CHARMING, articulate, witty and kind – not the words I had expected to use to describe a certain Mr Roy Chubby Brown after an unexpectedly pleasant chat.
Dubbed the world’s most outrageous comedian, he’s been described as too blue for television in an age where vajazzles are the most commonplace of reality TV topics, whole series of shows concentrate on teenage sex and Frankie Boyle’s controversial views are positively encouraged on all manner of panel shows.
And I admit, I had some unfair preconceived ideas about what he might be like before I had the chance to interview him.
I certainly didn’t expect to be greeted with a friendly “hello my love” in a soft Teesside lilt, asked about my health and complimented. I’d go as far as to say ‘Roy’ was one of the nicest chaps I’ve ever interviewed.
But Royston Vasey, who famously had a fictional town named after him in the comedy hit The League of Gentlemen, is just playing a character when he takes to the stage in his flying helmet and goggles, multicoloured patchwork suit and bow tie, he tells me.
“No, I’m not really like that at all.
I’ve always been a family man.
“I’ve dedicated my life to this business as a stand up comic. I work every day, but my family mean everything to me.”
Now married for the third time, the 69-year-old is a father of seven who range in age from 45 to ten.
And he believes in installing traditional values in the next generation.
“Out of respect for me, they wouldn’t say anything untoward.
“I had respect for my father and my older lads (he has sons aged 45, 44 and 39 and daughters aged 41 and 28) don’t eff and blind in front of me.
“My 12-year-old boy Reece wants to see me on stage, but not until he’s 17. I tell him Dad entertains adults. He wouldn’t know what I was talking about mind.”
Reece and his youngest, Amy, are clearly the centre of his world.
“Missing them is by far the worst thing about being out on the road.
I always want to take the kids to school every day.
“I adore my little girl, she’s becoming such a character.
She’s the funny one, she’s always doing something that makes me laugh and she’s so grown up and so much like my Mum, funnily enough.”
But there’s no suggestion one of the hardest working people in showbusiness, who has driven 800 miles between gigs in the last three days, never stops touring and has released 30 DVDs in all, might hang up his famous moccasin slippers just yet and get some real ones.
“Yes I love being at home, but what else would I do? I’d be sat at home bored all day.
“People are always saying to me it’s fantastic you can just get your pension now, but I need to work. I don’t want to sit back and relax and have people say he’s not as funny as he used to be. I want people to come along and see me and have a good time.”
In fact, the die-hard Middlesbrough fan and the man behind footy anthem Who Ate All the Pies and a rather rude version of Living Nextdoor to Alice is back in song-writing mode with an England anthem Hooray Hooray in the pipeline ahead of the World Cup in Brazil this summer.
“I was really pleased with it until Gary Barlow showed his face. I don’t suppose any of us will get a look in now! I suppose it was a bit of a waste of time now, but I enjoyed it.”
Despite his more mellow approach to life these days, the comic has always courted controversy even being banned from appearing in several venues because of his risqué material.
But he is quick to defend his particular brand of humour, which relies heavily on strong language and some politically incorrect themes.
“I’m not in the Houses of Parliament. I’m not trying to change the world. If I had been, I would have been a politician, but I’m not, I’m a comedian.
“They’re just jokes and if I see something funny, I say it. I’m no more homophobic, sexist or racist than anyone else. I mean, I’m in showbusiness, so I couldn’t possibly be homophobic.
“It doesn’t bother me though you know.
Life’s too short. You’re not here long enough to worry about what people think. You’d put yourself in an early grave if you worried about what other people think and I enjoy my life too much for that.”
And long may he continue to enjoy it.
- Roy Chubby Brown is at 02 Guildhall Southampton on Friday. Tickets: 023 8063 2601 or visit livenation.co.uk/southampton