One of Britain’s best-loved actors and comedians, Joe Pasquale started out working on holiday camps.
Seizing his big break via New Faces, Joe has long been a familiar face on TV, even winning the fourth series of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!
Here, in the run-up to his eagerly anticipated return to Bridlington Spa, “Pulse” author Steve Rudd catches up with him…
Q. Hi Joe, how are things?
A. So far, 2016 has been great! I finished panto in Southampton in January, then appeared on the latest series of “Tonight at the London Palladium” shows, which were hosted by Bradley Walsh.
Brad and I have been friends for more than 30 years; we met doing talent shows together as teenagers.
We have been through lots of trials and tribulations together over the years.
Brad asked me: “Do you fancy doing a bit with me on Tonight at the London Palladium? We’ll fly you across the stage, and you can do what you like up there.”
So I did 10 minutes, hanging in the air, dressed in funny costumes. You have to wear a big harness between your legs when you’re flying; shame it gives you trouble with your trousers.
Umm… “Trouble with Your Trousers” – that could be the title of my next show! I’ve recently filmed an ITV show to be broadcast in early 2017.
Q. In the meantime, you’re back on tour, right?
A. Yes, I am, and I’m still passionate about everything I do, whether it be stand-up, panto, musicals, plays or television.
That said, nothing beats being in front of a live audience and mucking about. Life is too short, so I try and make the most of it!
Q. How do you normally prepare for a new tour?
A. I normally put together a rough running order of bits, and then I wing it on the opening night, adjusting things on a nightly basis during the tour.
That way it’s never exactly the same show twice!
Q. Are you able to memorise full monologues, or are you more into improvisation?
A. To be honest, I can do both; you have to have a good memory in this business, whether it be for stand-up, or learning scripts for plays or panto.
Q. What was it that first got you into comedy, and what do you recall of the first “paid” gig that you did?
A. I first started out calling bingo and refereeing wrestling matches!
I don’t even remember my first paid gig, as it was over 30 years ago. I know that I would’ve been very nervous, as that never leaves you... at least not if you care about it.
Q. Did you consider yourself funny at school, or is your status as “comedian extraordinaire” something that you’ve acquired over the years?
A. I wasn’t the funny one at school. I was very quiet. It wasn’t until I went into full-time work that I came out of my shell.
Q. What kind of impact, if any, did your childhood have on the type of comedy that you write and perform?
A. I think I had a very normal childhood with a working-class background.
A lot of people my age had the same background, so I can’t say that it formed my comedy bones.
I’ve got two older sisters and a younger brother.
Growing up, I was always fighting for attention.
When I was seven, my mum would say to me, ‘Here’s a bit of Lego, and here’s a bit of bread – chew on that!
Your sister’s got boyfriend problems. I’ll give you a rabbit. You can play with him, and you’ll be sorted!’
A seven-year-old is always easy to deal with; you can ask him to look after himself. The desire in me to perform probably stems back from me struggling for attention.
Q. Your comedy aside, you’re well-known for having won I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!
Were you in any way hesitant about going on the show, or did you jump at the chance without qualm?
Q. I won I’m a Celebrity 12 years ago, in 2004.
I had a few hesitations at first, but my agent talked me into it, and I have to say that I loved every second of it!
Q. You are now a qualified pilot, having overcome your fear of flying with, ahem, flying colours! How long have you been flying yourself around, and do you own your own plane?
A. I have a PPL and have been flying since 2006, but I don’t own my own plane; I just rent one if I want to go up!
Q. Boxing is another passion of yours. Are you not scared of doing yourself an injury?
A. I love going to the boxing gym, but I’m not scared of getting injured.
I like to think that after doing it for nine years, I can give as good as I get.
I still train at Gumshield, a gym near Eltham.
It’s brilliant exercise, and it was boxing that helped me get in shape for the London Marathon.
Q. Refocusing on your current UK tour… what do fans coming to see you at Bridlington Spa have to look forward to?
A. They can look forward to a lot of laughs.
There’ll be magic, songs, audience participation, painting… oh, and my twin brother, Raynard.
It’s a mix of my favourite stuff that I’ve done before, and a load of new material that I’ve never done before.
We will have guest appearances from Spiderman, Velma from Scooby Doo, and maybe a few dinosaurs, including a velociraptor named Vince.
There’ll also be lots of mind reading, and I will try and contact my spirit guide… but for entertainment purposes only!
Q. What are you most looking forward to about returning to the Yorkshire coast?
A. The fish and chips, with the fish straight from the sea!
Q. For anyone reading this who has always wanted to become a comedian, what advice would you give them?
A. Get in front of any and every audience you can, and develop a thick skin.
Q. Finally, how can people find out more about you and your tour?
A. Go to www.joepasquale.com
l Joe will be performing “One Man and His Bog” at Bridlington Spa on Friday 2nd September
l To read more about Steve’s writing, visit www.steverudd.co.uk or “Follow” him on Twitter @ruddontheroad