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© Steve Ullathorne

Miles Jupp interview: ‘I’m capable of being very rude’

Juggling sitcoms, parenthood and stand-up, Miles Jupp is one busy man. We meet the posh comedian for a much-needed cuppa

By Danielle Goldstein

When he’s not on stage delivering witty vignettes, it’s difficult to picture Miles Jupp as a comedian. Especially since when we meet he’s patting the pockets of his practical-looking red raincoat and muttering about keys. ‘I’m forgetting everything lately,’ he sighs and slumps into a chair.

In fairness, Jupp has been rather busy of late. In the past year alone the 34-year-old Londoner has fathered twins, starred in a third series of his Radio 4 sitcom ‘In and Out of the Kitchen’, appeared in Bafta-winning sitcom ‘Rev’ and even played a part in George Clooney’s ‘The Monuments Men’. On top of all that he’s been touring ‘Miles Jupp Is the Chap You’re Thinking Of’, which returns to the West End this month.

Describe the new show in one line.
‘It’s a slightly tired man trying to make sense of things in an animated fashion and using more words than is strictly necessary to do so.’

‘Things’ such as family life?
‘A sizeable chunk of the first half is that sort of thing, and I have some rants about things that actually matter as well. But it’s all just a living, isn’t it? The kettle broke recently, so I’ll have to get a new one of those, and something’s wrong with that thing in the car that you plug the Sat nav into. I’ve got to work to be able to sort these things out.’

Speaking of work, you’ve been doing a lot of acting lately. Have you considered giving up stand-up altogether?
‘I definitely want to do more acting, but I want to remember what stand-up feels like. What I’d really like to do is write a film. James Kettle, my colleague, and I have started researching a political movement in the early ’70s, but I don’t know when we’ll properly sit down and start bashing it out and then go knocking on Spielberg’s door.’

Your first big acting role was in the CBeebies show ‘Balamory’ in 2002. Do your four young children watch the programme?
‘There are many other terrific children’s programmes they can watch, but they have seen it and they weren’t weirded out by it at all. I think now, unlike ten years ago, it’s not weird to see people you know on a screen when you can film yourself on your phone. When I was little I met the man who did the voiceover for Tetley Tea adverts and I thought it was extraordinary that I could meet someone whose voice I’d heard on the television.’

Do you find yourself being recognised by teenagers who watched ‘Balamory’ when they were young?
‘I went to Nunhead Cemetery open day and some teenagers asked if I was who they thought I was, and could they have a photo with me – the whole thing was incredibly exciting for all of us. It’s strange because it always snaps me out of whatever I’m thinking about. It’s probably no different to working in a shop and having a reverie about walking up a mountain until someone tugs your sleeve and says: “Where’s the Domestos?” and you think, “Oh God, yes, it’s, er, aisle six”.’

There’s no hiding your posh accent. But do you ever wish you hadn’t played on it so heavily when you first started in stand-up comedy?
‘It started as a self-defence mechanism. At a comedy workshop someone said it was good to be aware of the things people might have a go at you for, and address them quickly. That was the start of it and this is what’s evolved. It’s a bit of a hindrance now in the show. There’s some deliberately silly poshness in there, but I try and get on with what I’m talking about.’

Besides being on set with George Clooney, what is the most glamorous situation you’ve ever been in?
‘Going to Berlin to do “Monuments Men” – even on EasyJet – was exciting. But “glamorous”? I don’t know if that’s right the word. I’ve not been handbag shopping with Kristin Scott Thomas or anything. Now that would be glamorous.’

Do you think your reputation as a gentle comedian is accurate?
‘I have quite a bad temper and I’m capable of being very rude. Only this morning I shouted “arse” at a man on a bicycle. It was in Peckham and he was absolutely charging down the road while an elderly lady was crossing. I just thought, “You spectacular anus”. So I thought “anus” and shouted “arse” because I’m always aware of the bigger picture.’


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