Jimmy is famed for his catchphrase, `And there`s more`, but there really is more to Jimmy than meets the eye. With his special brand of family humour, Jimmy has enjoyed great success on stage, TV and Radio, producing and writing many of his own shows.
Family life was full of the qualities he incorporates in his act. Natural good humour, kindness warmth and a sense of fun. "There are enough long faces in the world, and I don`t plan to become one of them!" says Jimmy. He sees laughter as a very important release valve, and his job is to open it, as wide as possible.
Jimmy was born into a large Irish family, with four brothers and one sister. His father was an undertaker by trade. Most people felt that the whole family must have been extremely miserable at home, because of their father's trade. But Jimmy remembers that it was completely the opposite. Their father had a wonderful sense of humour and the house was always filled with laughter. Their house was also filled with the reality of God. Very much a God fearing family, they would attend church each Sunday on a regular basis, and Jimmy realises that this is where his faith first took root.
Jimmy worked very hard in all aspects of showbusiness before he literally became `an overnight star`, reaching the finals of ITV`s `Search for a Star` and appearing in `A Night of 100 Stars` at the National Theatre. He had fine-tuned his act in the Northern Clubs, but one of his first jobs as an entertainer came as one of the famous Butlins Redcoats. For £6 a week he had to keep the children happy with games, entertain the adults, compere the contests and generally make sure everyone had a good holiday. It was, and still is the best training ground for any developing comic.
Three summer seasons at Butlins passed before Jimmy swapped his red coat for a blue one. At Pontins. It was not only to be a change of scene, but a change of life too, for it was here that he met his future wife, May.
"She was working as one-half of an act called `The Tweedie Sisters`" recalls Jimmy, "and I couldn`t take my eyes off her!" Two years later, in 1974 they were married. Starting out on family life, Jimmy could develop his character in the Northern Clubs, his own ambitions now fired by a desire to provide for May and the family.
"The wellies and stage gear came from experimenting" Jimmy explains, "and I picked up the hat in a jumble sale. The rolled down wellies seemed a logical accessory for an illogical Irishman."
For a comic to look funny, even before opening his mouth, is a real bonus, and Jimmy quickly found that he had this edge over his contemporaries. " I looked daft, so audiences expected my act to be daft" grins Jimmy, " and I`m pleased to say that I have never disappointed them!"
Jimmy spends as much of his free time as possible with his wife, May and their four children. His favourite hobby is surrounding himself with happiness and contentment, and his strong faith is a very key part of that.
This is why I tell you not to be worried about the food and drink you need in order to stay alive, or about clothes for your body. After all, isn`t life worth more than food? And isn`t the body worth more than clothes? Look at the birds: they do not sow seeds, gather a harvest and put it in barns; yet your Father in heaven takes care of them! Aren`t you worth much more than birds? Can any of you live a bit longer by worrying about it?.............Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God, and what He requires of you, and He will provide you with all these other things. So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough troubles of its own. There is no need to add to the troubles that each day brings.
Matthew 6, verses 25-34.
It`s me Jimmy, come closer to this page!
In our busy lives it`s often the case that even when we manage to pick up our Bible and open it, we often find ourselves skipping through it so quickly. Sometimes we are in danger of taking verses out of context, or allowing our mind to wander into thoughts about Sunday lunch in the middle of the church Bible reading. I know I can read something which I don`t really understand, but then not take the time to look a little deeper. So why not, just for a moment, allow my showbiz catchphrase to help you take a closer look at this passage with me. Come closer!
This particular passage says so much to me personally. I work in such a dodgy profession for a start. The old showbusiness saying `Don`t ring us, we`ll ring you` is quite true, and sometimes you never really know when the phone is going to ring. That goes for stars and chorus girls alike, one minute you are in great demand and the next you wonder what the future holds. I never really know what the future holds, but I do know who holds the future!
Looking at this passage, Jesus seems concerned with helping us get our priorities right. He says we should put God first in our lives, instead of so often needlessly worry about all the wrong things. It`s certainly true that no amount of worrying ever solved the problem. It says in this verse that no one added an extra year to their life by worrying! In fact of course, it`s quite the opposite. Worrying can lead to ulcers, stress, and the many other physical symptoms of being unhappy. Jesus knows what he`s talking about here.
So how can we actually stop worrying? Even when it seems we are not going to be able to pay the bills this month? Well, because Jesus understands us so well, he knows how difficult it really is for us to worry and that`s why the words `do not fear` appear 366 times throughout the Bible! Why? Because God knows that I need to hear him say `Don`t Worry!` every single day, with an extra one left over for leap year!
Having heard Him say `don`t worry` I then have to tell myself that He has good cause to tell me not to worry, and that I am worth a million times more than the sparrows that God feeds. Many people in the entertainment business have a very low opinion of themselves in real life, and maybe that`s why we need to hear your applause. We must try and grasp that He really does love us, and that it`s a love that can never be earned by you or me. He says that he actually cares about me and my problems, He has everything safely in his hands, and that I must trust Him again today.
These words of Jesus are such a comfort to me. He knows and understands all the different pressures that I am under and smiles `Hey Jimmy, chill out it`s going to be all right!`
Heavenly Father, help me to relax when times are hard, and know that there`s a higher power guiding me. Give me the serenity to smile through the lean times, give me the faith and confidence to know that if I do my best for you, everything else will be taken care of. And most of all, help me to use the talent you have given me to enrich people`s lives with love and laughter. Through your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
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