Questionnaire for

What's it like doing standup again in Someone Likes Yoghurt! after so many
years of themed shows?
Much as I enjoyed the themed shows it has been very liberating to be able to just talk about anything that I consider amusing. It also makes the show a lot easier to put together as I am usually struggling to fit 3 hours of material into an hour at this stage. There is an unofficial theme to the yoghurt show which is about challenging closed systems of thought and questioning accepted wisdom, whether it be religion or magpie reward systems, yet with the yoghurt routine we see that even I do not like to have my accepted order challenged.

You talk about religion quite a bit in your current show, what is your
attitude to religion?
I am an atheist. I don't mind people being religious if it makes them organise jumble sales or even walk down the street banging drums. It's when they start burning each other at the stake or flying planes into buildings or claiming that God loves one type of person more than others and thus bits of the world belong to them that I have a problem. I say in the show "You can't question religion, because once you do it starts to fall apart pretty quickly". There isn't time to discuss all my feelings on this here, but I mainly believe in free speech so don't mind people espousing their religious views as long as they don't mind me espousing my non-religious ones. I personally prefer evidence to faith, as faith seems to make people capable of justifying the most terrible things (see the film Downfall for proof of this).

You promote the charity SCOPE in your shows and on your website. Why did
you choose this particular charity?
Mainly because they offered a place in the Marathon to me and then it developed from there. It seemed like a good charity to support because I have some friends with cerebral palsy or with kids with cerebral palsy. I also think their time to get equal campaign is a very important one.

What's your favourite Edinburgh show out of the 20 you've done, and why?
Probably "Christ on a Bike" because it included my favourite ever routine "Abraham begat Isaac" in which audiences would often be laughing as much as they possibly could and yet I knew I had funnier stuff to come. Also it was my first one man show and it was a massive and important step for me to start performing on my own. But I like pretty much all the shows and I think Yoghurt might well be up there with the best.

What comedians on the circuit at the moment do you admire, if any?
There are loads of great comics at the moment and some really good new ones coming through. Russell Howard is extremely good value and I really enjoyed Josie Long's set. People such as Stewart Lee and Al Murray (who are my friends obviously) also continue to get better and better.

Who and what are your main comedy influences?
I listened to Monty Python records til my ears bled as a child and I think they were the people who got me into original and intelligent comedy. Also Rik Mayall was a major influence as a child. Nowadays it is American stuff that I most admire. The Simpsons is incredible and Larry Sanders and Curb Your Enthusiasm are just unbelievably good. This is Spinal Tap is another massive influence on me and my generation of comedians.

Are you likely to go back to collaborative comedy in the future, like with
Stewart Lee or Al Murray?
I am enjoying working on my own at the moment, but you never know. I asked Stew if he fancied doing a 20th anniversary show in Edinburgh in 2007 (we first performed there in the Seven Raymonds in 1987), but he wasn't too keen.

You've mentioned before that Warming Up might be made into a radio or TV
series. Any news on this?
No definite news at the moment. I have written a script but am waiting for it to be submitted to the powers that be at the radio. A couple of TV execs have the script too, but no news yet.

Any plans in the pipeline for projects after Someone Likes Yoghurt?
I may be writing a book about poker (called "The Poker Joker") and am supposed to be writing a comedy drama script for the BBC called "You Can Choose Your Friends" about three generations of a family.