One half of comedy duo, Punt and Dennis, and one quarter of classic comedy quartet, The Mary Whitehouse Experience, Steve Punt will be performing his new show with Hugh Dennis – Grown men in public. Famous for coining “milky milky” Steve Punt has written for Spitting image, The Rory Bremner show, The Kumars at Number 72, Canned Carrott and more recently, Alistair McGowan and John Culshaw.
So Steve, what’s your new show about?
It’s not really about anything… there is a trend towards comedians setting themselves the ridiculous task of basing their act around just one theme… Stand up requires hard-hitting material, its very gladiatorial. When you finish, you feel like shouting “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!” (I laugh as he puts on his Maximus voice.) The more gentler, visual jokes, you can do in theatre – our show will be a mixture of the two.
How do you write in a duo?
Classic theory is the typer and the pacer. One sits and writes, while the pacer throws ideas out. Ours has never worked like that. It’s usually a huge bag of bits and if you can remember the joke, that tends to be the good one.
Have you ever used messenger to write comedy?
There was talk of having a show scripted on that basis. You’d have a group of actors in a room with webcams and people would message in lines, which would be improvised. But I think that’s too far ahead of its time, I don’t think even BBC 3 would touch that.
How do you pitch your ideas?
With extreme caution. I’ll give you an example. There was going to be an American version of porridge. TV executives noticed the main character was a criminal… what about a wrongly convicted criminal? Well ok… What about a female comedian? Well, it’s not going to be porridge then. Things tend to go through a sausage machine.
Do you still keep in touch with Baddiel and Newman?
Hugh and Dave play football together and Rob is in America promoting his book.
Why have they never repeated The Mary Whitehouse Experience?
That’s a good question. In fact I think there might be DVD release, but why it was never repeated? – I don’t know. Probably a technical dull reason… I’m not sure if Rob would like to see his old hair cut on the TV again.