Tim Vine

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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 10:56 pm    Post subject: Tim Vine Reply with quote

Tim Vine at the Bloomsbury Theatre
Dominic Maxwell
The Times

Is there a funnier comic in Britain than Tim Vine? After laughing like a tipsy gibbon at his latest dizzying collection of stupid one-liners, daft props and silly songs, I'm struggling to think of anyone more likely to cheer up a room. Mind you, he's not deep. “Can you remember a word of that?” asked one punter to another, as we filed happily out at the end, and I hugged my notebook tightly. He doesn't live on in the memory with the same force as the great character acts (The Pub Landlord), the great storytellers (Billy Connolly), the great subversives (Stewart Lee), the great funny uncles (Harry Hill).

But funny? The word a comedy critic should say with the same reluctance as a music critic says “musical”? Tim Vine is seriously funny. And if he's not funny, he's nothing, because his act has nothing to hide behind except its at tempts to make us laugh. Out loud. Constantly.

“Can you smile more loudly?” he pleads at the start of this show, Punslinger, firing out puns in his crappy cowboy outfit: “I thought I'd start out with the cowboy jokes. I've got seven and they're magnificent.” Could this be where his big brother Jeremy got the idea for his ill-fated recent cowboy routine on Newsnight? Leave it to the pro, Jeremy. Tim monkeys with meaning with lines assembled as tightly as haikus. On their own, they're Christmas cracker jokes rather than transcendent: “So I saw this crow going crazy: he was raven mad.” But six of them a minute, told fast and fearlessly, open up the portal to a parallel world where rigid meanings become too silly for words.

Vine was once in the Guinness World Records for telling 499 jokes in an hour. He wouldn't be much without them. But his delivery is more important still. He wrangles each stupid play on words with the same childlike enthusiasm. I've tried watching him on DVD and it's not the same: it's a bloke telling a lot of jokes. Live, we're all complicit in the sheer effrontery of his style. He's not cool, edgy, or cynical, he's just daft. But brightly, tightly, inventively, ruthlessly professionally daft. It looks effortless but it's incredibly gutsy.

Tim Vine is never going to change the world. But his unswerving devotion to making us laugh is something pure and wonderful.

Comedy Store - 1997

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PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2008 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tim Vine: Punslinger

Tim Vine has no shame – and that’s exactly what makes him so funny. In his apparent desperation for laugh, he will crack the most tenuous puns, sing the cheesiest songs and prance around with the most stupidly elaborate props, immune to any fears he might be abandoning his dignity. Sure, he might be self-deprecating, frequently drawing attention to how ridiculous his whole act is, but embarrassed? Never.

Such unyielding idiocy comes with buckets of eager-to-please puppy-dog charm. He’s putting so much effort into entertaining us – bless – that the effort is endearing in itself. This is why his wordplay, however tortured, rarely gets a groan; we’re all in on the conspiracy of nonsense.

Occasionally he’ll stop proceedings, as the realisation of how foolish he looks suddenly dawns on him. Just what is a grown man doing with a bunch of small breakfast cereal packets gaffer-taped to an umbrella frame? But such self-realisation is only momentary, and the madness quickly resumes.

The more straightforward puns come at such a pace, you don’t have time to sit in judgment. Vine famously held the gag speed record at one point – but even now he’s slowed down a bit, there are more punchlines in one hour than many comics achieve in a lifetime. He must have the memory of an elephant just to remember his set.

It may seem like a triumph of quantity over quality, but that would be to do him a disservice. While a lot of his work does fit a formula, his best gags are more like intricate, ancient puzzles: you’re given the basic information in the set-up, and already know the mechanics of a pun, but you’ll still be stumped as to the solution until he reveals it with a flourish.

These are the audacious jokes that are so offbeat, and so perfectly succinct, that you’ll be aching to tell them yourself later. But don’t try it; there are so many good lines that new ones will perpetually be pushing out the ones you were trying to make a mental note of. In the end, you’ll remember nothing.

In Punslinger, Vine varies the pace a lot, as you need for a gag-packed 60-minute-plus show. He’ll let rip with a machine-gun burst of gags, then maybe commentate on the way the gig’s going for a minute or two, or possibly amble over to his hefty bag of props for a pun in visual form.

There are also lots of snippets of songs here – rather like his spiritual cousin Harry Hill. Vine’s always done them, too, if not quite to this extent, and often these are just pointlessly vacuous, rather than pun-laden. And, of course, they’re all sung in that cornball lounge singe style, the arm pumping in and out like a locomotive’s piston to emphasise every line.

In black and white, it’s hard to describe how all this chintzy old-school gaggery can condense into moments of sublime silliness, but they do. His spoof ventriloquist act, for example, will have you helpless with laughter simply because of the single-minded childishness of it all.

Like so much of his show, it might at first glance seem like cheap end-of-the-pier tat; but the air is so celebratory, so unfashionably uncynical, that you can only be swept along with the spirit of things. Plus, the jokes underpinning this cheery mood are often much better than you’d expect. Resistance to such an onslaught of silliness is futile.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Redhill, May 2008


I'll be going to Edinburgh just for his show

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

School of short and sharp
Jim Schembri
Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones
April 15, 2009

THE mind of Tim Vine is searching for a gag. "I was going to do a joke about earthquakes, but I'm on shaky ground," he laments. Speaking on a scratchy mobile from Queenscliff, Vine is supposed to be preparing for a swim with the dolphins, but he's distracted. "To be honest, I need to swim with dolphins like a hole in the head."

He needs a topic. What about climate change? "Let's workshop it," Vine commands. "Talk about climate change. What is it about?" What else? Carbon emissions. "Emissions is quite good," he says, thinking out loud. "Yes, here's a punchline. Emission Impossible. That's good." Then it comes. "I said to Tom Cruise, 'What do you think about climate change? He said, 'It was Emission Impossible'." He laughs again. "I'm not sure that's funny at all."

Best known here for the TV comedy program The Sketch Show, Vine is a master of the old-school school of one liners that thrive on puns and wordplays. He's famous in Britain and his first two shows at the Melbourne Comedy Festival sold out. Admittedly, his venue only seats around 100, but it is his debut.

Vine began doing stand-up in 1993 after a series of "monkey jobs, like working in shops. Not that working in shops is meant for monkeys. Don't write that down." He experimented with a chatty style before warming to rapid-fire gags. "It happened because I get nervous about waiting too long between laughs," he says. "That's why I like short jokes, it's the sort of comedy I liked when I was growing up. I do the type of comedy I used to do when I was at school basically. that's why I'm an old-school comedian."

Vine held the Guinness record in 2004 for telling 499 jokes in an hour. Does his quick style discourage hecklers? "It helps that there aren't many gaps," Vine says. Still, he's not heckler-proof. "The best heckle I ever had was, 'Go hang yourself, Blondie', which was a nice combination of aggression and a certain amount of affection."

Given the sorry state of the world Vine agrees his innocent, non-confrontational style offers an escape. "There's something to be said for taking people out of the world with all its serious issues, and just simply wandering on and going, 'Velcro: what a rip-off.' It's kind of inconsequential, isn't it? There may be some point in the future, hopefully not too soon, when I'll get out of bed and I'm no longer seen as funny. At the moment I do short jokes and people seem to like it."
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Location: Derry

PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, a man walks into a Tim Vine thread...
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tim Vine in Dorking, Epsom and Croydon
January 21, 2010

Not only is Tim Vine able to come out with one-liners at lightening speed, so it seems he is able to shower at a rapid pace. When I first get the man dubbed the "Joke Machine Gun" on the phone he asks if I would mind if he takes a quick shower before we chat and says he will ring me back. I was quite surprised at how "quick" when the phone rings barley four minutes later and Vine is ready for an interview. "Yes I shower quick – I think it was about four minutes," he says laughing.

Vine, who hails from Banstead, is known for doing some things quickly – in particular firing out puns. In 2004 the award-winning comic broke the Guinness World Record for the most jokes told in an hour – with 499 gags. "I held the world record for eight months. It was quite an intense experience. It had to be a paying audience and they had to laugh at every joke. At one point I was going so fast I thought 'I must breath'."

Vine brings his latest stand up show, The Joke-amotive, to various Surrey locations over the next couple of months, but he says there is preparation behind the speedy onslaught of comedy that audiences can expect to experience.

"The new tour, Joke-amotive, is me doing lots of new jokes – so more of the same thing but different. I also drop in some of the old favourites. The last six months I have been trying to get this tour together and write stuff, thinking and talking to myself. It's quite labour intensive. You let yourself write rubbish and then hopefully one or two good bits come out of it."

Going into comedy was not always the young Vine's dream, who got his first job at Alders in Croydon age 18 but later went on to scoop the prestigious Perrier Best Newcomer Award in 1995.

"I used to want to be a popstar. I used to play in bands and it's still a bit of a mystery to me the whole music business. But I have always liked being on stage. I have always been a bit like that ever since I was at school. I used to write plays and do puppet shows. I am a middle child, and when you are a middle child you want to let people know you are there. When you are oldest or youngest you know your position. But when you are in the middle you have to create something to let people know you are there."

Being in the limelight is also something Vine's siblings have aspired to. Tim's older brother is well-known author, journalist and BBC Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine and his younger sister Sonia is a painter and actress. And it seems entertainment was something the family was destined to partake in early in life.

"Jeremy always wanted to do radio." says Vine. "We used to do a thing called drain pipe radio that went outside the bedroom and into the kitchen. It then became angel radio where it went down a wire. Our mum and dad were the audience and my sister used enter all the competitions."

Along with touring Vine has appeared on our screens many times over the years with his television credits including BAFTA winning The Sketch Show (ITV), the sitcom Not Going Out alongside Lee Mack (BBC1) and hosting Whittle (Five), Fluke (Channel 4) and Housemates (BBC1). And 2009 was no exception – last year Vine even managed to get on TV across the pond in Australia by appearing on Neighbours.

"I was doing the Melbourne festival and I said to my agent, 'Can you get me on Neighbours for a laugh,'" says Vine. "And I got on it. I was a lost tourist – and also clearly an idiot – because I had to stand under a massive Lassiter's sign and ask where it was – and then I mispronounced it as well."

Over here Vine made appearances on two other popular TV shows – Countdown and Mastermind. Vine was crowned the winner of Celebrity Mastermind 2009 specialising on the topic of his childhood idol – Elvis Presley. "I have always been transfixed by him. He is very, very cool," Vine says of Elvis. "I did a lot of revision before the show. It is a bit like an exam. I revised The Elvis Encyclopaedia – It was my text book. But it wasn't a great deal of help. It would say May 3rd 1963 Elvis has a swim – all the minute detail. The two questions I got wrong were relatively easy but I thought they were being clever so I answered something else. I got a little trophy with a chair on it and we all had a designated charity to donate to."

Of Countdown Vine says: "I did a few episodes in dictionary corner. I suppose I should have learned a new word. But I kept thinking of jokes. If I saw the word cow or house I was thinking, do I know any jokes about those."

As it is a particularly cold and dismal day when I am talking to Vine, I ask if he has any jokes to cheer up our readers before he goes. And they start to fire out at rapid pace: "I saw these two snowflakes having an argument – I said, 'Alright now settle…'"

Nicole Le Marie
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

British comedian wins 'best' one-liner at the annual Edinburgh Fringe Festival
August 23, 2010

Tim Vine is celebrating after delivering the "best" one-liner at the world's biggest arts festival. Judges, commissioned by UK TV station Dave, sat through around 7200 jokes at the annual Edinburgh Fringe Festival and gave the accolade to Tim Vine, the British comic who briefly held the record for telling the most jokes in an hour.

“I’ve just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday,” Vine said. “I’ll tell you what: never again.”

The joke allowed Vine to beat the likes of American entertainer Emo Philips and Liverpool-born funnyman John Bishop to the award. Judges were also asked to nominate their least favourite jokes at the Fringe. Sarah Pascoe was named for having the worst joke: “Why did the chicken commit suicide? To get to the other side.”
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2010 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tim Vine...
3rd December 2010
Belfast Telegraph

In August, Tim won the prize for the funniest joke of the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe. His new DVD, Tim Vine: Punslinger Live, is out now, and he returns for a new series of sitcom Not Going Out in the new year.

It was great fun actually. Funnily enough, I was doing a tour called the Joke- Amotive at the time and I had to re-learn Punslinger to record it, so that did concentrate the mind slightly. Any time a man in his 40s can behave like a fool is all right by me.

Yeah, I suppose they're all like my children. Any bits that take longer than a one-liner always help fill the hour, so I do have a soft spot for them. They're like gold dust, because so many of my jokes are over so quickly, like: "Three cheers for rap music: Hip hop ..."

I wouldn't say it's a nightmare, but it's certainly time-consuming. It would be a nightmare if someone said to me: "You have to come up with a new gig in two months," or something. I'd rather be given six months to get on with it.

You can bounce ideas off friends and things, but the acid test is with an audience. I might try a joke on someone who's a mate of mine and they might laugh their heads off, and I'd think: 'Ooh that's good' and I do it with an audience and it gets nothing, and vice versa.

There was pretty much my life's work in there. The only thing I have done is deliberately not put jokes in from my last two tours, so there's no jokes from Punslinger in there and my most recent tour, Joke- Amotive. What I have thought of doing is a book of scrawly cartoons because I quite enjoy doing that.

I only had it for about eight months, so it wasn't very long, but I've got a certificate on my wall which does give the impression I've still got it. Someone from Australia beat me, I think.

Not really, because if I went and did it again I would then end up being beaten again fairly quickly afterwards, so I'd be in the same position I am now but I'd have two certificates on my wall. I'm not sure that makes a great deal of difference.

That was great fun. I was doing the Melbourne Comedy Festival and I just said to my agent as a laugh to see if he could get me on Neighbours, and he managed it somehow. I wasn't someone who had watched Neighbours recently. I remember it from the past. I was very into it during the whole Kylie era.

So I was in a scene with a girl who I didn't know and I didn't know what the storyline was. I didn't know anything about it. I was just asking them about directions to Lassiters, which was slightly surreal. And I wanted to keep it a secret from my mum and dad because they watch it all the time. I was hoping I could keep it completely quiet and then one day they'd be sitting watching it and I'd just pop up, but I couldn't do it. As soon as I got home I told them.

We just finished a new series so that starts in January. It's very funny, I can reveal that. Lee (Mack) has done a great job on it again because he does the writing. The strength of the show is all about the amount of time Lee locks himself in his tool shed and does his writing. The amount of work that's gone into the writing of each show is great.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tim Vine interview
Just before he sets off on his Joke-amotive tour we caught up with Tim Vine to discuss Countdown, darts and the only thing that could derail his comedy choo-choo...

You're about to set off on your Joke-amotive tour – are you worried anything could derail it? (sorry, sorry...)
Well, there are all sorts of things that could derail it, but I guess the main one would be if I forget everything, but hopefully that won't happen. I did it 80 times last year so I think it should be in there. I think the key to it is repetition. It must be harder to remember Hamlet though, than a load of gags. People often think that my act's not linked but it is, in my head at least anyway, the jokes flow into each other.

One of your gags is 'I'm a very private and secretive person......that's it really.' You don't tell personal stories like some comics, is there a deep and troubled reason for that?
Not really no, the main reason's because my day to day life's a bit boring. I tend to just potter about and play some darts, then have meetings about things that are never going to happen. I think if I was to base a routine on that there'd be an ovation of yawning.

A few years back Tommy Cooper once got the credit for a load of your jokes which became a huge email hit - was that hard to take?
Yeah initially, but it was a while ago so I'm over it now. I guess it's a professional hazard, especially with the sort of jokes I write, they're very verbal so they work written down. You couldn't really do that with the observational humour someone like John Bishop does, say, they're not the same without the context. I guess there are so many outlets these days too. It's not so bad, I mean at least there's someone out there laughing, and I tend to finish a show these days and then put it on a DVD. Plus I put out a joke book, so I can step away from the gags when they're done knowing I've put them down somewhere.

You've won Dave's funniest joke at the Edinburgh fringe last year - can you tell straight away when a gag you've written is a bit special?
I didn't think the one that won it was to be honest, I liked it but you can never tell really. There are some times I get a gut feeling that something's good, because when I write it, that's the first time I see it and I find myself laughing out loud. The only way to really find out is to try it with an audience, I've been caught out before by a joke I've laughed at getting no reaction, and the other way round too.

You're not averse to a bit of panto, you've used puppets and your comedy heroes are the old-school gagsmiths – would you say you're part of a fightback against dark, cynical comedy?
Maybe, but I don't think the sort of thing I do ever really went away, jokes are always around, there's always silly stuff. I think when I started there was less of the sort of thing I do, and much more observational and edgy stuff. In terms of heroes I think when you start out doing five minute sets on the comedy circuit your heroes are the guys who are doing 20 minutes, and you're learning by sitting in the wings and watching these great people. When I was first starting out I wasn't watching hours of Les Dawson, much as I love him, it was the other people I was working with who I learned from.

In Channel 4's 100 Greatest Stand Ups poll you jumped from 100 to 36 in four years – next time you'll top it, with that trajectory. Do you take any heed of that kind of thing?
Exactly, for the next one I'll be off the scale! I think with those kinds of polls if there was one person deciding it'd be a more accurate reflection, but you can't really take them seriously. Especially when you look at who they leave out, people like Larry Grayson weren't on there, so that really highlights their flaws. I think generally it seems to be the more people are seeing you the higher up you go, it's nice to know people like you, but you can't take it seriously.

You've become a fairly regular guest on Countdown – is playing with words one of your hobbies even aside from joke writing?
No, only in the context of comedy – I'm really rubbish at the game. Everytime when I've been faced with the letters and that music is playing, all the contestants have their heads down, I'm just trying to find a word I recognise, like cow, and working out if I've got a joke about it. Susie Dent's really good at it and she'll push words over to me on a scrap of paper, I never get any. I'll sometimes say things like "you'd have asparagus if there was an extra s", but that's about the best I get. The only slight downside is that I've been on a few times and forget what I've said, so the audience are probably groaning when they see the word Velcro come up on the board...

Not Going Out's going from strength to strength - any plans to muscle Lee out of the way and star in your own sitcom?
I couldn't muscle Lee out of anything! Sure, if someone said "Tim do you fancy doing your own show?" I'd have a whirl at it. As it is I've got the best end, Lee's writing for the new series at the minute so while he's hard at work in his shed I'm just mucking about in the sunshine.

You're a one-time record breaking gag merchant, the fastest pun-slinger in the west - is there anyone who you've got your eye on who might nab your gag-telling crown?
The more the merrier I reckon, I'm not desperately trying to be the best quick gag-teller of anything, I mean Ken Dodd's still around for one thing. There's a good few people about, Milton Jones is going from strength to strength, Gary Delaney's very funny, Jimmy Carr of course. There's room for all of us.

Tim's Joke-amotive tour starts on April 1 – for ticket information see
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tim Vine's got a neat line in laughter
His mastery of the pun has just won him another award. So how did Tim Vine rise from being Jeremy’s under-achieving little brother to the hottest stand-up comedian of the moment?
Photo: Geoff Pugh
Glenda Cooper
20 Feb 2012

To mark Shrove Tuesday tomorrow, Tim Vine immediately conjures up a one-liner: “I had a dream last night. I was stuck driving around a roundabout. My right hand was steering, my left hand was making pancakes. I spent all night tossing and turning.” He quickly caps that with a belated Valentine’s Day joke: “I went out on a date with Simile. I don’t know what I metaphor.”

If you like this sort of punning, you’ll love Vine. Earlier this month the comedian won the prize for Joke of the Year at the Lafta Awards. The joke – “Conjunctivitis.com – now that’s a site for sore eyes” – beat other submissions from the likes of Jimmy Carr and Paul Daniels. And yet, the former Perrier Newcomer of the Year, former holder of the world record for the most jokes told in an hour (499) and star of the BBC sitcom Not Going Out might never have enjoyed such success if it hadn’t been for the vagaries of fashion.

Tim Vine’s first dream was to be a popstar. In the early 1980s he formed a group with a school friend and his older brother Jeremy (the BBC TV and radio presenter) called The Flared Generation (in protest against the craze at the time for drainpipe jeans). The embryo rockers even made a brief appearance on a local TV programme, The Six O’Clock Show, in 1984 in which they were interviewed by an up-and-coming Danny Baker. So what happened to the future of rock’n’roll? Was there a Noel and Liam Gallagher, Oasis-style bust up? “No, it fell apart when Jeremy went to university. And flares came into fashion, so we were stuffed. The protest movement was over, our job was done.”

But Vine, 44, didn’t give up completely. While his older brother went off to Durham and then to climb the ranks at the BBC, the younger Vine rejected further education, preferring to stay in his bedroom in middle-class Cheam, writing songs and doing a succession of jobs. He made tea for dealers at the Stock Exchange, stuffed envelopes and worked in Allders department store in Croydon. Didn’t his lack of focus concern his parents, Guy (a former polytechnic lecturer) and Diana?

“Looking back, I think my parents were a bit worried,” muses Vine. “I remember my mother persuaded me to go and meet someone at Kingston University. I can’t remember if I actually said 'my mum made me come and see you’, but I obviously wasn’t keen, so nothing came of it.”

Instead, Vine heard about the Comedy Café in London, which was then offering five-minute slots on Wednesday nights, with a £25 prize for the best performer. He went up after work every Wednesday night; he didn’t win at all for the first year but he was hooked. He honed his act as a succession of quick-fire one-liners. “I’ve sometimes thought about why I end up doing this barrage of jokes. Perhaps it was because I didn’t like waiting too long for the next laugh, which may be an insecurity.”

Unlikely. Dressed in a red jumper and shirt, he is the picture of relaxation, pushing his unkempt blonde hair off his forehead repeatedly, and breaking off many times to respond to people waving to him; he’s obviously a popular local celebrity. “I’m a homeboy,” he says of his decision to stay close to his childhood home in Banstead, where a local diner has named a burger after him. “It’s not that I’ve had a draw to stay but I haven’t had enough of a draw to leave. It is a bit like James Stewart in It’s A Wonderful Life. I occasionally have that feeling that I should get out of there but most of the time I’m chilled out.”

His biggest influences were the entertainers of the 1970s: “Morecambe and Wise, Tommy Cooper, Les Dawson. But Frankie Howerd was my favourite; his face was just made for comedy. If you look at the music-hall tradition, there were a lot of one-liners, and that continued until the supposedly alternative circuit started. Suddenly there were people talking about real things in their lives. But I don’t really want to go up and do a big confessional on stage. For me, it’s just about making people laugh.”

Has his love of the one-liner ever caused problems in relationships? He laughs: “No, no. For one thing, I don’t pun excessively in real life. I’m single at the moment, but I don’t think my comedy puts off women.” But is there any difference in what men and women find funny? For example, women love comedian Miranda Hart’s series, while men seem more ambivalent: “I think Miranda has done brilliantly – she’s seen that gap in market for girls being silly. Women don’t always do that. Particularly coming through the stand-up circuit, it can be tempting to try to out-lad the lads.”

In fact, if there’s a word that Vine would use to sum up his act, it’s probably “silliness”. “I think there’s something child-like, certainly. You let yourself write in the same way that kids do, without any filter.” His big breakthrough came in 1994 with a spot on Pebble Mill. It began with Vine with a lampshade on his head (he was apologising for being “a shade late”). He still regrets not accepting his Perrier Newcomer award while holding a cucumber (“I should have gone up and said: 'I thought this was for best cucumber’ ”). He says the fact that he’s a Christian doesn’t mean that he deliberately keeps his act clean for religious reasons, but “I want my mum and dad to watch it, and they’re not crazy about effing and blinding.”

While he’s self-deprecating about his achievements – as a middle child (his younger sister Sonya is a painter/actress), he quips that he’s happy to play up for our photographer because he “needs attention”– the late Bob Monkhouse once remarked of Vine that he “extended the trick of wordplay to lengths no one has ever reached before”.

Like Monkhouse, Vine’s gags are all meticulously recorded in a large number of notebooks and postcards. When he’s preparing for a tour, he writes at least 15 jokes a day, even if they aren’t all used. “I do quantity – the quality will look after itself.” Despite the awards – in addition to this year’s Lafta, he won the Best Joke award at the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe, with the line: “I’ve just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I’ll tell you what, never again”; and came second the following year with “Crime in multi-storey car parks. That is wrong on so many different levels” – is it annoying always to be known as Jeremy Vine’s brother?

“Absolutely not,” he says firmly. “I’m very proud of him. We plough our separate furrows. In some circles people know me and in others they know Jeremy. As you get older, I think any rivalries that may be there have their edges softened anyway.

“But Jeremy did once confess to me,” he adds with a mischievous grin, “that Joan Armatrading came up to him at a do, and he was thinking 'this is great’, and then she said: 'Are you Tim Vine’s brother?’”
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