'I’m proud and ashamed in equal measure...' | Paul Kaye answers your questions © MTV

'I’m proud and ashamed in equal measure...'

Paul Kaye answers your questions

Dennis Pennis creator Paul Kaye is back on MTV with his angry, foul-mouthed alter ego, Mike Strutter. Here are the questions you asked the man behind the monster...

Where did the idea for Mike Strutter come from?
Steve Philips

He’s basically the visual look of David Kleinfeld, the character Sean Penn played in Carlito’s Way, and a splattering of Joe Pesci, Rodney Dangerfield, Jackie Mason and Sid Vicious. He was an ambulance-chasing lawyer for a one off sketch ten years ago in one of the Dennis Pennis programmes and he’s immatured with age. He definitely feels like a more fully rounded character but I’m not quite sure what that says about me.

Has your mum seen Strutter? Is she proud?
Jackie Evans, Swansea

No I’ve warned her not to go near it. It’s a blessing it’s not on terrestrial to be honest, so it slips under the family’s radar. I’m proud and ashamed of it in equal measure

What’s your favourite swear word, or combination thereof?
Geoff Sweet

I remember hearing Alex James from Blur refer to someone as a ‘vulgar cunt ox’ which I have to say is genius.

What's the best clip you've seen on Strutter?

I hate watching the clips, I’m extremely squeamish. Probably something to do with having broken so many teeth and bones myself over the years. Paul Garner, my creative partner, writes all the voiceover for the clips. He has to sit through hours and days and weeks of footage. I get the easy job of hurling all the abuse he writes.

Have you ever tried to perform stand up or been tempted to?
Joshua Howie

I’ve only ever done two stand-up gigs; one was introducing The Prodigy on the man stage at Glastonbury in front of 90,000 people. Their sound failed and I went on and received shitloads of mud and abuse by an angry crowd. Divine inspiration intervened and I sang Hava Nagila in Hebrew which thankfully cheered them all up a bit. Last week I was asked to pick up the Police’s award at the Vodafone Music Awards at Earls Court and got booed off. None of the winners showed up through the event and the crowd were already pissed off. I came on as Mike Strutter and said ‘Unfortunately Sting and the guys couldn’t make it tonight on account of the fact that they don’t give a fuck about this award and they don’t give a fuck about you’. Didn’t go down too well.

Do you think most stand-ups are as fucked-up as Mike Strutter, at least to some extent?

I’m sure there are one or two who are just as angry and just as partial to his ‘hobbies’ . It’s gotta be the toughest job in the world hasn’t it? I’m planning some sort of live Strutter show in the future with his band the Motherfuckers. More cabaret I suppose bit like what Lenny Beige used to do before he started doing those nauseatingly smug Orange ads. He's alright in them, it’s the other bloke I wanna thump.

Have you met any of the celebs you 'interviewed' as Dennis Pennis recently? How did they react to you?

I don’t mix in celebrity circles so not really no. I did do Michelle Collins at some party before I worked with her. We never used it on a show so it must have been rubbish and thankfully we were both pissed and neither of us can remember what I said. A lot of the Pennis interviews were embarrassingly awful and I used to get Tim the camera man to erase the footage because the BBC tended to broadcast everything we gave them. Self censorship was vital really because I was learning my trade.

Do you regret anything you ever said as Dennis Pennis?
Amanda, Croydon

I did regret the Steve Martin one for a while [see below] but anyone who thinks they can improve on Bilko and Inspector Clouseau needs a slap don’t they?

Do you ever feel responsible for unleashing a wave of spoof interviewers and red-carpet nutters on to the scene?
Alex Forman

I’ve got to be honest I don’t enjoy watching that stuff. Dame Edna kind of did the celeb thing, Norman Gunston and Mrs Merton started round the same time I did so I wasn’t the first. It certainly felt dangerous at the time; bouncers didn’t see the funny side of things that’s for sure it got pretty hairy. I’ve never been quite sure about the candid camera thing, its one thing having a go at people when they’re out looking for attention but quite another winding up normal punters out doing their shopping. I’m a bit of a square deep down.

What question would Dennis Pennis ask Mike Strutter?
John Stephens

Do you not think that killing me for calling you a ‘banana’ was a tad over the top?

Where do you see yourself going from here? Are there any new characters heading our way?
Paul Bryant

I’d love to do something with an old character I used to do called Brian Munich. Like Strutter I think he’ll work a lot better now that I’m older and he was always the one I felt most comfortable improvising with. I start work on the new series of Pulling in a couple of weeks which I’m looking forward to cos I love working with Sharon Horgan. Paul Garner and I are going to have a think about doing something new and I’d love one day to do some kind of book using my paintings and illustrations.

  • Strutter is on MTV One at 10.30 PM on Sundays. Or watch clips online here

Published: 9 Oct 2007

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