My fisting shame

Clary blames drugs for that outburst

Julian Clary has blamed his infamous Norman Lamont gag on a powerful cocktail of drugs.

The comic’s career suffered a near-fatal blow after he shocked audiences with a joke about fisting the then Chancellor live on TV at the 1993 British Comedy Awards.

But he now says the comment came because of the drugs he was taking, ostensibly to avoid the panic attacks that often left him paralysed with fear.

‘I was on valium in the day and Rohypnol at night,’ he told the Hay Literature Festival. ‘It makes you very uninhibited.’

However he said he was now clean of drugs and unlikely to repeat the incident – even though producers on the live lottery show remain nervous of his script.

Clary was at the event to promote his new autobiography, A Young Man’s Passage, where he told the sold-out 1,200-strong audience he was forced to tone down his brutally honest book for fear of being sued.

Among the major changes lawyers insisted upon was the removal of the name of the brutal teacher at his Benedictine Abbey school in Ealing, West London, who regularly beat pupils. Now he refers to him only as ‘Father G’.

But other alterations were less dramatic.

When on holiday with a boyfriend once, he mocked a couple called Mr and Mrs Plank… ‘who weren’t particularly tall, and they didn’t seem particularly bright.’ However,  Clary  was told he had to remove all reference to the ‘two short Planks’, as lawyers told him they could sue ‘if they had evidence of any sort of academic qualification’.

But Clary’s bookremains close to the bone, even including a list of all the ‘gentlemen callers’ he recalled sleeping with – including one newsreader, although he refused to be drawn on who it was.

Speaking at the, Clary also said that he never came out as homosexual to his parents. “But they’re not stupid,’ he said.

He recalled giving them a newspaper article from early in his career calling him ‘gay Julian’ – and they just said ‘nice article’.

And he was especially nervous when his family, including his grandmother who was in her 90s, attended his West End show.

“I got them a box, and I could see them watching me,” he said. “And I knew it was going to be bit near-the-knuckle when I came to a line that I only realised I was gay last Thursday when I suddenly thought ‘I know what I feel like – a great big cock up my arse.”

“Afterwards my grandmother told be the show was fine – but later I realised she’d switched her hearing aid off for the entire show.”

Clary also admitted ‘I didn’t realise how unreasonable I got when I became famous.

‘I don’t like the colour maroon, and they once sent a car to take me somewhere and it was maroon, so I called my agent. Instead of saying, “Don’t be so ridiculous,” he said, “I quite understand.” And they knew not to send me a maroon car again.'

He also revealed that he had a female stalker. "She is clearly quite disturbed," he said. "She could be here for all I know."

"'I found a girl a few years ago sitting on my garden wall when I went out. I said, 'F *** off and don't ever come back'. I feel a bit guilty about that now because it was harsh. But she didn't ever come back - and that was the main point really.'

Clary – who said he wrote his autobiography because ‘my life’s been vaguely interesting and I thought I’d just write about it before I forget it’ – says he now has the writing bug.

He said he plans a second volume, Further Up My Passage, in a few years time, but in the meantime has started work on a comedy-thriller novel,– although he claims only the first paragraph has been written so far.

“I like writing, but I don’t like finishing,”  he said.

Published: 30 May 2005

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