Interview: Milton Jones and the Temple of Daft
‘I prefer short things’
This article is from 2015.
Colourfully-garbed pun merchant Milton Jones takes time out to tell us what’s always on the lookout.
When did you realise that the punning style of comedy was the route you would take? Did storytelling not appeal?
I like to think I do more than just puns but, since you ask, I think I was so scared when I started doing stand-up that I needed to get to the joke as quickly as possible. So I ended up with lots short gags. Then you get known for it. I'm not a natural storyteller. I prefer short things.
Can you tell us your all-time favourite pun?
Someone mentioned the other day about a butcher’s shop called ‘Halal, is it meat you're looking for?'. Probably not true.
Do you have a specific method of working ie. do you sit down at the start of the day and announce: ‘I’m going to write four puns today’? Or do you trust that they’ll pop into your head when you’re shopping / jogging / showering et al?
I’m always on the lookout. Hmmm … 'always on the lookout'. What’s always on the lookout? A lookout's hat! That’s rubbish, but you'll go through ten that don't work before you get one that does.
What’s the weirdest scenario you’ve been in when you’ve come up with a great joke / pun?
I once agreed with myself that I could go to the cinema as long as I wrote a joke about it. That was the origin of this: ‘my grandparents names are Pearl and Dean, but we just know them as gran and gran pa-pa-pa-pa etc.’
If you go two days without coming up with a workable pun, do you start to get the shakes?
No. You might just be doing the early spade work for unearthing many more. And as I say there are other types of jokes.
Do you think that punning is a bloke’s game? There seems to be a distinct shortage of female comics doing a full hour of punning stand-up at the Fringe. Is punning really such a wildly macho pursuit?
Do you make the kind of comedy that you like to see? Or would a night at a gig full of puns be some weird form of torture?
You have to find what you do funny or you would have no compass by which to steer your writing. But over the course of a longer show a punster must vary the angle of attack!
Milton Jones and the Temple of Daft, Assembly Hall, 623 3030, 7–21 Aug (not 10, 17), 7.30pm, £18.50.