Gary Delaney talks his Gangster’s Paradise Tour

Master of the one-liner, Mock the Week regular and husband to fellow stand-up comic Sarah Milican, Gary Delaney is bringing his Gagster’s Paradise show to Sheffield. Benjy Taylor had a quick natter with the Solihull-born funnyman to find out what he’s got in store…

Eyup Gary. How’s the tour treating you?
I’ve been touring since September last year and will be up until Christmas this year. I love it! The crowds who come are there because they like stupid one-liners and we all have a great time.

Beyond a nice bath and an early night, how do you prepare for a tour of this length?
I spend two years writing 4000 jokes, and I will then whittle them down to the best 200 or so. I do about 50 previews to work out how best to arrange the show, which involves lots of recordings of the show and spreadsheets. Then off we go.

At this stage we all know that the show will be highly gag-influenced. Are there any overarching themes we can expect to see in Gagster’s Paradise? Is the show about anything in particularly, or is it just pure gags?
It’s all gags. I think joking and laughing together is incredibly warm, human and to be celebrated. ‘Having a laugh’ is used as a synonym for having a good time, so a linguistic process that shortcuts that process to make people laugh more is a good thing to me. That’s what jokes are, and that’s why they’re great. There are a few visual bits to break up the gags for pacing reasons, but they’re really just three jokes standing on each other’s shoulders, wearing a big coat, and pretending to be a grown-up story.

Do you ever let current events slip into your act?
Not really. I try to avoid topical stuff as you have to drop it as soon as you’ve perfected. Plus comics banging on about politics is a turn-off for most people who just want a laugh, not a lecture.

Go on then… give us a taster, please.
I went to have my tea leaves read. The psychic said, “Do you struggle with your weight?”
I said, ‘How can you tell?’
She said, ‘There’s half a Hobnob in the bottom of your cup.”

Superb. Can we get another?
I bought a paper shredder and it broke the first time I used it, so I rang the company to complain.
They said, “Have you got the receipt?”
I said, “You’ll never guess.”

Final one… please?
So, I recently achieved my dream of having sex with two women. The first was in 1995.

Who makes you laugh the most?
Modern one-liner comics like Antony Jeselnik, Emo Philips and Steven Wright. Old-school gag men like Ken Dodd, Henny Youngman and Max Miller. The Comedians. My wife. (Though not necessarily in that order!).

What scares you the most?
Zombies. I love zombies. I have a zombie room in my house full of zombie film memorabilia and models. Ageing. Scales. Turning into my Dad. Vampires. Social Media. My wife. (Though not necessarily in that order!).

Have you got any plans beyond the tour for 2019?
I’ll start writing the next tours on my day off. Go on holiday at some point. Maybe record a DVD, but that’s still just talks at the moment.

You’re playing The Leadmill on 27 Feb. Do you have any fond memories of Sheffield?
This is the second show at Leadmill, as the first sold out too quickly for some to get tickets. It was a lovely show, and the first time I’d ever done a tour show in December. I feared that Xmas parties would turn up and ruin it, but actually it was just lovely laughing people. Sheffield was where I did the third preview for this tour, which was the one where it clicked and I thought, ‘This is actually going to be a good show’. Up until then it was all just scribbled notes and blind optimism. It was such a relief, so I thank the people of Sheffield for their good taste!

Gary Delaney brings his Gagster’s Paradise tour to the Leadmill on 27 Feb. Tickets or more info available at

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