MILTON Jones hasn’t sat still for 15 years.
If he had three wishes one of them would be to do nothing – absolutely nothing for one day.
His other two wishes would be to fill an executive box at The Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal FC, with his friends, and the other to use an open top Rolls Royce to give old folk lifts to the day centre.
Welcome to the world of comedian Milton Jones.
When I rang his mobile to conduct the interview I had feared he would be funny for 15 minutes when all I wanted was straight answers.
Well, he was amusing and charming but his answers were erudite, truthful, to the point, clear and concise– a million light years away from his television persona.
While Milton may have been dubbed by the press ‘king of the surreal one-liners’ or ‘wonderfully weird and wild-haired’, there is, I am pleased to say, far more to the man than just a bullet gun approach to laughter.
For him the sweetest laugh is: “The laugh that doesn’t happen in other shows.
“It is the one-off with particular audiences.
“Last night one woman was laughing so hard she lost her engagement ring.
“I don’t know how this happened but for one minute we laughed at her and she laughed at herself.
“And I asked where her finger had been when she lost it.
“The sweetest laugh is the one occasion when it should not have happened.”
Talking to a comedian it is interesting to know why they do what they do.
It is something which perhaps all of us think we could do but after about two minutes we would run out of material or the sound of silence drives us off the stage.
Milton said: “In a way it is my job.
“It is sad to see two comics watching a show from the back and not laughing but nodding to each other.
“This is what happens when you are involved in the nuts and bolts of comedy.
“Some people say it is the hardest job in the world but there are people in Afghanistan do a much harder job.”
There is a famous quote by legendary American comedian Jack Benny from the 1950s who warned against comics going on television as it would ‘chew you up and spit you out’.
I asked Milton if this was still true of television today as he is a regular guest on shows like Mock TheWeek.
He said: “Television has changed a bit in the UK.
“Once there were only a few channels but now there are more opportunities.
“In terms of material you have to be careful not to repeat yourself.
“Some comedians have material which is not appropriate to television and they have to change it.
“A lot of comedians do not translate to television.”
When he first saw himself ‘on the box’ in the 1990s he couldn’t believe how slowly he blinked when shutting his eyelids – it looked like he was doing it in slow motion.
He said it was a surprise and he did try to stop this and change a few
One of the things he would not change is his favourite location in the world.
Milton’s spot is Kew Gardens, it is near where he grew up and he remembers going there to throw sticks to knock the conkers down.
It is a location which he now takes his children to and enjoys the peace and the birds singing.
- Milton Jones: The Lion Whisperer tour will be at The Castle in Wellingborough on March 11.
Tickets cost £15 and are available from the box office on 01933 270 007.