Phill Jupitus: 'I've found a way of monetising a social dysfunction'

Comedian is taking his Juplicity show around the UK, but it might just be an excuse to visit his favourite museums and record shops

As the former Never Mind the Buzzcocks team captain and ex-BBC 6 DJ takes Juplicity across the UK, he talks about standing in front of strangers, the things he needs on tour, and how much personal material he should divulge on stage

Is Juplicity a fixed beast or will it evolve as the show moves around?
What happens on the tour becomes added to the tour: it snowballs as it rolls down the hill of the dates. I wish I had the discipline of my brother and sister comedians and say 'it's about this', because by the end it could be about my love of the bridge work of Isambard Brunel or who knows what? Certainly, that would do well in Bristol.

How would you describe what you do?
I think I've found a way of monetising a social dysfunction. I've always maintained that there is something slightly wrong with people who are arts and crafts sensitive types putting themselves in the most confrontational situation which is standing in front of strangers and trying to get them onside. I've spent time with actors from the RSC or the National Theatre and said 'I don't know how you can do what you do', and they say 'well, we've got a script and someone tells us where to stand: you are on your own without a set, with no one telling you what to do.'

Do you have any particular requirements when you tour the country?
I look for art and museums. I've got a real thing about record shops, book shops, and second-hand tat shops where I might be able to find old badges: everywhere I go, those five things will be found. The other thing I try to do as often as I can do, depending on the actual geography, is to travel to the next town after a gig, so that I wake up where I'm playing that night. It provides a very different energy to what you're doing because you're in situ, and also that gives you stuff to talk about in the first ten minutes of the show. Before, I'd get there really early, go to the hotel, dump my bags and have a nap: you only need one sleep a day! We're not down a mine!!

How do you decide which personal stories to discuss on stage?
Sean Lock said that we mine our own personalities for material and then in your head it's about negotiating how much you keep back. All we comedians do is look at things and shift the camera angle. We put a wider lens on something so that it resonates.

Phill Jupitus: Juplicity is on tour until Thursday 14 June.

Join our newsletter