The Panellists- Graeme, Tim and Barry
Tim, this is how Humph describes you. See if you agree with what he says: "Prone to argue with the chairman, slightly vulnerable, perspires a lot, a favourite with the crowd - people hiss when I'm cruel to him," said Humph.
Tim: Yes, I think none of that's true except the bit about my perspiring a lot. I do do that, I have to say. Yes, I'll accept that. I'm very pleased with that. Move on..
Barry, Humph describes you thus: "The gag man. There are no embarrassing silences thanks to you...
Barry: Embarrassing noises but not silences.
Inteviewer: ...bottomless pit of one-liners, able to come up with gags at a second's notice, provides the bricks and mortar."
Barry: And they let me appear in it sometimes as well. I bring my wheelbarrow. It's very gracious of him though, particularly about my quick wit.
Tim: Anyway, what would he know?
Graeme, you're described thus: "Bides his time, picks his moment, a punchline man supreme, very dry, often has the perfect punchline which helps me (Humph) end the show on a high note.
Tim: Very dry as opposed to the very sweaty me, is that what he's saying?
Barry: Was that Humph who said that?
Barry: I detect a very Graeme style in that.
Graeme: I put a stop to the fun basically is what he's saying.
Tim: Yes, but you bide your time about it.
Humph's very modest about his own comic abilities. What do you think his particular gifts are?
Barry: He's very arrogant, overbearing and quite ruthless.
Tim: I've been a fan of his since I was a teenager. I used to go listen to his band which still plays magnificently today. And I still get a thrill out of working with Humph. It's extraordinary, after all these years. He's such an incredibly nice and bright man and he is modest, but he shouldn't be. I think he's quite fantastic.
Barry: I still think 'It's him, it's him!'.
How much of his stuff is written and how much is ad-libbed?
Tim: Well, he is capable of writing everything but Iain Pattinson actually writes his script now. I think Iain would say that the great thing is you're writing for a great man. There's nothing worse for a writer than to write something that is delivered badly. Iain writes some good stuff and Humph makes it even better which is perfect for a writer.
Graeme: And, obviously, the nature of the show is not all scripted. Humph reads his links then we play the games and Humph says injections of his own and very often they're show-stoppers as well. He's an extremely funny man. I don't think he knows how funny he is or how he is funny which is probably a good thing - he just does it.
Barry: He's in a great tradition like Kenneth Horne was in Round the Horne - the obeying man in the middle with all the idiots milling about and he's never quite sure what's going on but he just wants to get it over.
Tim: And the seeming innocence allows him to be absolutely filthy. "Humph can't have said that, can he?" And, of course, everything he says is double entendre anyway and he looks really, genuinely surprised if the audience laughs. As Graeme says, he can ad-lib as well. I remember something he said during our recording on Sunday. He said something like "Your hand writing is so bad, I have to pin it up and run past it to read it." I don't quite know what it means but it made me laugh enormously.
Back to Interviews...