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Latitude comedian speaks to The Journal

PUBLISHED: 06:30 17 July 2009 | UPDATED: 08:20 01 August 2010

HE has been compared to the great Tommy Cooper and once held the title for the most jokes told in an hour.

And this afternoon, at about 4.30pm, English comedian Tim Vine will take to the Comedy Arena stage to dazzle and amuse the crowds with his quick-fire strings of witty one-liners and ludicrous puns.

HE has been compared to the great Tommy Cooper and once held the title for the most jokes told in an hour.

And this afternoon, at about 4.30pm, English comedian Tim Vine will take to the Comedy Arena stage to dazzle and amuse the crowds with his quick-fire strings of witty one-liners and ludicrous puns.

He has never performed at Latitude before, and said he was keen to open with the joke “well, if that's your Latitude…”- but feared that someone else must have used it.

Mr Vine, who will be travelling to and from the festival today, said he was worried about the state of the trains from his home in London because he likes to get home “once it gets past tea-time.”

However, he added that he was “absolutely looking forward” to performing. “I'm doing Latitude because I read that there's lovely people there and there's a lovely atmosphere,” he said. “Once I've got there on eight trains I shall be hitting with both barrels!”

Tim Vine seems the perfect choice for a festival that prides itself on its family atmosphere. He stays away from the traps of swearing or lewdness to get a cheap laugh, but instead relies on his mastery of word play and a penchant for the absurd.

“It's quite childish anyway, I just have that kind of act,” he said. “My show's just about being an idiot. The bottom line is, I'm coming to Latitude to act the goat!”

Mr Vine, who wrote for and appeared on BAFTA-winning The Sketch Show on ITV, said that his act would include gags from his last tour, 2008's Punslinger, as well as some new material that he has been trying out at a regular slot at a club in Surrey.

He said he had been trying out more character-based sketches, including a limping chef and a gentleman called Professor Nintrest- although the latter had gone down so badly that he didn't think he would be “resurrected” anytime soon!

At Latitude he hopes to bring out a couple of musical numbers, and a new gag involving a ventriloquist.

He will also be treating the crowds to an old favourite, Pen behind the Ear, where he repeatedly tries to throw a pen behind his ear. The attempt is carried out as a ludicrously dramatic game show-style soundtrack chants “pen behind the ear” over and over again, and the beauty of the act is that it takes as long as it takes.

“I'm not too bad at it now,” he said. “But occasionally I have some sort of crisis of confidence halfway through and think, 'actually, I might no be able to do this…' You have to have the right ears for something like that- quite tight at the side of the head. I'd never thought of my ears as a blessing.”

Tim may come out on stage on crutches, having injured his leg “playing football with a load of comedians.” “I felt the need to tell jokes even though I was in agony!” he said. “They asked me if I wanted some spray on it and I said 'no, it smells fine.'”

Tim Vine starts a UK tour in January 2010. For more information visit www.timvine.com.

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