'I look like a Down’s Syndrome Roger Federer...' | Marissa Burgess interviews Jimmy Carr © Ellis O'Brien

'I look like a Down’s Syndrome Roger Federer...'

Marissa Burgess interviews Jimmy Carr

Ever-conscious of offering value for money on his DVDs, Jimmy Carr has always endeavoured to include something a bit special on the extras. One previous disc featured the talent contest Comedy Idol, but this year he has surpassed himself. ‘It’s a 45-minute animation of me talking to audience members,’ he said. ‘We taped all the gigs on the tour, about 180. I picked out some of my favourite moments and we got 12 animators to animate these bits, each in a different style.

‘DVDs are expensive things. A lot of people buy the DVD because they couldn’t make it to the live show but there’s even more people that buy it for a keepsake, so they’ve seen the live show, they’ve heard those jokes, so they want something else as well.’

This time around those ‘something elses’ include a marriage proposal from an audience member too, we hear…

‘There’s a thing about being on TV or famous, so many people have seen your face that there’s bound to be a couple of people who go, “that is exactly my kind of thing - I’m looking for someone that looks like a Down’s Syndrome Roger Federer,” he explains sheepishly.

It’s not surprising he has a fair few female fans, given that Carr is one of the most prolific comedians around. As well as giving him scope to think up more novelty extras, the DVD allows him to draw a line under each show he writes, forcing him on to the next one.

‘Basically every year I do a show, stick that show on DVD and then move on to the next one. The idea is that I’m always touring the next show [when the DVD of the last one comes out]. So this DVD is of the Repeat Offender tour that finished last August and so now I’m touring Joke Technician. It’s quite a fun thing putting it on DVD, it really does feel like you’re putting it to bed.’

Still, it keeps him busy. ‘Stand-up’s one of those things that you never get bored of because you’re constantly writing new stuff. You’re always excited about the show. You kind of get used to it and then you move on to the next tour. I think it keeps me out of trouble. It’s a very industrious process.’

Indeed, for Carr it’s a lot of hard work. One new show per year accounts for one hell of a lot of one-liners to write. ‘It’s the same as last year except for every single word,’ he notes of the new DVD. ‘Not a lot changes with my show, in terms of it’s me telling jokes, if you’ve seen it before it’s the same sort of thing really. It’s a pretty good show, there’s about 300 jokes in it if anyone’s counting –which I am… I’d be worried if it had fewer jokes on it than the first DVD.’

Despite his TV profile, Carr considers his stand-up to be very important. ‘It’s very easy once you get a first whiff of TV to disappear and just do TV, to think that stand-up’s got you to this level so you can just do TV now. I think a lot of people still make that mistake.

‘Doing a new Edinburgh show every year has kept me grounded as a performer. I learnt from other people’s errors: always keep on doing the stand-up because that’s ultimately the thing that got you where you are. That’s what I’m best at, I think.’

As important to him as the stand-up is, he does enjoy the TV work too, especially 8 Out of 10 Cats. “It’s nice with Sean [Lock] being on good form and Jason [Manford] as well, it’s good having people that you work with every week, there’s a camaraderie with that you don’t get being a stand-up. It’s nice being your own boss at the weekends then you do a show and it’s like being in a gang,’ he laughs.

  • Jimmy Carr In Concert is out now, priced £19.99. Click here to buy from Amazon at £11.98.

Published: 30 Nov 2008

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