COMEDY With James Rampton
Saturday 15 February 1997
When Jack Dee was wearing short trousers rather than snappy suits, Norman Lovett was out on the comedy circuit patenting the art of the deadpan. Dee even calls Lovett "one of my favourite comedians". Now 50, Lovett is slightly taken aback that the style he pioneered has become trendy. "It has taken off," he affirms. "Jack's got that sneery attitude - Paul Merton, too. Perhaps a lot of people are really like that, and what we say on stage is what they'd like to say." He admits that the biggest influence on his act is his Italian mother: "She's a moaner. She helped me in that way. Then there is the Essex effect. I went to a secondary modern in Clacton where that sort of attitude prevailed. I picked it up and used it as a weapon on stage. I was also influenced by Max Wall. I saw this bloke who coughed and sniffed and paused and thought, 'I like that'. You can relax watching it; you're not too taxed."
Lovett is perhaps still best known for playing Holly, the computer in early series of the culty BBC sci-fi sitcom, Red Dwarf. He is returning to the role in the current series after an eight-year break, though he has been regularly attending "Dwarfy" conventions in the meantime. "You get the odd anorak, but most are very nice, respectful people who just love sci-fi," he observes. "At a Cult TV convention in Great Yarmouth, girls were screaming at me and holding up bits of paper saying, 'We love you, Norman'. I could be earning money going to these conventions for the rest of my life, so I won't knock them."
All this may have helped him to loosen up in his act: "I walk around the stage and I'm smiling as well now. I'm even talking about getting a clip-on microphone so I can move my arms around - whatever next? But I'll never be super-duper energetic like Ben Elton. People would say, 'what tablets is he taking?'".
EYE ON THE NEW
Dylan Moran, the twinkly Irish stand-up has not been idle since winning the Perrier Award last summer. He has undertaken a sell-out tour of Ireland, made a comedy special to go out on the opening night of Channel 5 and has had a regular column in the Irish Times. Catch "Dylan Moran is Indisposed" before he gets any huger.
Neptune Theatre, Liverpool (0151 709 7844) tonight; Assembly Rooms, Derby (01332 255 800) tomorrow; Olympia, Dublin (00353 1 677 7744) Tue, Wed; Arts Centre, Norwich (01603 660352) Thur; Old Town Hall Arts Centre, Hemel Hempstead (01442 242 827)
Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts
Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination
I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title
Life & Style blogs
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
London bus driver allegedly kicks gay couple off for kissing
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
- 1 Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies after injuring spine doing somersault celebration
- 2 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 3 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming that the street artist's identity has been revealed
- 4 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 5 Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...
£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...
£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...