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Joe Pasquale

Joe Pasquale

with Murray Norton
We grabbed Joe from rehearsals for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead to ask him a few questions covering his time in Jersey, being a human muppet and Shakespeare.

Q:  You look well considering you’re a man under the cosh of rehearsal

A:  yeah I’m knackered living on the edge on the highway to hell but I’m staying at the little chef so I’m alright mate

Q:  Just for five minutes - one of those round sausages with an egg in the middle

A:  Big bender I think it's called

Q:  We all need a big bender from time to time It's good to see you back in the island again

A:  it’s been a long time

Q:  You were a small lad then

A:  I was mate I was, I was only seven

Q:  I saw you with a bucket on your head and you kept turning it

A:  That’s right the buckets of doom well done mate that was a few years ago that

Q:  I can remember that, it was the house of pleasure

A:  The château pleasure on the five mile road, I can remember that engraved on my memory

Q:  it was one of the most remote places you could work on a wet windy September night

A:  Amazing yeah, 2 six months seasons I did there

Q:  They were long seasons then

A:  they were very long, not as long as a year, well there was one over two years if you look it that way but I’m not into mathematics

Q:  I'm glad that added up

A:  I lost a grip on reality for a second, I went to a different universe then

Q:  Top selling comic, comic is the wrong word to call you really, you make people laugh

A:  Is that what it is

Q:  I don’t see you as a stand up there tell gags comic

A:   I don’t know what I do, I'll do anything mate

Q:  He's a funny bloke

A:  there ain’t a lot I won’t do to get a laugh

Q:  This acting, proper legit, when did all this start then

A:  I did my first play about four years ago called the nerd which was great, I was asked to do it and I was like blimey proper play gotta learn scripts and it was great really enjoyed the experience. Last year I got into doing some fast with ray Cooney, it's good working with professional actors, I never thought I would be an actor, I’m not an actor now, I go and learn my lines and try not to bump into furniture. I'm going to do Chicago in the west end next year, Mr Cellophane, so when this came up I thought it was right up my street, Ian Stevens the director came to my house, I was about to go on holiday and he said take the script with you on holiday and I agreed to do it before I even read the script to be honest with you. I got on the plane and I read the script and I thought we’ve got nine days rehearsal and it's like War and Peace, I've gotta say it’s great but it’s the hardest thing I’ve done in my life.

Q:  How are you doing with your lines

A:  I'm ok, well find out next week when we open

Q:  I can’t wait I will sit there with it, prompt

A:  Yeah and I might need you as well

Q:  [ Murray asked Joe about the play ]

A:  It's a brilliantly crafted play, even if you don’t know anything about Shakespeare, I don’t know anything about Shakespeare, I know he wrote plays and Gwyneth Paltrow was in one of them, thats all I know about him. He was very popular in his day well he's still popular now and it's not his day, every dog has its day but a dog with no tail has a weekend. Whatever that means, [laughing] medication is wearing off now. It is a comedy, but its a black comedy, its not one where you get a custard pie in the face, you have to think about it, well we might have to get a custard pie out if I cant remember what happens in the second half.

Q:  [Murray asked Joe about his co-star Terry Alderton]

A:  I've known terry for a long time, we’ve done television before but not this sort of thing, were sharing a flat together so were very close, not to close but close enough.

Q:  I have to ask about the Muppet show I need to ask about that, I know it was about 3 years ago now but the 25 anniversary of the Muppet show in LA, you were the only British act in LA, you were alongside John Voit is that right.

A:  I did the Royal Variety in 93, the Muppets where on it and met the producer, he said my son is a big fan of yours, will you come and do my son's Bar Mitzvah, so i did the Bar Mitzvah Then about 10 years he phones me up says, Joe what are you doing next week, I said I’m only rehearsing for a Panto, so he said do you fancy getting to Hollywood, can you get there for next week, I said what's for, he said 25 anniversary of the Muppet show, they’ve seen your tapes and think your a human Muppet, can you get out there and do 15 minutes on your own and 5 minutes with gonzo.

Q:  Go on

A:  I said who else is on the show, he said a couple of locals, I don’t know who the locals are Billy Millet and his dancing chickweed. I get out there and they stick me in this trailer with John Voit, Brook Shields and Paul Williams. It was the most amazing experience being stuck in a trailer with John Voit for four days; he thought I was off my head. He said to me what are you doing, I said I was doing a Panto, they have no concept of what a Panto is in Hollywood; [in a mock American accent] what’s a Panto. It’s a bit like a musical play but its cack.

Q:  Is there a temptation for you because when you go on stage as Joe Pasquale and the crazy word of you, you freefall it

A:  yeah flying by the seat of your pants

Q:  How difficult is it for you to stick to a cue and a script

A:  that’s not the difficult part, the difficult part is learning the lines as you have to stay true to the script. Everybody else is waiting for their cue as well, if you go into a one about your tortoise for ten minutes everyone will go I don’t remember tom writing about a tortoise for ten minutes.

Q:  I can’t look at you without thinking about the bucket turning or the hands one longer than the other. I worked as a stooge for Tommy Cooper which was great but a lot of what I saw you do was very Cooperesque, I try to think of you now as an actor but when I see you I know it will be great.

A:  Don’t say that at all, it might be cack and go wrong but this is why I wanted to do it, I don’t want to be 70 years old having to walk up a peer in Great Yarmouth with my buckets of doom and a bag of props and a paper bag, working to 2 cats and an old age pensioner.

Q:  Are you enjoying surprising people?

A:  I surprise myself, I don’t want to get bored doing what I do.

last updated: 19/07/04
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