Tim Vine is a rather classic kind of comedian. He does not deal in rambling stories, politics or sharp observations about the world around him. What Tim does is tell jokes. His act is a mixture of ingenious wordplay, silly props and bizarre musical numbers, wrapped together with a wonderfully retro end of the pier feel. For Tim Vine, comedy is still a variety show for all the family.
On Monday, Tim’s new DVD Tim Timinee Tim Timinee Tim Tim To You hits shops and it’s typically zany. The DVD is a joyous hour of comedy that just might help Christmas go by without familial squabbles and awkward conversations about Brexit.
Ahead of the release, I got chance to chat to Tim Vine about his comedy style and why we don’t see him on very many TV shows.
2016 has been a pretty depressing year. Do people need a laugh?
Yes they do need a laugh. Laughing may actually be the answer to everything. Trump is funny in a way… and in a way not.
I really enjoyed this show. It’s heartening to see that there’s still room for straightforward silliness in comedy, which I always enjoy. There are few things more beautiful than a great pun! What draws you to this type of comedy? Did you ever consider trying something like observational comedy or political satire?
I have tried longer stories, but they always end up getting shortened because I take out the bits that aren’t needed. I also love silly comedy because it reminds me of being young. Children love silliness. It’s not complicated. The other thing is, I don’t understand most politics.
This show has a great title. Tell me how that came about.
The comedian James Acaster suggested it when we were in Melbourne, Australia for the comedy festival. I was being hurried by my promoter for a show title for the poster. My choices like ‘Punarama’ weren’t quite right. James said ‘Tim Timinee Tim Timinee Tim Tim to You’ and we all laughed. That was the choice.
Would you say this show is a good entry point for people who have never seen a Tim Vine show before?
Yes, why not! It may also be a good exit point for others. It’s more like a comedy revolving door than a show.
A lot of one-liner comedians tend to use Twitter as a sort of creative sandbox. How has social media changed this particular brand of comedy?
Well, I make a few silly comments on Twitter, but if I think of a very funny joke I save it for my live shows. The written down joke is rarely as funny as the spoken one.
You haven’t done as many panel shows as some comics. Is this a conscious choice?
A bit. I’m not very good at competitive comedy. If I’m on something with a lot of other comics going for the same gaps as me, I sometimes get a bit shy and quiet. Shy and quiet doesn’t work on a panel game. I am more in my comfort zone when I know I’m the funny one.
You used to hold the record for the most jokes in an hour, until it was broken in 2014. What was it like to hold the record and do you fancy another crack at it?
I don’t think I’ll try again. I have one certificate. If I did it again, I’d have two certificates. There’s not much difference. A difference of one certificate.
A lot of people know you for the brilliant Not Going Out, which is back on screens next year. You returned for the wedding episode after being away for a while. Can we expect to see you in the new series?
No, I won’t be back on Not Going Out, although I was very proud to have been part of something that I think is the funniest studio sitcom in the last ten years.
I am biased, but really I think Lee Mack deserves more credit for the work and writing he does on that. I’m looking forward to the new series very much.
Seeing as this is a film website, I should probably ask about movies. Did you enjoy comedy films as a kid? Which ones inspired you?
I love Top Secret, which is Val Kilmer’s greatest piece of work by a country mile. That is my favourite comedy film. It’s even better than Airplane in my eyes and there is no higher praise I can give it than that.
Who do you think are the best comic actors working in movies today? Which films have you enjoyed recently?
Ben Stiller and um… Norman Wisdom. I don’t know really. I need more time to think about that and I only have two minutes remaining on this library computer.
And finally, this DVD is out just in time for Christmas. What’s your best Christmas cracker joke?
I have a fear of enclosed grottos. I’ve got santa claustrophobia.