No average Joe

Ahead of his new UK comedy tour, Joe Pasquale tells Ting Dalton about a few of his favourite things…

Even though Joe Pasquale is well known for his distinctive voice and hilarious antics, after bursting onto TV screens and coming second in talent show New Faces back in 1987, he’s a man of many talents.

When I catch up with Joe, he’s playing the iconic role of Frank Spencer on a stage version of the classic comedy, Some Mothers Do ’Av ’Em and is really feeling the physical effects of the job.

“It’s killing me to play him,” Joe laughs. “I have to do all the stunts myself and I’m covered in bruises – especially the other day where after I took my trousers off, my legs were back and blue so I had to put make up on them – they were that bad. I’m aching all over and my back and bum are a mess!”

With 30 years behind him since his first TV appearance, he’s not only entertained audiences with his stand-up, he’s performed in various pantomimes and stage shows such as Spamalot and The Producers, and won over the public with his cheeky persona after being crowned King of the Jungle in I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! in 2004, as well as making it to the fifth round of skating show Dancing on Ice in 2013.

“I can’t believe I’ve been at it for this long – I really don’t know what happened. It’s just one of those things that ran away with it,” he says. “I never thought I would be doing all this 30 years later and I only started because I didn’t want a normal job. I do it because I like the diversity of it, and I never get bored. That’s the thing with being in entertainment, nothing lasts for too long and then I can move onto something else. I’m like a travelling salesman!”

But with his new comedy tour, A Few of His Favourite Things, hitting the road straight after the play finishes, Joe admits that stand-up still frightens him.

“It’s the very reason I still do it, because I still get scared,” laughs Joe, who is a qualified pilot. “But then I do that with everything, from parachute jumps and rollercoasters to flying a plane – they all terrify me, but I also love them all at the same time.” 

I never thought I would be doing all this 30 years later and I only started because I didn’t want a normal job. I do it because I like the diversity of it, and I never get bored.

When I ask him what we can expect from his new show he tells me he doesn’t really know until he gets in front of the audience, but does promise there will be a “bit of singing, dancing, magic, mind reading and me mucking about…”

As we continue to chat, I am astounded by just how much the comedian manages to cram into his everyday life – because if he’s not working, he’s giving himself multiple challenges, like running the marathon, or writing a second novel to his debut book Deadknobs and Doomsticks. “I get bored very easily,” he explains. “I have the attention span of a seven-year-old, so I am always wondering what I can do next.

“I’ve just finished doing an Open University degree in geology, but because I had to do a couple of standalone modules that weren’t science-based, I chose to do creative writing and wrote a few short horror stories for course work. Unbeknown to me, an author friend of mine had sent them off to a publisher, who then asked if I could write 13 more! I even did the illustrations because I paint, too. It was just one of those things that wasn’t planned. But that’s mostly what my life is like I don’t really plan anything.”

And while he doesn’t have many concrete projects for after the tour, except starring in panto alongside John Challis in Nottingham later this year, surely he struggles to find the time to fit everything in?

“The hardest thing for me is time management – using my time wisely. And I do feel guilty if I’m not doing anything,” he says. “I got my pilot’s licence in just six months and try to fly as much as possible. One day, I got in the plane and flew to Le Touquet in France, landed the plane and bought myself some omelette and chips on the beach. Afterwards, I flew home and was back in time for The X Factor. I’m so aware of my own mortality and that I’m going to be dead one day. So I just live my life and try to do something whenever I can.”