London-born comedian Micky Flanagan is not like the rest.
The self-confessed "moron" began working his way up the comedy ladder back in the Nineties following jobs as a fish porter in Billingsgate and washing dishes in New York City, before becoming a regular fixture on the festival circuit and a panel show staple.
With the release of Sky1 series Detour De France, we chat to Micky about his love of cycling as well as his comedy roots and his tips on how to avoid Christmas.
When did the idea of Detour De France arise?
It started at the beginning of the year when I started doing a bit of cycling and I was thinking about what I was going to be doing. My agent, who is profoundly worried about my mental and physical wellbeing – and his 15 percent – said, “Just go off and do something you really want to do.” I said, ‘”I really wanna go to an orgy” and when he couldn’t get that organised, I decided to go to France on my bike with a mate (Noel Lynch). If you sat down most men and asked them what they’d like to do, it would be in that area. So we followed the route of the actual Tour, off shooting wherever we felt appropriate.
What was it that initially drew you to comedy?
As a child, my dad would play comedy albums and I was fascinated by the ability of one person facing an entire room of people and saying, “If you look at me, you will laugh.” Stand-up comedy is the hardest game in the world because it demands a response. It’s the one profession in the entertainment industry where you can’t hide.
Do you find it easy to draw from your upbringing?
Yeah, especially if you do the autobiographical comedy that I do. I once spoke to somebody who thought she was the only person in the world whose Nan burnt her with a teaspoon – and so did I. When I said it on stage, it got a massive laugh so it’s obviously quite universal that Nans are wicked. Laughter is a way of everyone agreeing with something.
Would you say you’ve carved an on-stage character out for yourself?
I’m certainly who I am, but with the dial turned right up. I am a moron. I am a complete simpleton. I don’t see the world like other people do. I always wondered what was going on with me over the years – now I know. I’m just not very well. But
I know you’re not a big fan of Christmas – what tip would you give to those looking to avoid it this year?
Alcohol, I would say. That’s how most people get through it; you’re allowed a glass of Cava at 8 on Christmas Day. Crack on. Try not to argue with people either. It’s for kids! I mean, those people who put lights on their house – what’s going on there?
A good tip came from my friend: he said he kept finding things that were running out so he could get out the house for a little while. Craftily emptying things during the night – “oh look, we’ve run out of salt!”
What are your plans for 2015?
At the moment, nothing, but there’s always something that could possibly happen: a sitcom; a new series; a book. Of course, I’m having the gender reassignment in October. That’s gonna be interesting.
Micky Flanagan’s Detour de France, featuring an exclusive unaired episode, is out on Blu-ray and DVD now