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Brian Conley: 'It’s just you and me and we’re going to have a laugh'
AFTER 40 years in the industry, you would imagine Brian Conley would be winding down, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The 52-year-old is as hungry as ever to perform on stage.
The Bucks based comedian is set to star in ‘An Evening with Brian Conley’ at the Wycombe Swan on Friday, October 4. The former Oliver and Hairspray star described the evening as a “potpourri of entertainment.”
Conley will be doing his usual cheeky brand of comedy, touching on some of his previous characters and performing a few numbers from his West End experience. He will also be introducing ventriloquist Paul Zurdin during the evening.
“Paul is a real close friend, I’ve known him for years and I invited him along, he’s very good at his job, he’s got something very spooky where he leaves the stage and the puppet starts chatting a way, I find that very surreal.
“It’s just going to be a fun night packed with comedy and I think where we are in the world it’s nice to have a good laugh, Laughter is the greatest medicine unless of course youre a diabetic , then its probably insulin! If someone wants a bit of escapism I’d advise them to come along to the Wycombe Swan.
Asked what the show offers, he said: “An evening with Brian Conley is cheeky without a doubt, it’s not offensive. It’s very much a comedy night, it’s not reflection, it’s not me talking about my career, it’s just you and me and we’re going to have a laugh. It’s as much fun as you can have with your clothes on!”
Conley, who is now entering his 40th year in show business said: “I’m very lucky, I’m doing something I’ve always enjoyed - it’s a vocation, it chose me. I’m terrible, I’ll go on holiday and enter a talent competition. I did once and came third, a little kid beat me doing Frank Spencer!”
‘An Evening with Brian Conley’ offers the chance for Brian to perform at a venue close to home, a rarity for any comedian today.
He said: “It’s the nearest theatre to where I live - it’s only 20 minutes away. I’ve lived here for over 20 years now, I love the area - it’s a wonderful place. It’s really really nice to do a local one. They’re few and far between but when I do them I get really excited about it.”
Performing at The Wycombe Swan is a stark contrast to the previous year for Brian. Playing Fagan in Cameron MackIntosh’s production of Oliver - he was touring for six weeks at a time all over the UK.
“It was really nice for me that this year, I was really able to enjoy the summer and we’ve had such a cracking summer, its great being at home just enjoying being with my family.”
Speaking to Conley you can really feel his passion for live comedy and entertainment, performing live is where he developed his trade. “I’ve always enjoyed it [performing] and enjoyed all the different aspects but without a doubt being live is where it’s at for me. I enjoyed television, but for me ‘live’ is where it’s at!
“Live performances are very special, its one on one, it is something that is happening right there and right now and there’s a lot to be said about that. I love performing, and I always have, it’s in me and I hope people can tell, I really enjoy being out there and enjoy the commitment. You’ve paid good money, you want to have a good time and I’m here to give it to you.”
After a successful TV career including regular performances on Five Alive, Live at the Palladium and The Brian Conley Show, It’s fair to say Brian enjoys the intimacy of live performances.
He said: “At the end of the day, you’re in a lovely theatre and the great thing is, there are no distractions, they’re not at the bar, they’re totally focussed on you. You can really take them to places as a performer and I enjoy that. We talk about all sorts of things, even why it all went wrong in the jungle. I think they want to hear that!
“At the end of the day, I’m an entertainer, not bleeding Bear Grylls!”
After a hugely successful career, Conley is accustomed to having his usual catchphrases thrown at him and being instantly recognised - not always correctly. “These days everyone thinks I’m Bradley Walsh. I’ll be walking along and people go: “I love you in the chase” It used to be the other way round! But now it’s my turn. I think when we’re put together though, you can see that obviously I’m much better looking than Brad!”
Today though Conley never escapes the catchphrases of characters Dangerous Brian and Nick ‘It’s a puppet’ Frisbee, created on his own Saturday night TV show. Does it annoy him?
“No not at all, I get “It’s a puppet” right from the off. I’m very grateful because not many people have a catchphrase. Was it planned? No, it just happened, but I suppose that’s what catchphrases are! They just happen and it’s the audience that latch on to them.”
Conley will be returning to your TV screens soon though after filming a new game show series for Sky.
He said “That’ll be coming out in autumn or possibly the new year.
“I’m also in pantomime in Southampton this year at the Mayflower Theatre doing Robinson Crusoe and the Caribbean Pirates. We done the same show last year at the Birmingham Hippodrome and in six weeks 120,000 people came to see the show it’s big big business and I really enjoy it.”
Before that though, be sure to see ‘An Evening with Brian Conley’ at the Wycombe Swan on Friday 4th October. Asked to describe the night in three words, Conley simply says: “A GOOD LAUGH!”
To book your tickets visit: www.wycombeswan.co.uk or call the ticket office on: 01494 512 000. Tickets are available from £19 to £25.
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