COMEDY

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Jeff Green is at the Gielgud Theatre, London, W1 (0171-494 5536) tomorrow

With the current fashion for character and sketch comedy, Jeff Green, a good old-fashioned straight stand-up, has every right to feel under threat. But, typically, he's quite level-headed about it: "I've never felt in vogue or one of the beautiful people favoured by Time Out and the Edinburgh Festival," he observes. "Anyway, the only backlash against straight stand-up is from the media - it's certainly not from the 3,000 people who pay to see Jack Dee on a Saturday night. They don't even notice trends."

The proof of that is the fact that Green has booked the sizeable Gielgud Theatre in the West End of London for his gig tomorrow, to be recorded for video release and for ITV. Unlike some, Green has no qualms about putting stand-up on the small screen. "It works on telly when they give you a chance, and not just three minutes," he contends. "The reason my last appearance on ITV was enjoyed more than previous ones was because they gave me 40 minutes. With that, you can start at the beginning and end at the end. The audience have time to get on your wavelength. For three minutes, 23 seconds, it's a waste of time. There's no persona there. With that amount of time, once you stop talking you're not funny. All the great comedians are funny between their jokes."

Green's stand-up style could best be described as sweet (and that's not meant derogatively). The adjective "cherubic" has pursued him for much of his career. "I find that flattering," he laughs. "I'm not going to be able to hold onto it for that long. Are they still going to say I'm cherubic when I'm 55 - `Only take photos in soft light'?"

After the stand-up show, Green is developing another idea for ITV. "It's called Jeff Green's Alternative Guide to Human Nature," he reveals. "We're all looking for ways other than stand-up of getting our comedy on telly. This is The Naked Ape with a bobble-hat on, Desmond Morris stuff done in a comedic way. You apply the same rules as you do to stand-up - `What would I find funny?' The fundamental question is not, `What do they want?', but `What do I want?'"

All the while, though, he will be working up new stand-up material. "It's like doing homework," Green reckons. "You don't want to do it, but once you get into it, you think, `Why do I have to have gun put to my head? What could be better than writing jokes for a living?"'

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