Spotlight: David Stanier

Vikings, crisps, and mountain gorillas

Feature by Debs Marsden | 03 Jul 2014

In the 80s, it wasn't all union strikes and governmental apathy: we also had joke books. Huge books, containing a stupid amount of jokes. 1001 Jokes For Kids! their titles boasted, in a font that screamed 'There Might Actually Be TOO Many!' But the purest essence of one of these editions might just result in a David Stanier...

Looking as though someone painted a portrait of the word 'affable', then swathed it in the cheery knitwear of a not-yet-disgraced children's TV presenter, Stanier cuts an immediate contrast to most of his fellows.

He's simply an intrinsically silly human being. Which is a very good thing, as there's a bit of a drought on.

“A good upbringing, fun, ghosts, roller coasters, sassiness, Tom Cruise, all of human history, the infinite possibilities of the imagination, and a thirst for knowledge. Also Shooting Stars, Russell Brand, Mitch Hedberg, Peacock & Gamble, and Nick Helm.”

First gig:
“In Lancaster when I was at university, learning. There was an open mic night with poets and acoustic guitar players and me not knowing how to do comedy. It went badly in front of people who are dear to me.”

Best gig:
“The best gig is probably David Stanier’s Silly Party. It's jokes, games and fun, with a party theme. I’ve done it twice, and it has just been loads of fun. So I'm going to keep doing them.”

Worst gig:
“David Stanier's Silly Party... BUT on Opposites Day! What date is Opposites Day this year? Is it different in the US? I don't want to talk about my worst gig ALRIGHT?!”

Circuit favourites in the Northwest:
“Everyone you've picked for Spotlight pieces. Particularly Gein's Family Giftshop, Jayne Edwards and that silly potato Liam Pickford. But additionally Danny Sutcliffe, Sam Gore, Phil Ellis, Jonathan Mayor and Richard Massara are all good, and so is everyone else who's my friend and does comedy. *blows kisses*”

Favourite venue:
“The King's Arms in Salford is really good. They had a bit of a comedy festival last November (where Silly Party started). Gein’s Family Giftshop have a night there each month and Comedy at the Kings has good line-ups.”

Best heckle and put down you’ve heard:
“A man declared 'I love kids!' halfway through a joke. I wasn’t sure if it was meant like a proud nursery owner, or a proud sex criminal. I shut his butt down, explaining I wasn’t qualified for that, and carrying on with my jokes. Slam! Boom! Swadoosh!”

Plans for Edinburgh this year:
“This year I’m planning on letting Edinburgh go and saying goodbye to Scotland as it leaves the UK after the referendum… Fly free little bird...”

What are your aspirations?
“I aspire to lead a full and interesting life, and leave a good legacy with all my jokes about snakes and submarines and things. It would be good to maybe find the right words to convince Katie Hopkins to pack it all in.”

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing stand-up?
"Sitting down! HAHAHAHAHA! No, in all seriousness, I would be sitting down: in a Formula One car, because I'd be a racing driver. Or a spy. Because as you know, I am not a spy."

If you could be haunted by anyone, who would it be and why?
“Myself, but from the future. The fact that this hasn’t happened yet proves that ghosts can't time travel, or that I will never die.”

But what about Victorian ghosts?
“I will never die.”

If you were on death row, what would your last meal be? And why are you on death row?
“A bowl of every type of crisp. I would have to guess each of the flavours with a blindfold on. I am there due to an admin error.”

What’s the largest animal you think you could beat in a fight? No weapons.
“Let’s just say… why do you think mountain gorillas are endangered?”

If you lived in medieval times what would you do for a living?
“I would be the Prince, a Viking, or a Rumpelstiltskin.”

Question from last month's Spotlight, Liam Bolton: What’s your favourite episode of The Simpsons?

“Season 3, Episode 9: The Red Wedding.”

David Stanier will be performing at Beat-Herder Festival, Ribble Valley, Lancashire, 18-20 Jul (David plays on Sun 20 Jul)