Dave Spikey: 'I love to eavesdrop. It is a gold mine of material'
People say the funniest things, which is just as well for Dave Spikey.
The Phoenix Nights funnyman, of Chorley, makes a living out of eavesdropping daft conversations – and then regaling audiences up and down the country with them.
"I was listening to two women in the market a while ago," says Spikey, who brings his Words Don't Come Easy Tour to Bridlington Spa in March.
"One of them said, 'How's your Tracey doing? Has she had the baby yet?'
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The other one replied, 'Oh, yes, she had a lovely, healthy, baby boy, 8lb, 2oz. They called him Marc – but they spelt Marc with a 'c'.
"I could see the other woman thinking and looking at her mate funny," says Spikey, shaking his head. "And then she said, 'Marc with a c? Doesn't that spell Carc?"
"You see?" says the comedian. "People just say ridiculous things.
"I love eavesdropping. It's a gold mine of material for a comedian like me.
"That's what the tour's about; the way we use and misuse language."
It has been a circuitous route to stand-up stardom for Spikey, who spent 25 years working in the NHS as a chief biomedical scientist in haematology in Bolton, before daring to give up the day job for the lure of stage and screen.
He has since become a cult favourite, hosting revamped games shows such as Chain Letters and Bullseye while co-writing the breakthrough Phoenix Nights and his own newspaper-based sitcom Dead Man Weds.
But it is his love of wordplay and language that is always at the heart of his comedy.
"I'm fascinated by the English language and the infinite versatility it has to cause confusion and misunderstanding," he says.
"I think it's an age thing too. The older I get, the more annoyed I get by people who misuse language – but the moment someone says something daft a little light goes on in my head.
"I'll be thinking, there's one for the show."
• Dave Spikey is at Bridlington Spa on Saturday, March 23, at 7.30pm. Call 01262 678258.