DVD that features the Pub Landlord's take on the Holy Father himself. "In Nomine Patris et Filii," says the Guv, theatrically making the sign of the cross. "Patris-Filii-Fidlee-Paedo-Fidlee ..." he continues, standing in front of a giant screen image of Pope Benedict XVI with reddened demon eyes and a black toothbrush moustache in recognition of the Bishop of Rome's German ancestry.

The DVD was shot in Hammersmith, west London, last month but days earlier Murray performed the same routine in Ireland. "You should have been in Dublin when I did that material," he says with a smirk. "You had people on their feet cheering and clapping, and others with their arms folded, shaking their heads. Whether that's because you don't diss the Pope because it's too terrible, I don't know. But that was very, very exciting – the mischief and the energy of it. Mischief is what I'm interested in."

That particular routine, in which the Pub Landlord complains that religion has "gone bonkers mental" suggests rounding up all the paedophile priests and putting them on an island (while pondering "Is the world ready for another Australia?"), is about more than simple mischief making. In real life, Murray – an atheist but one who "is not anti-religion" – was spotted on a protest march during the Pope's visit to Britain in September. "I went on the protest because of the Pope's position on condoms in the Third World and HIV and Aids. I can't see why anyone wouldn't be marching against the Church's attitude on that, I see it as a no-brainer. If the Dalai Lama opposed condoms I would march against him. I wasn't there because I'm worried about the Papist Plot or I want the Catholic Emancipation Act repealed," says the history graduate, his voice shorn of the landlord's sonic boom.

Murray, 42, is the son of a lieutenant colonel and attended boarding school and Oxford University. A brilliant instinctive comic, he is also an urbane, highly cultured man. Next year he will make a documentary to mark the bicentenary of the birth of WM Thackeray, who happens to have been a distant relative. Last year he hosted an insightful BBC4 documentary in which he explored the origins of German nationalism, a favourite topic of his war-obsessed, pint- pulling Little Englander alter ego.

Murray invented the Pub Landlord 15 years ago and has been touring the act for a decade. The character is so well-honed that his creator finds it easy to create new material, knowing how the Guv would react to any circumstances. "The point of view is so well formed that you can feed anything into it," says Murray. "He thinks the Coalition is a lager top, a good cocktail for the summer, but are they a winter warmer?"

Sipping spring water (the horror!), Murray, who recently overheard cinema patrons describing him as a "tall, thin Al Murray", has no concern that his appearances on demos and as a documentary presenter may undermine the impact of a character that made him a star with a series of best-selling books and DVDs. "Now people know there's a real one maybe there's more chance of them understanding that the Pub Landlord is a gag, that I'm trying to send up as many things as possible in one go," he says.

His trademark is quickfire interaction with the front rows, much ridiculing audience members' job descriptions. One of the Hammersmith crowd who said he worked "in the internet world" was told "The internet world? You work in PC World dontchya?" Modern job titles are "hilariously vague or overblown", he says. "Someone said they were a 'merchandiser' when they worked in JD Sports selling shoes."

Does he think there are audience members who still see the Pub Landlord as a hero? "There probably are, but there are people who look at a painting with an apple in front of a bloke's face and think it's an apple in front of a bloke's face," he says, referring to The Son of Man by Magritte. Murray says he can't make the message more obvious. "I'm not going to shout at the end of the show "Not!" or issue disclaimers."

In any case, "everyone's got their own sense of humour haven't they?" and if he was to try to tell people what they should laugh at he'd be no better than the Pub Landlord, declaring that the British are the funniest nation in the world, a view adopted by some of his peers on the circuit. Murray went to the Alpine resort of Meribel recently and delivered his Pub Landlord act in French. "My O-level French is ancient but weirdly hard-wired and I can churn it out. I got the Collins app on the iPhone so that I could pick the verbs I needed and as long as I knew how to decline them I was alright," he says nonchalantly. He also enjoyed performing his routine in Brussels for the bureaucrats the Pub Landlord abhors.

Murray's show at the Edinburgh Festival was a relaxed affair based on the pub quiz. He has turned the act into a book, "a proper playable quiz", and is developing it as a television format. In the meantime, he continues his Barrel of Fun tour. Material for this character, says Murray, is "like a bottomless pit". He is not about to call time on the Pub Landlord.

The Pub Landlord's Great British Pub Quiz Book. A DVD, Barrel of Fun, is released on 22 November.
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