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When life throws comedian Alan Carr curveballs, he doesn’t duck. Instead, he turns those tough times into a comedy home run.
The British TV star and veteran standup comedian — he of Chatty Man fame — dug into his personal life and created a critically acclaimed standup comedy show that he has been touring the world with. The Regional Trinket Tour kicks off its final leg Nov. 8 in Victoria at the McPherson Playhouse and then comes to the Vogue in Vancouver on Nov. 9.
“What a year I had. I got married (by Adele, no less). I got divorced. I spent lockdown on a farm. My dog died. So, it’s autobiographical,” Carr said about the material in his show. “There’s just something about being that miserable that you just kind of create the best comedy. And it’s like that old saying, ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.’ I feel it is the most authentic show I’ve done and the funniest.
“It’s weird, I should really be just sobbing onstage.”
Finding light in the dark is part of the job of a comedian, according to Carr. So, when others suggested that his annus horribilis (or, horrible year in Latin) seemed like a worthy reason to shelve a tour, he said no.
“People said to me, ‘Did you think about cancelling the tour?’ No, I actually really enjoyed going on the stages,” said Carr. “I sound like a right w–ker. I don’t go into a trance or anything, but it’s an hour and a half where I can just switch off and not worry about home and make people laugh. And I’m one of those old-fashion entertainers. I like to see people laughing.
“I enjoy being onstage. It’s like my therapy.”
While he was fleshing out bits about divorce lawyers, pre-nups and the process of moving on, Carr was also writing scripts for his new ITVX sitcom, Changing Ends. The six-part series, which ran this summer in Britain, is the fictionalized history of his early teen years as a campy (he says he’s always been campy) gay kid in the mid-1980s in Northampton. It’s got a Wonder Years’ vibe. But, of course, it’s way cheekier.
“It’s all based on truth,” said Carr about the TV show. “I was obsessed with Murder She Wrote, and I read Agatha Christie, and the ice cream van did come. And I was so desperate for ice cream, I couldn’t find my shoes, so I put on my mom’s white high-heeled boots and ran up the street chasing after the ice cream van. These kinds of things just seem to have happened to me as a child. So, it was just flowing off the page.”
With the sitcom, which Carr created and wrote, Carr has further broadened his already deep multihyphenate approach to show business.
“I think the term ‘jack of all trades’ is what you mean,” said Carr, interrupting when the question about his many CV entries is brought up.
Notable entries include The Friday Night Project, Chatty Man, Eight Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, RuPaul’s Drag Race U.K., Interior Design Masters and numerous radio shows. He has also written two autobiographies, Look Who It Is! and Alanatomy.
Carr is excited to start the last leg of his tour in Canada on the West Coast as he will be welcomed not only by fans, but also by family.
“I did this show called DNA Journey (English TV show) and I found out a lot of family are Canadian,” said Carr. “One of them is a Mountie, can you believe that?”
That branch of the family began life in Canada after an Englishman from Kent rounded up his large brood and headed for a boat bound for North America. But this is Carr, so there’s going to be a bit of zhuzh to this immigration story.
“They went to come over on the boat in 1912, well you can imagine where this is going, the boat they put themselves on was the Titanic, but they had so many kids they were turned away and they were told to get the next one,” said Carr. “I found that out on the DNA show.”
With the tour closing on Nov. 21 in San Francisco, the usually busy Carr is going to get ready for Christmas and then “hibernate,” and spend a bit of time being happy about his recent rounds of success.
“You know, it’s funny. I have had things flop in the past, that’s for sure. But I think now I’m just having a bit of a purple patch (English for good run),” said Carr. “I have really hit it lucky with the shows that I have done. Honestly, Changing Ends was so great. And the tour has been amazing. But listen, I’m sure probably in a few years, I’ll be in the jungle in I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here eating cockroaches and cleaning out the dunny.
“So, I’m just enjoying it at the minute.”
Before he could be left alone by this interviewer, the burning question has to be asked: Is he still besties with Adele?
“Oh my God yes, yes, yes!” said Carr his voice going up a note or two. “She hasn’t changed at all. She is still the same. I adore her.”
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