Seeing another side to Roy 'Chubby' Brown

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Roy 'Chubby' Brown is in pain. "I fell down some stairs in Benidorm," he says.

Roy 'Chubby' Brown is in pain. "I fell down some stairs in Benidorm," he says.

"I was doing a gig and they gave me a big intro, but just as I went to go on, they put the lights out – and didn't tell me about the six steps to the stage."

"I went flying and did my ankle in. My toes have turned black," he winces.

"But, hey, the show must go on – and it raised a laugh, people thought it was part of the act. I'm not sure I'll keep it in, mind. It hurts too much."

Anything else bothering him?

"Ohhh aye. I'm having a hell of time selling me timeshares in Syria."

It's a typical gag and a reassuring one. Because, with the trademark flying helmet tucked away, this is not the boisterous comedian you would expect.

The voice is much quieter, soft even.


The effin' and jeffin' and boppin-in-a-patchwork-suit persona is nowhere to be seen off-stage.

So much so that Britain's bawdiest comedian relaxes by writing love songs. Not the comedy ditties which light up his performances, but genuine, straight from the heart, no-gags-included songs.

Sounds like a load of ballads to me.

"Yes," he chuckles, "People are often surprised. They keep waiting for the punchlines, the jokes. But there aren't any when it comes to that music.


"I've got a recording studio in my house (up in Northallerton) and I must have recorded more than 100 over the years. I doubt they'll ever get released though because it's very hard to be taken seriously once you're established as a comedian."

So it's 'Chubby Brown, the old romantic'?

"Well, I've been called worse things," he laughs back in a northern brogue so disarming that you could imagine him as a cruise ship crooner in another life.

But after 43 years on stage, it is in British comedy history that his name will be written large, normally preceded by the word 'controversial'.

His online Wikipedia entry lists him as a 'blue comedian'. Is that fair?

"It is. You can't get away from the fact that blue is what I do. But it's also broader than that

"It's easy to put me in that bracket and sometimes critics are lazy and so that's what they do.

"They don't see that I change my act constantly to stay topical and try to find humour in all situations to give people a laugh.

"Isn't that what comedians are there for?

"I think it's harder to do and cleverer than some people give credit for, but those people have probably never been to one of my shows and pre-judge things." This is more like it. Roy's on a roll.

"And, anyway, hasn't comedy got very dull since we all went politically correct?"

(Gulp. I dread to think what's coming next. But it's not that bad – honest. However, fans of bland posh-boy comics may need to look away now.)

"You see young lads doing Mock the Week and shows like that and they do three minutes or so of stuff the BBC likes.

"But beyond that, they can't pull it together for a stand-up show for an hour and ten minutes because they just haven't got the material.

"If you had Tommy Cooper's face, Ken Dodd's timing and Bob Monkhouse's material then you'd have the perfect comedian.

"Some of these lads now . . ."

The voice trails off and you can sense the X-rated star's exasperation with the glut of PG performers getting air time.

Not that he has ever courted TV exposure. Apart from a brief flirtation with New Faces in 1974 when he came second to a country and western singer.

Well, it was the Seventies . . .

"I'm happy with where I am and what I am," he declares, "It's crazy at times.

"When I was out in Benidorm I could barely walk down the street without getting stopped for autographs or whatever, it's great.

"One bloke said to me 'I knew it was you from the back of your head' and I wasn't in the helmet or anything – I was only in me trunks."

So in these PC times, where does he get inspiration from?

"I look around, I read the papers, watch the news; there's material anywhere and everywhere if you look. "There's a story today about a cat that's gone missing and the owner said that it's almost human.

"Well, if it's that human, why doesn't it just tell someone where it lives?

"And I read that Jordan can count the number of her lovers on one hand. What's she got in it? A calculator?"

Sharp as a tack, there's no end in sight for the 67-year-old.

"I've got a young wife who's 44, an 11-year-old lad and an eight-year-old girl who's hilarious, so I've got a family to provide for and no sign of my pension yet.

"But why would I want to stop? I've had a remarkable life. You've got to make the most of it."

So is that the overall message from his show?

"Definitely. Take life as it comes, enjoy it and try to have a laugh.

"What else can you do?"

Roy 'Chubby' Brown plays Oakengates Theatre @ The Place on June 28.

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