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Comedy makes you feel accepted; Comedy.

SO IS life as funny offstage as on for a comedian? So many tales of comics like Tony Hancock, Benny Hill and Frankie Howerd living lives of angst make you wonder.

Chester-born comic Jeff Green is blunt when I ask him. "It's hilarious" he tells me.

Green is currently touring the country with his new show Personal which as the title suggests concentrates on his personal life as a comic.

"I didn't want to go back doing relationships" - he has done shows and written books on the subject - "and I realised there was some pretty good comedy among my old jobs."

Before going on the comedy road he had done quite a few, including working at BOC.

But even at 15 he was working as a glass collector in a club run by his brother.

Was it a proper job at that age?

"I was working until 2am," he says. "Asking if that glass was dead the one on your head!"

It was a theme club, he suggests.

"The theme was fighting."

He is for the first time appearing at The Brindley in Runcorn, having discovered that his regular Liverpool spot the Neptune Theatre was closed at the moment.

As for the Gateway in his home town, he had some good dates but worried. "Playing your home town is more pressure than it is worth.

You have to do a different show, utterly. "

His new show, first seen at the Edinburgh Festival this year, is based on his life as a comedian, he says. "It's not just navel gazing, it's not dull. I'm a comedian so there are jokes in there. I always like to do jokes but these have some substance in them."

It's a change from the usual observational comedy - "aren't umbrellas funny?" - and it is nice to do something different, he says.

For example, he had three different surnames at school as his parents remarried three times.

He was born Jeff Nielson but followed that up with two more before becoming - professional - Green. "The kids at school thought I was in a witness protection scheme."

He has lived with his partner Fiona for the last six years but suggests that as a single man, the comic's life might be a little different. "Take the American comic Jackie Mason - that's all he does. He is 70-ish and I don't even know if he has a house. But luckily for us he is a brilliant comedian."

Comedy is not about making people laugh and feeling better, he claims. "It's about making me feel better, that's why we tell jokes. It makes you feel popular, included and accepted."

Of course there have been times when it does not work out too well.

He went to Germany where he had to entertain an audience who did not understand English. Not surprisingly, it all fell rather flat - "I don't know if I died but I could smell embalming fluid."

There were problems too in his early days in Edinburgh doing a two man show with Lee Evans.

"The tickets cost pounds 4 and no one came," he says.

"When you are more successful there are just two of you and when you are really successful, you are on your own."

So at The Brindley it will be just Green and no-one else.

He has had guest stars before but once went to see such a show himself. "The lights went down, everyone got excited and then we were asked to welcome someone we had never heard of. Well, I didn't want to disappoint my audience so I am obliged to do two 45 minutes sets myself which is about the minimum."

Green has also got a new book out next month, The A-Z of Having a Baby. It is the third in a series of A-Z books by him with subjects including Living Together and Being Single.

He doesn't do too much about babies in his stage act - "a lot of my audience are not even of child rearing age" - and experience has taught him how to structure his act.

"Only mention one girl friend and one foreign holiday," he says.

He does not want his audience to feel inferior.

"But in no way will they feel that way in this show as I talk about the bailiffs coming round."

It seems Green had forgotten to pay a parking fine and a burly chap arrived on his doorstep. "I didn't know if he was that big to carry stuff or to thump me."

Green paid up.

Jeff Green is at the Brindley, Runcorn on November 2 5.

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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 27, 2006
Words:770
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