Kevin Eldon Is Titting About
The publicity-shy comedian on his one-man show, working with Steve Coogan and the downsides of touring
Kevin Eldon’s CV reads like the best of British television comedy from the past 15 years. The actor-comedian has put his sharp wit and rubbery features to good use in the likes of Fist of Fun, Brass Eye, I’m Alan Partridge, Big Train, Black Books and, most recently, Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle. You may not know the name, but you will certainly know the face.
As well as the TV work, 50-year-old Eldon has cropped up in movies (Hot Fuzz, Four Lions), on radio (Just a Minute, Down the Line, Poets’ Tree) and in theatre (an Australian and New Zealand run of Twelve Angry Men). He has toured with Bill Bailey, recorded a Doctor Who webcast and even co-penned the theme tune for the Nickelodeon children’s series Genie in the House.
But until last summer, Eldon had never appeared in his own one-man show. That changed with Kevin Eldon Is Titting About, a mix of stand-up and character comedy that stormed the Edinburgh Festival and arrives at Belfast’s Black Box on June 19.
Famously stage-shy, Eldon isn’t especially keen on talking to the press. But the idiosyncratic funnyman granted CultureNorthernIreland an email interview – even if he did sidestep most of the questions…
This is your debut solo show. Did you wait until the time felt right, or were you cajoled into it?
I cajoled myself into it. Just so that I could say I’d cajoled myself into something. It’s a great verb, 'cajole', and I rarely get the opportunity to use it. Cajole. I cajole. You cajole. He, she, it cajoles. Terrific.
The show is called Kevin Eldon Is Titting About, but reviews have suggested a superbly constructed evening of comedy. Are you being deliberately disingenuous with the moniker, so that people will be pleasantly wowed?
No, I really am just titting about. I mean, it’s rehearsed and all that, I’m not just standing there throwing balls of paper at a photo of Imelda Marcos. Although having thought of that I may put that in. But essentially I am just mucking around. It’s not 'superbly constructed' – it just sort of hangs together a bit. 'Superbly constructed' is just a phrase critics like to use. It’s like me with ‘cajole’.
According to Chortle, there’s material poking fun at 'what it takes to be a successful comedian'. At any stage of your career, have you had aspirations to reach the heights of, say, a Michael McIntyre?
There is no such material in the show. I don’t aspire to heights. I’m afraid of heights. I prefer widths. I can do four without using my inhaler.
You’ve worked with many of the UK’s major comedy talents – Stewart Lee, Chris Morris, Steve Coogan and so on. Does it feel like you’re working with geniuses, as these guys are often regarded, or do they just seem like blokes you’re friends with?
It’s genii, isn’t it?
You are fortunate to have had many of your projects warmly received by both viewers and critics. Is there anything you’ve worked on you feel has been notably overlooked?
Yes, the Japanese Noh theatre version of Grandstand. I did all the voices. The public just weren’t ready for it. Water-drinking gimps.
Is the political poet Paul Hamilton the creation of yours you are most proud of?
No. The creation of mine I’m particularly proud of is Louis the Stupid Ant. I created him in my swish London laboratory using sophisticated DNA engineering and some bleach. I laugh at him when I’m down.
Have you visited Belfast before? Any insights into how the Northern Ireland sense of humour contrasts with elsewhere?
I have. In 1996. I’m afraid I don’t. I suppose I’ll find out.
Do you enjoy the process of touring?
No. It’s tiring, boring and makes you fat. Actually doing the shows is fun, though.
Do you feel stand-up comedy is as scary as a lot of people seem to think it is?
Depends if your medication has kicked in or not.
What’s next for you after the tour?
I shall be leaping through fields in a sombrero strumming a large guitar and singing songs about plastic.
Kevin Eldon plays the Black Box on June 16. Check out our What's On listings for more information.