Pulling his finger out

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Popular funnyman Joe Pasquale is back at Blackpool Grand Theatre on Sunday with his Pull My Finger tour. So what’s so new about it?

“Well there are new routines, like Cheese Corner,” he says. “I found a piece of music on iTunes called Where’s The Cheese Gone? and built a routine around it, in which I put on a hat that looks like it’s made of cheese, play the drums to the song (bear with me) and try and do as many jokes about cheese as I can.

“At the end of the first half, I’ll have a Cheese Box at the front of the stage and people can put their own cheese jokes in it and have them read out in the second half, if you get your joke read out, you get a Dairylea triangle. But I won’t be giving them away lightly.”

But there will still be familiar favourites.

“Well, comics can be like bands – when you go and see a band and they play all their new album and not stuff you really like, you come away disappointed,” he says. “It can be the same with comedy. People say ‘Aren’t you doing any magic this year?’, or ‘Aren’t you doing that routine?’ or ‘I loved it when you used to sing that song’, so this year there’ll be a bit of stuff that people are familiar with.

“I’ll be doing a painting as I always do on the shows on tour – it’s on the theme of madness, and the background music to it is Windmills Of Your Mind, the lyrics of which makes no sense at all, do they?”

As for the age of his audience.

“Well, you do go to some places and see signs on roundabouts that say ‘Happy 30th birthday, Grandma’ these days.

“But I have found that people who came to see me when they were kids are now bringing their own children, which can be quite disconcerting.

“Next year, I’m doing a play of Doctor In The House, which was a TV series in the 70s and a 50s film with Dirk Bogarde and James Robertson Justice. The producer’s only 23 and I had a meeting with him and he said ‘I saw you at the Secombe Centre when I was about nine.

“But it’s great to revisit the Doctor series for a new generation. You certainly couldn’t revisit a TV series like On The Buses – Reg Varney was the best looking bloke in it, which isn’t great, is it?”

But apart from his stage work he is also studying for a degree from the Open University.

“I’ve spent the past 25 years on the road and I’ve wasted my time in the car talking nonsense and playing computer games.

“But now we get in the car, fill up with petrol, and I spend anything from two to eight hours studying. Then we’ll get there, set the gear up and I might spend another couple of hours with the books, and I might get stuck on something difficult, like physics – and then realise I’ve only got 15 minutes until I go on.

“I think I’ve learnt more in the past two years than in the previous 47! I’ve even started to write a kid’s book about the formation of the moon.”

“It’s not really been going back to studying for me, as I left school at sixteen and got run over in a car accident at thirteen, so I missed out on a lot of schooling.

“If the others were doing anything difficult, I got sent along to the art room to draw some pictures.

“Despite that though, I’ve got along, and you realise that the only thing holding you back is your own confidence, as with the right attitude, you can do anything, and nothing’s a mistake if you learn from it.

“You need to find out what you want to do and build on that.

n Blackpool Grand Theatre, Sunday at 7.30pm. Tickets £18.50