Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Jupitus Never Has His Fill of New Challenges; He's Been the King of Buzzcocks for 15 Years, but PHILL Jupitus Is Wearing a Different Crown for His Latest Role. SAM WONFOR Finds out More and Takes an Indecent Trip Down Memory Lane

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Jupitus Never Has His Fill of New Challenges; He's Been the King of Buzzcocks for 15 Years, but PHILL Jupitus Is Wearing a Different Crown for His Latest Role. SAM WONFOR Finds out More and Takes an Indecent Trip Down Memory Lane

Article excerpt

THE first time I became aware of the considerable comic charms of Phill Jupitus, it was in the capacity of warm-up entertainment for Nineties music TV show, The White Room.

As anyone who has witnessed these types of occasions will know, the fast-paced hour which gets beamed into your living room, bears little resemblance to the five hours of filming and waiting around in order to get it in the can.

And so it was Phill's job to keep the audience happy, energetic and ready to have a good time, via a mixture of stand-up comedy, the poetry which had launched his comedy circuit career and a genuine love of music.

"I loved that show," says the 48-year-old, who lives with his family in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex. "There was such a buzz and I met some great people. Plus, I'll always have the memory of Iggy Pop night."

I think everyone who was there on that evening will refer to it just thus.

Picture the scene, Phill is onstage, keeping everyone smiling while we wait for the aforementioned Mr Pop to bring his good self to the stage... which he does, ahead of schedule, and wearing see through trousers.

Now let me just clarify, these were not translucent trousers... they were all-the-way transparent... and they were all he was wearing.

The front row got somewhat of a shock, while an unsuspecting podium dancer also got more than she bargained for.

"Oh my life, when he jumped up on that podium with that poor dancer... I know it's Iggy Pop and everything, but come on," says Phill.

"I had to scamper off stage... and then he just blasted through four songs in what seemed like four minutes. What a night."

It has certainly stayed with me. You may guess though, that my chat with Phill was not set up to reminisce about the indecent trouser choices of legendary purveyors of punk. Nor was it to talk about his return to the stand-up stage at the Edinburgh Fringe this year following a decade away, or his 15-year run as team captain on BBC2's Never Mind The Buzzcocks.

We're supposed to be talking about his role of King Arthur in the touring production of Monty Python musical, Spamalot, which begins a week-long stay at the Sunderland Empire Theatre tonight.

"It's going really well. A lot of fun, although I do have a cold," he sniffs.

"I got offered it while I was still on Hairspray," he adds, referring to his first foray into musical theatre in the West End role of Edna Turnblad.

"Having done that, and what with it being Monty Python, it was a no-brainer. I very much like the teamwork aspect (of theatre)... working with a cast and being directed is very much outside the very solitary existence of stand-up comedy."

Although clearly reveling in the experience, the notion he is fulfilling any kind of ambition is lost on Phill.

"I'm not really built like that. …

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