Talking funny with Dave Spikey ahead of his Bridlington Spa gig
He's the Phoenix Nights funnyman who's made a career out of waxing lyrical. So why don't words come easy for Dave Spikey? Ian Midgley finds out ...
A motorist – late and lost on his way to a local football ground – pulls up to a man standing on the pavement.
"Excuse me, sir," says the driver to the man on the street.
"Can you tell me how you get to the football ground from here, please?"
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The pedestrian, thinks for a minute and blows out his cheeks.
"Well," he replies, finally. "My brother usually takes me."
It sounds like a joke as old as the hills.
It's the sort of thing you'd expect Tommy Cooper to deliver with a shrug of the shoulder and a twinkling eye.
But this is what happened to Dave Spikey, former Phoemix Nights funnyman, stand-up and lover of language as he was trying to make his way to watch Wigan at the DW Stadium last year.
"It's life imitating art, or something," he grins.
"It's great isn't it?" cackles the Chorley-raised comic in his unabashed Lancashire accent.
"You can't make up stuff like that.
"It's what I love about the English language, there's so much room for confusion and interpretation. There's wriggle room.
"As soon as he said it, I knew I only had myself to blame for asking a stupid question.
"It's like that old Peter Sellers joke: 'You said your dog didn't bite!' It doesn't. That is not my dog'."
It's just as well the likeable 61-year-old has an ear for language, as his latest tour, Words Don't Come Easy, is built entirely on our nation's linguistic foibles.
It's a romp through silly sayings, daft newspaper headlines, uncomfortable situations where the wrong thing is inevitably said and even, we're told, a audience sing-a-long to the theme tune of Champion The Wonder Horse.
It gallops into The Spa Bridlington, on Saturday, March 23, as part of a 20-date national tour.
"This is the second leg of the tour, which I started last year," says Spikey, who made the leap to comedy late in life after spending his early working career as the very important-sounding chief biomedical scientist in haematology at the Royal Bolton Hospital.
His subsequent foray into showbiz, first into stand-up – he got his big break supporting Cannon And Ball in Blackpool – then into hosting resurrected games shows such as Chain Letter and Bullseye on TV, sound a bit lightweight by comparison.
But he enjoys making gags about the stupid things people say much more, he says, which is the important thing.
"The show's always evolving," he says. "It's like the story with the guy at the football, when things like that happen, I'll work it into the act. It's a living breathing thing – just like language.
"It's good for me because it keeps in fresh and interesting. I love to see how a show evolves.
"For instance, "says Spikey, reverting to his natural banter mode. "Something happened to me the other night, which I've put into the act.
"I'd done a show really down south somewhere and, as it was late, I thought, I can't be bothered driving all the way back up north again.
"So I went to this local hotel and asked the girl behind the counter – to be fair she didn't look like she had too much going on behind the eyes – if they had a spare room.
"She looked at me and said 'Do you want a room with a bath or a shower?'
"I said, 'what's the difference?'
"She said, 'You stand up in one and lay down in the other'.
"Gold dust, that," grins the comic. "Comedy gold."
When: Saturday, March 23, 7.30pm
Where: The Spa, South Marine Drive, Bridlington
Tickets: £17.50 To book: 01262 678258