Interview: Milton Jones

Comedian Milton Jones is bringing his weird world to Norwich again – and with three sell-out shows it seems we can't get enough of him. ABIGAIL SALTMARSH reports.

Milton Jones has long been a popular comedian with Radio 4 listeners but since his increased television appearances, theatre audiences, it seems, just can't get enough of him either.

Milton, himself seems slightly bemused by the fact he has had to add extra dates to his tour. Indeed, in Norwich, he now has three sell-out shows lined up for next week.

'I think it is largely down to having done such a lot of Mock the Week and having appeared on Michael McIntyre's Roadshow,' he said.

'Doing television is a bit like putting a leaflet through someone's door. It is not long since I was performing at venues half the size of the ones I am at on this tour.

'But it is fun. I am up and running with it now and it is quite nice for me to know what I am doing for a while – that's quite rare.'

Milton, who is known as much colourful shirts, messy hair style and one-liners, has performed in Norwich on several occasions before and is looking forward to returning.

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'I have performed at the Forum, where we made a recording, and at the Norwich Playhouse. It is always a good crowd,' he said. This tour, he said, is called The Lion Whisperer, a title that still seems to puzzle the comedian slightly.

'It has no real meaning at all (there aren't any lions) and people can't real expect to learn anything very much from the show itself!' he admitted.

Milton, whose style of comedy is often based on puns, first broke on to the scene in 1996, when he won the Perrier Comedy Award at Edinburgh for Best Newcomer. He was later nominated for other awards at the festival.

Currently the Chortle website's Headliner of the Year, he has now made eight comedy series for Radio 4.

These have included The Very World of Milton Jones, The House of Milton Jones and Another Case of Milton Jones. At the beginning of his shows he is sometimes announced as 'Britain's funniest Milton.'

In addition to his radio, television and touring work, he also wrote the surrealist, and partially biographical novel, Where Do Comedians Go When They Die? Journeys of a Stand-Up, which was published in 2009.

'I am very busy but I think variety is the key to keeping it fresh,' he said. 'I think if I did just only start doing one thing I wouldn't enjoy it. One of the good things about touring is that I can keep writing during the day.'

He went on: 'I really enjoy doing the radio shows - the one I am working on at the moment will be the ninth - and it is more of the same really. I will be taking on different jobs that I then mess up.

'It does get hard to think of new ideas for the series all the time. But I do love radio as a medium. It is so different to television and to performing at a club.'

One recent project that has spiced up his already varied life has been his work on a new sitcom for Channel 4. This will see Milton living in a large house with his mother, and various chaotic circumstances ensuing.

'It is just a pilot at this stage but it is also very exciting,' he admitted. 'I enjoy all the writing I do and have been very keen on doing a sitcom for some time now.'

Meanwhile, there will be more appearances on Mock the Week, where he will join Dara O'Briain and the other regulars to comment on topical issues as part of the comedy panel show.

And he continues on his tour, which sees him remain on the road until the end of May. 'It has been good so far - and I am looking forward to my performances in Norwich,' he said. 'I get nervous when I think the crowd might be a bit thick – in fact, the thicker the crowd, the higher my hair gets before I go on stage.

'I think Norwich will be fairly knowledgeable so I should not have to go on with hair that is very high at all!'

? Milton Jones will be performing at the Norwich Playhouse from March 18-20, returns only, 01603 598598,