Simon Pegg Interview
One of Britain's rising comic stars, Simon Pegg has featured in a number of great 90's comedy shows including I'm Alan Partridge, Big Train, Spaced and Hippies, aswell as being a regular feature on the UK stand-up circuit and starring in that(quack quack!) cough syrup ad. Petrova Cremin caught up with Simon for a muse-fest on faves, pet-hates and stand-up tales...
How did you get into stand up comedy?
At Bristol University. I was doing a degree in Theatre, Film and T.V., with the intention of becoming an actor but became disenchanted with the idea. I'd always been interested in 'stand up' and saw it as a way of performing on my own terms. I made a name for myself on the Bristol circuit and moved to London in '93, so that I could do it as a full time job.
Where do you look for new material?
It floats by from time to time. Something wil strike you as funny, something you think of, or something you see or hear. The trick is to then convert it into something performable. That's what separates comedians from animals.
Who are your favourite comics?
Bill Bailey, Michael Smiley, Bill Hicks, The Mighty Boosh, Tommy Tiernan, Al Murray, Dylan Moran, there are a lot of good comics, I'm sure I've missed loads out.
Who would/wouldn't you choose to support you on tour?
Would: Steve Coogan, (right, as Alan Partridge); he owes me. Wouldn't: The Conservative party
Who would/wouldn't you like to support on tour?
I'd love to support Steve again, we had such a blast on the '98 tour, it was like 'rock and roll' without the 'rock', although I'm not exactly sure what 'roll' is. Wouldn't: The Venga Boys
What comedy did you watch while you were growing up?
I used to watch Monty Python with my Dad when I was little. I watched all the great British Sitcoms when I was a kid, Dad's Army, Are You Being Served, Some Mothers Do Have'em etc. I loved Dick Emery and Les Dawson. As I hit my teens, the Young Ones and The Comic Strip arrived and inspired a love of 'alternative' comedy, which I've had ever since.
What are your favourite comedy shows?
The Simpsons, The League of Gentlemen, The Simpsons, The Simpsons and The Simpsons.
What Comedy shows/Comics do you hate? (honestly, be mean!!:0))
I ain't no bitch!
What are your worst and best heckles you've ever received??
Good heckles are rare, I can't actually remember a particular heckler that said something brilliant. The best hecklers contribute something to the set, something you can work with. The worst ones shout drunken obcenities and piss everyone off.
What would you be if you weren't a comic?
Do you get star struck?
Occasionally, I met Nancy Cartwright, who does the voice of Bart Simpson (right) (did I mention I like The Simpsons?) and I just wanted to cuddle her.
How did you celebrate the millennium?
Took the family and best mate Nick Frost (Mike from Spaced) down to Devon and got munted on Cider with Doctor Coogan.
Your biggest fear, and your greatest talent?
Zombies, and I can lie in french
At school, which were you; dunce or teachers' pet, bully or bullied?
I was the naughty kid that the teachers liked. I bullied a kid in the 1st year when I was in the 2nd, who then hit puberty like a plane crash and grew into a gorilla who bullied me when he was in the 4th year and I was in the 5th.
What were you like as a teenager?
The Internet: Love or Hate?
Oh, most definitely love.
Pessimist or Optimist?
I like to be realistic, so fingers crossed, I'm a pessimist.
What is your favourite possession in the whole world and why?
I have a framed original cell from a certain American animated T.V. series, signed by a certain actress who does a certain voice and I love it. I also have a bear, that's as old as me and sometimes, just sometimes, I have to know he's nearby when I go to sleep.
What's your best reason for getting up in the morning?
Going out at night.
What's your favourite place in the world and why?
Camden Market on a Sunday afternoon, because all life is there. Or Australia, for it's happy memories.
Who (apart from the obvious, parents) have you known for the longest in your life?
Two Siamese cats, now dead, called Bonnie and Clyde. God bless'em.
Were you ever the victim of any fashion disasters?
From 16 to 18, I was a goth, you do the math.
Have you any bad habits?
Very messy. Cannot comprehend the notion of neatness or organisation.
What do you own that you're most embarrassed to admit?
I'm too embarrassed to admit it.
Have you ever been arrested, and why?
I nearly got arrested for public disorder but I sweet talked the policemen. I was only play fighting anyway.
What are the worst and best things about being famous?
Best: You get a lot of free stuff. You get invited to a lot of things. People who like what you do come up and say so. Worst: I'm not famous enough for things to be bad really. I don't like people staring, sometimes it's not comfortable to be in a bar or something, if lots of people recognise you.
Astrology:Load of tosh/Soooo true?
Eddie Izzard:Pretty damn groovy blokey/No comment!?
Very talented comic.
What's the nicest/worst thing anyone has ever said to you?
Kate Moss said I was wonderful. Actually, that counts for both.
Have you ever been to the Edinburgh/Montreal comedy festivals, and, what did you think?
Only been to Edinburgh but I've been to festvals in New Zealand and Australia. Festivals rule!
What do you prefer, big or little venues?
They both have their merits. Intimate is nice but the roar of a big crowd is very exhilarating.
How does it feel to have so many people really like you/ you're people's hero/you make people laugh?
Wonderful, it's hard to describe. I'm grateful to be in this position.
Are you anything like your characters from Hippies and Spaced, Jools, Tim or Ray, in real life?
I'm most like Tim but there's a bit of me in all of them. I'm not as grumpy or childish as Tim though, or maybe I am, oh fuck off!! :)
What characters are the best to play?
I love playing people that are vulnerable. The best characters have depth and ambiguity. Me like them.
Who do you get on with best in Hippies/Spaced?
Both shows have a great onset atmosphere, I wouldn't want to single anyone out. The Spaced cast are very close. There was a sense we were making something ourselves which really bonded us together. Having said that, it was similar with Hippies. I see evryone from both shows socially. I love them all dammnit!
Do you like it that you're well known?
How did you get on with Steve Coogan while you were in I'm Alan Partridge and on tour with him?
Steve and I get on very well. We understand each other which is important for performing. He's written me a part in his film, which I'm just reading. It's very good. Steve's a big kid, he likes fast cars and mucking about and so do I.
And lastly, who are your heroes?
Matt Groening, Batman and my Mum.
The Music Bar