'I'm enjoying it and the audience is enjoying it'
FAME for Micky Flanagan is not fast cars or big houses. It is a sausage sandwich.
The Cockney comedian likes nothing better than having a quiet moment in his kitchen making a sandwich.
"That's the kind of thing that is an adventure to me these days," he smiles. It certainly makes a change from playing sold-out shows, which is what he is spending most of 2013 doing on his biggest tour yet, entitled Back In The Game.
Micky turned 50 last October but shows no signs of slowing down. His tour puts him firmly in comedy's premier league alongside the likes of Michael McIntyre and John Bishop, but fame brings all sorts of changes, as the genial gagsmith jokes: "You can't nick things any more. These are the problems of being successful. A sandwich here, a chocolate bar there. Apparently crime and success don't go hand in hand!"
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
He says hitting the big "five oh" didn't really worry him: "Someone suggested I should lie about my age. If I was a film star or a pop star maybe, but comedians are supposed to tell the truth. Frankie Boyle says you can't be a stand-up after 40. On the other hand Bob Monkhouse once said you can't be funny until you are over 40. So how much time does that leave you to be funny? About a year."
Micky's challenge with Back In The Game was coming up with material to match previous classic routines, such as his famous "out out" story, where you pop out for a quick drink and end up in a club still wearing your slippers.
If his last show was all about his life up to becoming a comedian via Billingsgate market, living in America – "where I was an international lover and player" – and doing a City University degree in social science, Back In The Game is about where he is now.
And where he is now is living in Dulwich, south London, with his wife Cathy and six-year-old son Max. We are chatting in his bright study, surrounded by comedy books by peers such as Russell Brand and (no relation!) Jo Brand.
Micky claims that all the really exciting things happen when you are young. Yet his meteoric rise from comedy club to arena superstardom in a handful of years disproves the rule: "By the time my dad was 26 he had kids, a council flat and a job on the docks," he recalls. "His life was more or less done. When I was 36 I was still looking around for opportunities."
He found that opportunity when he was in the audience at a comedy show. It was seeing Billy Connolly that made him think he could have a go.
"I love Harry Hill's surrealism and Chris Rock's ability to say the unsayable but I could never do that," admits Micky. "But I thought I could tell stories like Billy Connolly."
He started doing stand-up in his mid-30s and initially combining comedy gigs with a job as a painter and decorator.
"For about two years I'd be travelling to gigs with a bottle of white spirit in my bag so that I could clean the paint off my hands," says Micky. "Eventually I was doing gigs every weekend and another comedian said to me, 'if you don't quit your day job you won't enjoy either. Just take the rest of the week off like the rest of us'. At first it felt like I'd won the pools getting up on a Monday and not having to work again until Thursday!"
Flanagan speaks as if his success is an accident, but it is really all down to hard work and talent. Yet he is typically modest about making audiences everywhere laugh their socks off.
"I can make no sense of it except that we took a few risks and they seemed to pay off," he says. "There are only two things to keep in my mind. I'm enjoying it and the audience is enjoying it. If we can keep those things bubbling along for a while that would be great."
With that he gets up from the sofa. Presumably to make a sausage sandwich.
All the March dates at Plymouth Pavilions have sold out. Very limited tickets are available for September 12, but tickets are available for the new fifth date on September 13. Tickets £23.50. Call 0845 146 1460 or visit www.plymouth pavilions.com