Jim’s back – but don’t tell the mother-in-law
24th April 2010
Jim Davidson today spoke of his disillusionment with the General Election, his love of Banks’s beer and his fear that he may bump into his former mother-in-law. The veteran comedian was talking ahead of his visit to Wolverhampton’s Civic Hall tomorrow as part of his If I Ruled the World tour. It is the latest in a long line of visits during a career spanning several decades.
Now 56, he hasn’t mellowed, just got more cynical about his country and increasingly critical about the three party leaders. He said: “What’s going on at the moment makes me want to scream – these three fellows all up there debating and not one of them has said anything worth listening to. Sometimes I think I’m the only person left in this country with common sense.
“The place has gone mad on political correctness, shops are shutting, there’s too many old people and too many shell suited miserable families who need getting rid of. And there’s never any police about. It’s dead handy if you want to drive home drunk or rob someone’s house but there’s no point doing that because no-one’s got any money any more. The country’s rubbish.”
It will be the eighth time he has visited the city in a career which has spanned 34 years since he made his TV debut on the much-loved seventies talent show New Faces. Since then, as well as getting embroiled in controversies, he has picked up an OBE, performed countless free gigs to British forces all over the world and done a huge amount of charity work.
He says he has a genuine affection for the Black Country, particularly Wolverhampton where his fourth wife Tracy Hilton came from. He said: “I love Wolverhampton. I know it well.” His fourth marriage ended after 10 years and three children. The couple divorced amid revelations about his affairs.
“Now when I come to Wolverhampton I have to do the show, have a drink, get a curry and escape before the mother-in-law knows I’m here,” he joked. “It’s a shame because it’s a great place – it’s like the biggest village in the world, everyone’s friendly and cheerful – and Banks’s beer is lovely stuff.”
Such an attitude means that Davidson is sure to receive a warm welcome. And as he approaches three and a half decades in show business as one of Britain’s most famously controversial comics, he shows no signs of letting up.
Jim Davidson has been fined £130 for speeding – despite claming he wasn’t driving at the time. The comic said he wasn’t behind the wheel of his black Range Rover when it was filmed doing 96mph on a dual carriageway in Devon last August. But, bizarrely, Davidson, who lives as a tax exile in Dubai, suggested paying a fine for breaking the law was in some way related to the recession. ‘I don't mind paying, everyone is having to tuck their belts in,’ he told magistrates.
The 56-year-old said of the film of the car speeding on the 70mph A380: ‘I recognise the bald bloke but, hand on heart, I don't think it's me driving. Enough is enough, I will pay. I will accept the court is telling me I was driving that vehicle. I want to put this to bed. I don't want to be a pest so I owned up. In reality I don't think it's me.’
Davidson, who also got six points on his licence and was told to pay £60 court costs and a £15 court surcharge, was served a summons backstage at a theatre where he was performing. He had faced a ban, but spent £5,000 to fly back from Dubai to plead his case in person.
Jim Davidson to join Herald Express (Torquay) as star columnist
COMEDIAN Jim Davidson will be jotting down his words of wisdom as a weekly Herald Express columnist. As a regular visitor and former seasonal resident, Jim's take on life and past encounters of Torbay life will appear in the paper every Wednesday. The new column coincides with the launch of his play Stand Up And Be Counted which will see its world premiere at the Princess at the end of February.
Jim said: "It is a great honour to be asked to write a weekly column for the Herald Express. It certainly makes a change from being on the front pages because of some scandal or other. I'm looking forward to sharing some of my Torquay stories with you all as well as my views on how the world should be run. I will also give a week to week commentary on how my new play Stand Up And Be Counted is doing in the run up to our opening night at the Princess Theatre."
Jim's £100,000 show will also be rehearsed in Torquay before touring the country for 14 weeks.
Words of wisdom? I'll fetch my tweezers and microscope...
Stand Up And Be Counted - Live Review
8th March 2011
Jim Davidson has been talking a good game when it comes to his play Stand Up And Be Counted, softening his normal belligerence to accept that there may be a debate to be had about his brand of attack comedy, and the effect it can have on its victims. But when it comes to putting this into practice, it’s handled with the subtlety of a chemical plant. Arguments are simplistic, drama is crowbarred in and the characters one-dimensional stereotypes – hardly a convincing argument that Davidson has changed his ways.
The only one of any complexity is the lead character Eddie Pierce, a washed-up alcoholic comic who peddles outdated pub jokes about Paddies and poofs, while seething with bitterness that he’s no longer a big TV star. Remind you of anyone? Keen to prove he’s still relevant, the old bigot agrees to perform at a West End Aids benefit. In Davidson’s unenlightened binary mind this means the entire audience comprises 600 gay men. But as well as facing his fears onstage, he must also mingle backstage with his professional nemeses from the younger generation.
Chief of these is Earl T Richards, a hot-property comic played by modern circuit stand-up Matt Blaize. And lest you think that Davidson can’t write realistic black characters, Earl is a sexually aggressive, homophobic man who boasts about black athletic supremacy and supplies drugs to another character. And he’s got a big cock. On meeting Eddie’s wife, Suzie, Richards is shedding clothes and making his moves – and since Eddie thinks he’s not on TV any more because of the likes of Earl, this clichéd character is basically someone who’s come into Eddie’s patch, taking his jobs and ravishing his women.
Also on the bill is Ellie Jayne, a vacuous bimbo who came second in England’s Got Talent as a comic, even though she seems to have so little concept of comedy, it’s hard to believe she could ever win over an audience. She is the prompt for Eddie’s predictable whines about the superficial, disposable qualities of today’s reality-show culture, but there’s little depth beyond this.
Then there’s Billy Simpson, a camp chat-show host in the Alan Carr mould. You can tell he’s gay as he wears a pink shirt and goes ‘Oooh’ in a style so effeminate it makes John Inman look like Silvio Berlusconi. Eddie rails against the number of ‘turd burglars’ on TV – although behind the homophobic jibes, Davidson does raise one valid point: If stereotyping is so bad from comics of his generation, why do so many gay comics camp it up so much?
Largely, though, Eddie’s argument – and we assume, Davidson’s – is that people should ‘lighten up’ as a joke is just a joke. He’s challenged on it by the other characters, but toothlessly, serving only to prompt the defence. Although these are ideas that should be debated, it needs a stronger – and perhaps less partisan – writer than Davidson to put some meat on the issue.
Instead of winning the argument, we are supposed to feel sorry for Eddie because of the personal tragedies and setbacks he’s had – which are clunkily and oh-so conveniently revealed in the second half. Eddie thus emerges as a flawed character with a tough life, deserving of our sympathy for that alone. All that hatred-peddling is thus brushed under the carpet under a schmaltzy ‘underneath it all, he’s got a heart of gold’ message. It’s unnerving to think Davidson wrote this about what is essentially himself.
As well as the backstage drama, the second half of the show also includes extracts from the benefit gig, providing an interesting, if not always seamless, mix of stand-up and theatre.
Despite what we see in the dressing room, the dim character of Ellie proves surprisingly adept as a comedian, at least in the hands of actress Rachael Barrington, giving at least some credence to the idea she could have won a talent show. As Billy, Lloyd Hollett – a genuine cruise ship entertainer – has some pizzazz as a compere, though his supposedly modern material is antiquated. Blaize, who presumably wrote his own set here as it definitely has a contrasting feel to the rest, has oodles of swagger and charisma – although you might wonder how his character got to be so successful with such a mixed bag of material, from the lows of punchline-free polemic to the highs of sharp one-liners.
Unlike Trevor Griffiths’ thematically similar – and rightly acclaimed – 1975 play Comedians, which foresaw the alternative comedy boom by a few years, Stand Up And Be Counted feels behind the times. No consideration is given to modern shock comics such as Frankie Boyle, which you would have thought were hugely relevant to this argument. instead Eddie/Jim bemoans modern comedy for being politically correct and banging on about ‘issues’ such as global warming. You could probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of comedians in these apolitical times talking about this … and none of them is on telly. But in this world Davidson has created, Ben Elton is still respected.
Given all the baggage he comes with, there is undeniably a frisson of seeing Davidson examining his own work and image, however flawed the execution. And when he performs stand-up as Eddie, he’s giving the audience what they want. They lapped up his dirty pub gags and second-hand quips (an Emo Philips joke gets one of the best responses) with such glee, that you wonder whether Davidson mightn’t have been better just touring as himself, without all the shenanigans of the play. Some of the previous proceedings do get laughs; although it’s often from horrific homophobic jibes, or rants that sound like a Richard Littlejohn column.
At one point Eddie is asked if he wants to be remembered as a great comic, or for being a bete noir – and this play appears very much as Davidson’s attempt to rewrite his own legacy. But while there are valid points to be made about the imperfect ethos of modern comedy, you suspect Davidson’s core audience could do without the navelgazing, while such a simplistic script as this is unlikely to win over an artier crowd. A missed opportunity.
The show's future performances have been cancelled because of poor ticket sales... what a personal disaster!
If you want to hear a couple of recent interviews with Davidson, download the latest interview pack from the sticky thread in this section.
"Offensive? Yeah, I suppose it is. You've got me there." He’s the comic we love to hate – and he’s got plenty of hate to give back in return. But where does the foul-mouthed bigotry of the stage act end, and the real Jim Davidson begin? Or are they one and the same man? PAUL KIRKLEY enjoys a frank exchange of views with showbiz’s Mr Nasty in advance of his sold-out stand-up show in Soham this weekend.
It's a rare creature indeed who can combine an OBE, three Showbusiness Personality of the Year accolades and a TV Times Award for Funniest Man on Television with a top 20 placing in a nationwide poll of the 100 Worst Britons. But then few Showbusiness Personalities polarise opinion like James Cameron Davidson – a performer so divisive he makes Marmite look like Ban-ki Moon.
The South Londoner made his name in the late 70s on proto-X Factor talent contest New Faces, which led to five series of his own ITV variety show and the lead role in a couple of forgettable sitcoms. In later years, he fronted the bafflingly durable snooker-based quiz Big Break and, as if to affirm his place at the heart of British television’s family entertainment landscape, was chosen to replace Sir Brucie himself as host of The Generation Game.
That he did all this while continuing to perform what his press publicity calls a “near-the-knuckle” stand-up act – a euphemism for a toxic mix of racist, sexist, homophobic extreme right-wing bigotry – is remarkable. That he kept this dual career going through a series of scandals and revelations – including wife-beating, alcoholism, bankruptcy and allegations of abusive behaviour – suggests he must have been in possession of some very compromising pictures of some very powerful TV executives. Or maybe it was the charity work that swung it (Davidson is a famously energetic campaigner for the British Armed Forces, for whom he still performs regularly – hence the OBE).
Or maybe, as the man himself argues, he is simply the product of a different era: an era when people – good, honest, decent people – saw nothing wrong with the idea of a white man talking in Jamaican patois while pretending to be a tokin’ stoner called Chalky White. Even today, while he may be kryptonite to TV commissioning editors, Davidson continues to pack theatres up and down the country (his show at The Brook in Soham this Sunday sold out weeks ago), appealing to – we must presume – good, honest, decent people who just happen to enjoy a good laugh at the expense of blacks, Asians, gays, the disabled and (save our sides) rape victims.
Now 58, Davidson remains as unreconstructed and unapologetic as ever. Throughout the course of our conversation, he will admit to deliberately goading people he suspects might take offence at him, and appears to positively relish reciting parts of his act that are not so much near the knuckle as sliced to the bone.
At one point, he tries to suggest there is clear blue water between the real Jim Davidson and the one on stage, but you only need to read his blog or his tweets or his various pronouncements on behalf of his beloved Conservative Party to see you could barely slide one of his many divorce papers between the man and the act. Though he says he tries not to be, he’s also clearly fixated with the younger generation of more on-message comics who have elbowed him off our TV screens (a subject addressed at length in a somewhat self-serving play wot he wrote last year called Stand Up and Be Counted).
In the interests of full disclosure, however, I should state that, while the conversation that follows might read like a Paxman interrogation at times, Davidson and I actually seemed to get on rather – perhaps worryingly – well. I can’t condone his act, which I find hateful and, crucially, not at all funny (let’s be clear: Chalky White is like a Jeremy Hardy routine compared to some of the material I found during a search through some of Davidson’s YouTube clips.)
But I can’t help admire his Teflon resistance to criticism: Jim Davidson might dish it out, but he can take it, too. Far from being a prickly or peevish interviewee, he’ll engage with anything you throw at him, and his not unfriendly teasing about my leftie student Guardian-reading credentials had me laughing, despite myself. Perhaps there’s a nice, family-friendly entertainer waiting to emerge from behind that Mr Nasty facade after all. Or perhaps not.
Hello Jim. So you’re on another big tour…
Big tour, little theatres. The thinking is I’m going out to do the big ones in the autumn with a slightly different show – but I’m keeping that one under wraps. So I thought I’d go and do all the littley ones again.
Do you write a brand new show for every tour or…
Write? What does that mean?
Think up, then. Or are there a few old favourites you like to pull out of the bag?
I’m not sure yet, ’til I get there. Young comics say ‘Oh I’m gonna write some new stuff’. I don’t know how they do that. I just go on and see what comes into my head. Everything changes doesn’t it? I mean on the day you’ve got the weather, the news, the theatre, the locality, people in the front row, people coming in late, this and that. So there’s a good 20, 25 minutes of just messing around and feeling which way people are going to go.
I quite like that, ’cos you think: Oh God, here we go. You get the pain from the adrenaline rush. The fear.
You still get the fear after all these years?
Oh, horrible. When you think of it, it’s an odd job, isn’t it? Going out and speaking to people for an hour and a bit. About nothing in particular. And being aware they’ve come out to have a real good time, and no matter how you do and how you are, you’re going to be compared with another comedian they go and see. Let’s hope it’s Eddie Izzard.
You think you’d fare well against Eddie?
I can’t understand a word he talks about to tell you the truth, so I shouldn’t really have picked him, I should have picked a comedian comedian.
You’re unlikely to have much of a crossover audience, wouldn’t you say?
I don’t know. I wouldn’t go see him.
How would you describe your audience these days? Have you noticed them getting older as you have?
No. They really range from… I would say, good honest working and middle class people. In fact everybody comes to see me. Everyone comes to see me get things off me chest – probably the same things they’ve got on their chests.
So what would you like to get off your chest today?
Dunno. Those two boxers knocking fuck out of each other, on the same day Muhammad Ali celebrates his 70th. What else would there be? The NHS. I go mental about the NHS. They should shut it down, then we wouldn’t have all these problems. If you can’t afford to pay for private medical insurance, die. [Laughs] It’s that type of things I talk about. Some people say, how can he say that? Well you say it to get a laugh from people with half a brain – which is all you need to see me.
How much of it do you believe, though?
I like to take things to extremes. I really think we’d be better with everyone being able to afford private medical insurance. I think it’s funny that people demand the NHS, knowing that it’s crap. Knowing they’re going to go up there with a veruca and come back with an arm gone from some infection. But they still say, well, it’s my right. I think, hang on, how about we get the government to give you £600 a year for private medical insurance? Bugger that, I’ll buy a widescreen television. That’s the type of thing that makes me laugh. And also foreign aid, I’d speak about foreign aid – why we do all that.
You’re not happy with that?
Are we not just repaying our debt for all those years of turning the world over?
Did we? I thought we taught it how to stop eating each other. And throwing spears at each other and things like that. Places we didn’t go they’re still fucking animals, aren’t they? Have you been to Belgium?
I’m just trying to get a handle on where your real opinions stop and…
I don’t think people want my real opinions. They want an opinion from me that’s going to make them laugh. I think we can all be a bit too Ben Elton, can’t we? You’ve just got to have a laugh. No-one tells jokes any more.
But if those opinions wind people up and offend them, that’s good for you, isn’t it?
Yeah, course it is. How would I offend them? First of all they’ve paid to come and see me. How can I possibly offend them? They know me. They come to have a laugh. You know, when I go to a party or something and there’s someone there who is exactly what you’re talking about - someone who would take offence, the sort who would never go to a Jim Davidson gig, someone who reads The Guardian perhaps - then I go even more bigoted and horrible.
I’ll give you an example, I was [here he actually starts sniggering, like a naughty schoolboy] with the Grand Provost of Glasgow, and his wife – and they were rank Labour supporters. And I was at the top table with them at this Scottish showbusiness ball. And she went on about how she didn’t like my sense of humour and how she didn’t like this and didn’t like that. And she said ‘do you like Glasgow?’ And I said ‘yes - there’s not so many darkies living here as there is in England’. Well, she nearly fucking had a heart attack with shock. Now that is something I didn’t mean at all, but I just couldn’t stop myself from upsetting that woman. She was lucky I said darkies. I was in a good mood.
You’re easily provoked, then?
Nah not really. I just couldn’t stand her getting on her high horse. She was saying to me, ‘why do you vote Conservative? I suppose there’s some good in you somewhere’ You don’t expect that, do you? Of course there’s no good in me.
It seems to me that there are two Jim Davidsons: there’s the Generation Game, Big Break, family entertainer with all the charity work and the OBE and the Variety Club awards…
Yeah, how did that come about? I could never get my head round that. Someone must have come and seen me on stage and thought: I know, that dirty, filthy, awful, bigoted comic is just what we need for a family show on the BBC. It’s bizarre, isn’t it?
Do you miss that side of it? Would you like the chance to do more family entertainment type stuff?
I liked The Generation Game, although it was a very difficult show to make. And to an extent I liked Big Break, although it wasn’t particularly taxing. I think they stopped making The Generation Game because it was just too expensive and too hard to do.
Have you burned your bridges a bit with that audience?
No, because I was doing The Generation Game at the same time I was doing Sinderella - a dirty, filthy panto. I think audiences know what they’re going to get – they trust me. If I do a pantomime – a clean one – they know it’s going to be okay. But if I’m doing stand-up and it’s adults only, they know they’re going to get both barrels. I’ve been lucky in that way – probably unique in that way.
The lead character in your play Stand Up and Be Counted was a thinly-veiled version of yourself…
Actually it was a thinly-veiled – a very veiled version – of what people’s perception of me is. And what went wrong was I played that part – it should have been Bradley Walsh, but he had to pull out. So with me doing it, people went, it’s very good but it’s really just him apologising for being him.
A lot of critics who saw it said they were surprised by how much they enjoyed it…
[Laughs] Yeah, I’ll take that. It’s like a score draw, innit? You know the annoying thing with me, though, it’s like the [Alf Garnett creator] Johnny Speight syndrome: I played a guy called Eddie Pearce and the more horrible he was, the more they laughed and liked him. I didn’t like that much, to tell you the truth. It probably wasn’t written correctly – I think some audiences missed the point.
Was there an element of you trying to justify yourself through that character?
Not really. There was an element of me, through the character, justifying the way comedians of his day are. And saying, you guys are not funny. And there was the black guy, who was as racist as Eddie, and bigoted. And there was the gay guy, who was only playing gay so he could get on television, because it’s all gay people. You’ve got more chance of getting on television if you’re gay. So everyone was just out to be famous – that was the bottom line.
You said in a radio interview last year: “Yes, I would like to apologise for Chalky. It's not something I would choose to do now.” Are you acknowledging that the world’s moved on?
The only reason I wouldn’t do it now is because Chalky’s redundant, because no-one has a West Indian accent. If you’re going to do a joke with a black guy in it now, he’s a black guy, he ain’t Chalky.
I’d kind of got it into my head that you must have mellowed over the years, but I was checking out some YouTube footage and I was quite shocked…
What did you see?
There was some quite shocking stuff about – at one point you describe Filipino women as LBFMPBR [We'll spare you the full horror of what it stands for - Google it if you must]. Isn’t that, in all seriousness, grossly offensive?
It all depends, really. [A pause] Yeah, I suppose it is. You’re right, you’ve got me there. But then, isn’t bigotry slightly to be laughed at? If the Pub Landlord said that, would you be offended? Because he’s wearing a blazer and went to public school?
But what Al Murray is saying is: this bloke is a tosser, isn’t he?
Is he? You think so?
You really think that? Does he ever do an act when he’s not playing the tosser, then?
But you know what I mean: we’re supposed to laugh at him.
To hide behind irony, and to hide behind a character – he’s just a fucking coward. Telling the only jokes he knows and the only way he can get away with it is making out he’s someone else and he don’t mean it. I mean, we’ve had enough of that, really. [Clearly recovering his fight now] I went on to say that Filipinos are stupid as well, didn’t I? You haven’t been to Dubai, have you? Don’t go there and try to order four Big Macs, one packet of chips and two Cokes.
Doesn’t that raise a point, though, that people who work in McDonalds, they’re at the bottom of the chain, aren’t they? Life’s pretty rubbish anyway..
Maybe comedy should be attacking the corporate people at the top instead?
You mean I can’t do jokes about… [Voice drops to a low growl] You’re a lefty aren’t you? You’re a fucking pinko! [Laughs] Listen, you can think what you want, I think people who work in McDonalds are fucking good targets.
You sneaked in being all middle of the road, didn’t you? And I’ve got you with the Filipinos and the McDonalds. It was in Dubai though, where I was a tax exile, living there with all the other right-wingers.
Talking of Dubai, you did some stuff in that show..
And you’re from up north too, aren’t you?
I’m from Leeds, yes.
It’s all coming out now. And you were a student, weren’t you? I bet you got a degree from Cambridge.
You know what Danny La Rue said about Cambridge? Wonderful place but those fucking students spoil it. And he meant it – he absolutely meant it!
We don’t have Conservatives in Leeds – they’re not allowed.
Of course they don’t have any Conservatives up there – no-one goes to work. It’s fucking pointless. You’d never get any votes.
Anyway, back to Dubai. In that show, you’re talking about Indians and doing that wobbly-head thing…
Indians do wobble their heads in Dubai. Now, should I not mention that?
I don’t know… It’s offensive, isn’t it?
To who? It’s not offensive to me. It’s not offensive to the Indians in Dubai. And my best mate, Bobby, is Indian. He’s actually Glaswegian Sikh. He starts out Glaswegian, and then every Bacardi and coke that goes in, he becomes Indian. And at the end, he is pissed and his head is like it’s on a spring. These are facts, and I mention that on stage, and he thinks it’s hysterical, because it’s true.
I think Indians when they wobble their heads, it’s quite endearing. We don’t have Indians wobble their heads here. I spoke to the boss of the Indian army - General Singh, would you believe - and I said: Have you met many of the English Indian community? And he said ‘they are totally ruined – they are all English’. Which I thought was quite good fun.
You know, sometimes you guys – and I’m generalising now – tend to miss the elephant in the room. But you do. If you walk into a room and it’s full of black people, would you say, ‘I went to a party the other night’, or would you say ‘I went to a party the other night, full of all black people’. Do you know what I mean? I think, come on for heaven’s sake – let’s have a bit of respect and start to enjoy our differences. Even if someone takes the piss out of you – for Christ’s sake, come on, let’s get going.
I don’t want to do the old ‘a lot of my friends are black’ cliché, but I’ve got black mates, I’ve got lots of Indian mates. In Dubai our best friends were mostly Indian… only ’cos there’s so many of the buggers!
And that’s the way I see life. I see life as, let’s take the piss out of each other, and have a bit of fun. But I’ll be the first to leap to anyone’s aid, to say ‘I think that’s racist and offensive’. The difference between you and I is where we draw that line. I think we both have the same idea that we don’t want to upset people. But I would say to you: come on mate, come and watch me do a show... give me an Indian audience and I’ll do that, and they won’t be upset. People will always find a reason to wrap people in cotton wool, and I don’t think they need to be wrapped in it.
The ones that come off the worst with me are the English underclasses. And everyone thinks they must be up for grabs, surely: Jeremy Kyle’s audience. They are a race of people, aren’t they? The right to take the piss out of them fucking lowlifes has got to be every comedian’s first aim in life. Surely.
But the point is that black people and Muslims are not lowlifes, are they?
Yeah but what’s the difference? They’re still targets for a comedian.
Is there anything you would consider off-limits in comedy?
I think everything should be up for grabs, and it’s up to the comedian himself to choose which ones he wants to have a go at.
What about jokes about dead soldiers or policemen – the stuff that’s close to your heart. Is that fair game, if it’s the right audience?
Yeah it is. It all depends how it’s done. Jimmy Carr and I went up to Selly Oak Hospital; there was a guy there with no legs and Jimmy said: well that’s my standing ovation out the window. And there was a public outcry, and I leapt to his defence by saying, that was for that soldier and his mates, who have that sense of humour. And he nicked into that sense of humour, and did bloody well.
I have that same sense of humour with the military: if the public could see what us guys talk to the military about, they wouldn’t like it at all, really. They’d try to leap to that soldier’s defence, when he doesn’t need any help. He’s quite happy to have the piss taken out of him, ’cos it makes him feel normal.
In black and white comedy’s horrible, isn’t it? I’ve been on stage in the old days and seen Bernard Manning to do the most appalling, awful racist jokes. But he’d say ‘it’s only a fucking joke’. And he really thought that. He didn’t understand racism, he couldn’t get his head round it.
I see where you’re coming from. It’s just my line of ‘don’t go beyond that’ is different to yours. Maybe we should meet in the middle a little bit. Watching some of your shows out in Iraq and Afghanistan, what alarms me is the way you’re telling these sorts of jokes to soldiers who are out in Muslim countries and supposed to be winning hearts and minds…
No they’re supposed to be shooting bad guys.
But it’s quite disturbing, to me, to see them lapping this stuff up.
Nah, I think they quite like that stuff. They think it’s funny, and I think that’s funny.
Looking back on your career, you’ve won all these awards and got the OBE…
I got the OBE from a Labour government! Services to The Guardian.
Did you not think of turning it down?
No I bloody didn’t! I tell you what, though, if you put it on your business card, as I did, and you go to America, do you know what they say? This way Mr OBE. Now there’s a race of people that need gunning down.
The Guardian readers are probably with you on that one.
Oh they are. Dominic Holland – you know the little leftie comic with the glasses? He said to me, ‘oh you mustn’t do this, you mustn’t do that’. I said, ‘what about Yanks?’ He said, ‘oh that’s alright - they’re successful’. I said, ‘I don’t think they are’. Political correctness all depends where you hang your political hat.
Maybe people just think the people in power are better targets than the powerless?
Yes but that’s coming from the left, isn’t it? I had a brother-in-law like that, he was a docker, he’d say: ‘the bosses, what the fuck do they do?’ Well they pay your wages. It’s that mentality: I believe you get in a position of power through hard work. I think you get to work in McDonalds through not studying at school enough.
You talk a good talk, Jim, I’ll give you that.
I try my best.
So what are you most proud of in your career?
Oh, some great moments. There was my dad, pissed out of his head on This Is Your Life. I suppose I’m really proud of my live act… [Laughs] but you probably wouldn’t agree. I’m quite pleased with my technical ability to perform. All the other stuff is just the bits that go with it.
You tour relentlessly. Is part of that paying for all the divorces?
Well you don’t earn that much money. We’ve just been doing the figures. When people go into a theatre, what do they do? They sit down, have a little look round, see who’s there, what the audience is. Me, I count the lights and the PA and stuff like that. My manager, he’ll work out what people are paying, what are the seat rates, why is there a gap there – they’re £17.50, they’re £22.50.
The biggest earner on a theatre tour is the VAT man – he probably earns more than the artist. He’ll take 20%, the theatre will take 25%, then there’s the cost of the advertising, the this, the that, the support act. You don’t earn a fortune, unless you’re one of the new guys who’s playing the NIC or the SECC.
Peter Kay made millions off his last tour.
Yeah, and good for him. It’s all working to an audience that are their peers, if you like: the 18-30s, who have disposable money. We had that: me and Jethro, when we first started, you’d just stick your name up and it would sell out. Now those people are my age, and though you get a younger crowd coming along as well, most of the young people want to see the comedians of their time. Until they see Eddie Izzard and they realise they’ve made a huge mistake.
But you were declared bankrupt a while back, so do you work for the money or the love of it?
I was only bankrupt because of the tax man – that don’t count. Do I do it ’cos I love it? No, I work for the money, really, I suppose. I do enjoy going on stage, I love it, but if I had the choice I’d probably think of something else to do. Something in showbusiness, but where I could take a risk and it wouldn’t bother me if it didn’t work. Rather like Pink Floyd making a LP they don’t care if no-one listens to.
What’s your biggest regret?
Oh I think I had a wife or two too many, maybe.
Are you still paying for them?
No, not any more. And… I don’t know. I think I left my education too late in life. I neglected school and just went fishing. And too rich too early, I guess. Drank too much, women, drugs… and the rest I just frittered away!
Are you happy?
Yeah. I’m happier than I was. A bit more content. I’ve got mates who sit and watch the television and watch those panel shows and the Ross Nobles and all that and go [adopts whiny voice] ‘Oh he’s shit, why aren’t we on the telly?’ I say, ‘come on boys, we’ve had our share of luck, let the young ’uns do it while we go to the pub’.
That’s a good attitude.
I think so. I tell myself that. Probably go to bed and think ‘oh fuck, why are they earning much more than me?’ But I don’t own up to myself.
Leave the cunt alone. He's got strong opinions, but what's wrong with that? At least he's not chopping people's hands off for voting, pretending aliens don't exist for weapon development or covering-up child rape because the big Vatican boss says its acceptable because, after all, you can't shag women.
Does that mean Jim Davidson believes that aliens are being used for weapon development? I suppose that might explain why he's so far up the military's arse that he can brush their teeth from the inside.
You cannot post new topics in this forum You cannot reply to topics in this forum You cannot edit your posts in this forum You cannot delete your posts in this forum You cannot vote in polls in this forum You can attach files in this forum You can download files in this forum