COMEDY / Green giant: Jeff Green makes adult jokes about male inadequacy, but his good looks have brought him respectability. He charmed James Rampton

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The Independent Culture
Billy Connolly came to see Jeff Green's Perrier-nominated show at Edinburgh. 'It was like Marlon Brando coming to a school play,' Green laughs. 'I'm glad I didn't know, or I would have gone to pieces. All the people around him were nervously waiting to see when he laughed. But he came up to me afterwards and said, 'that was good. It was non-macho, you were just having a gas.' That was a real honour for me - I've followed him since Parkinson. It was worth more to me than the Perrier nomination.'

The Big Yin is not the only one to have been taken by Green's affable act, which focuses on the pleasures and pains of growing up. The Scotsman called him 'very sweet', and William Cook, in his book Ha- Bloody-Ha, describes Green as 'blessed with the instinctive bonhomie and pin-up good looks of those boy-next-door teenyboppers that used to fill the pages of Jackie and Blue Jeans.'

'I get a lot of that 'charming, twinkly bloke-next-door' stuff,' says Green, 30, in between naps in Edinburgh. 'Do the critics pollenate each other? This year I'm getting more 'devils' in the reviews. I had one 'debauched cherub' - which I didn't want my mother to see.'

His mother did, however, see his show in Edinburgh - for the first time. 'I said to her, 'why do you want to come? You don't go and sit in the back of my brother's cab and watch him work.' A lot of comedians' parents have never been to the shows. Jo Brand's dad has never been, and nor has Jack Dee's family. If you're talking about sex, you don't really want your mum to hear you.'

She must have had to block her ears quite a bit, because much of her son's act is about sex - or at least his problems with it. 'I do talk about male inadequacy,' he says. 'The comedy's about me being vulnerable. If you're completely happy, nothing would be funny. Comedy comes from not feeling quite right.'

There may be something of a backlash at the moment against comedians like Green: white, thirtysomething men with mikes, incapable of doing kinky things with chainsaws. But Green certainly deserved the Perrier nomination - and the consequent raised profile. He still claims, though, that his principal reaction to the news was one of relief. 'I thought, 'thank God I don't have to go through that mangle again'.'

In the next month, the Chester-born comedian presents a youth travel show, The Big Trip on BBC2, before setting off on a 52-date tour as support to Jo Brand. 'It's one of those ones where you have to look after yourself and get lots of early nights.' So he can keep that boy-next-door twinkle intact.

Jeff Green is appearing at the Riverside Studios, London, W6 (081-741 2255) on 23 & 24 Sep. He supports Jo Brand on a national tour beginning on 30 Sept; 'The Big Trip' BBC2 from 21 Sept

(Photograph omitted)