Jack Dee in Eastbourne: a little bit of absence from your family is actually a good thing

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JACK DEE has been away from stand-up for six years, so why is he eager to return to touring now.

Tonight, the popular comedian will be appearing at Eastbourne’s Congress Theatre as part of his Jack Dee Live 2012 tour.

“I want to spend less time with my family,” he says in that familiar, deadpan tone.

“I think that’s a very good reason for touring. Everyone with children will surely agree with that.

“I think a little bit of absence from your family is actually a good thing.

“There are far too many diligent parents out there overdoing it and putting us to shame.”

Yes Jack is back and he couldn’t be happier about it. After spending the last six years making his marvellously acerbic BBC sitcom, Lead Balloon, and writing his hilarious memoirs, Thanks for Nothing, the comedian is returning to his first love: stand-up.

Jack, who is also the wonderfully poker-faced host of Radio 4’s legendary ‘antidote to panel games’ - I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue - has spent the past year warming up for his live act.

And the good news is, the show is in good shape.

A star for the last two years, Jack is one of the finest stand-ups in the country.

A hugely charismatic presence, his trademark is turning misery into mirth.

When Jack is agonising over the slightest niggle, no other stand-up can touch him.

As he moans about day-to-day annoyances that plague us all, he is a dazzlingly funny performer.

So what subject will he be covering in his new show?

He will mainly focus on ‘observations about home life and living with teenagers.

He says, “My Take on it is that adolescence should really be regarded as a form of mental illness.

Once you’ve accepted that, everything makes more sense.

“It’s very alrming when adolescence happens to your children. Most parents don’t believe it will happen to them.

“But overnight you lose the person you have been living with for 10 years and someone else entirely emerges.

“Suddenly you’re living with someone who has metamorphosed into a lunatic.”

So how does Jack deal with that - by going on tour and making jokes about it.

“But that’s no help to people who aren’t stand-ups. That’s the only response I know to most things in life.

“Of course anything like that forces you to look at yourself, so other strands from your life, such as religion and drinking, come into the show.”

Jack says his act should not be taken too seriously.

“There is no sense of mission or self-analysis. It’s simply funny stuff that has occurred to me. I have never been a comedian who writes to a theme.

“That’s why I never give my tours a title - I find it impossible to paint myself into that corner. My comedy is more visceral and less prescribed than that. The only thing that keeps recurring is that the show is a rolling review of my life.”

Another constant in Jack’s comedy has been his grumpy persona, a fact that has led his friend and fellow comedian Jeremy Hardy to dub him ‘A little ray of sleet.”

But his curmudgeonly image only serves to enhance his material. Jack, the proud father of four children, admits he was initially nervous about his return to stand-up.

But the moment he stepped onstage again his love for the genre was rekindled.