Life

Interview Part 2: Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown chats public criticism, punching women and family life

By Dom Claeys-Jackson

Perhaps the most offensive, insulting and crude comedian Britain has ever produced, Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown is returning to Manchester in December.

And, in the second of a two-part interview, Brown chats to MM about his past controversies, fame and comedy.

One of Britain’s most controversial comedians on the stage, Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown’s off-stage life has at times mirrored it, with several brushes with the law during his career.

In 2003, Oldham-based Brown was fined by the courts after pleading guilty to assaulting a fan who had publically sworn at him before a show in Blackpool.

Defending that his actions were in protection of his ‘traditional values’ being tested by the man being abusive in front of women and children, Brown was clearly angered when asked about the subject, particularly in regards to its media representation.

“The press deliberately didn’t mention the fact that he jumped on my back, and he hit me on the back of the head, and he could have had a knife,” he said.

“It all happened so fast, it was all over in a minute. But because I am who I am I got charged when it was his fault.

“It wouldn’t have looked very good if Roy Chubby Brown had some drunken, heroin, f****** pisshead down and out, up in court, for a smack on the head.

“So I just kept my mouth shut, and everybody else just presumed; they built up a story about something which wasn’t my fault.”

Further controversy hit Brown in 2009, when he was charged – but later acquitted – of common assault on a woman following an altercation in a Middlesbrough car park.

Again, Brown clearly felt that he, and the case itself, were unfairly represented in the media.

“She slapped me in the face and punched us,” he raged. “When I pushed her away from me, she went the police and said I hit her.

“And then I had to go to court, cost me £8000 for a f****** barrister, to get off from something I didn’t do.”

He continued: “The headline in The Sun was ‘Eighteen and a half stone comic hits seven stone pregnant woman’, which was an absolute heap of b*******.

“Then when I was found not guilty and I got expenses and everything else, there wasn’t even an apology in the papers.”

Such a reputation Brown finds frustrating. He claims that he ‘is two different people’, and that the media fail to grasp that his on-stage and off-stage selves are independent of one another.

It is perhaps his reputation which prevents him from engaging further with the media. Clearly irritated by what he perceives to be a misrepresentation of his character, he is not one to crave the limelight.

Indeed, Brown revealed that he has turned down offers to appear on the likes of Come Dine with Me, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and Big Brother.

“I’m Roy Chubby Brown, I’m not f****** Jordan who is selling herself all the time,” he says.

“I don’t need that, I do have a life, I don’t need to go and kick-start my career because it’s still ongoing.

“And I’m 68 next birthday, so I don’t need to be jumping out of f****** aeroplanes over the jungle!”

It is hard to question Brown’s assertion that he doesn’t need the hassle of further exposure – especially for a man who clearly places so much emphasis on his family.

“I never wanted to be a celebrity,” he says. “I just wanted to earn a living, and I hit upon something that the public wanted to see.

“It was great, because I’ve had three marriages, I’ve got seven kids, and it’s helped me to make sure that they’ve all benefitted from it, so they’ve all got things that they would never have if their dad wasn’t Roy Chubby Brown.

It may be that the amount of love he has for his family is what has caused his refusal to make jokes about children in his act.

Whilst Brown has no qualms with jokes which could be perceived as having racist or sexist undertones, Britain’s most offensive comedian claims he does have a conscience.

Gags about paedophilia have no place for him, and he is especially empathic of the tragic case of Madeline McCann.

“I don’t do that type of stuff because I don’t think it’s funny, because in the back of my mind I think ‘that’s all wrong’, you know,” he says.

“My heart was broken for the girl [McCann]. They’re off limits to me because my mind doesn’t think that way.”

And whilst he has no issue with any comedian who does joke of children, he does find that his style of comedy is viewed disproportionately unfavourably in comparison to his contemporaries.

Indeed, he claims that although his material can be construed as offensive, it should be obvious to critics that he speaks only in jest – as his on-stage character, not his off-stage reality.

“[People] will say ‘when you go and see Jimmy Carr live, he says to a woman in the first row, “is that your son? Is he the one that came out of your c***?”’”

“Now, there’s a way of saying things. The way he says it, it’s offensive, it’s degrading and it’s not funny. I’m a great believer in ‘funny man gets away with funny things’. That’s why I dress up like I do.

“The character I’ve developed can get away with murder and I’m not so sure whether I could do that as Royston Vasey, and not Chubby Brown.”

Jimmy Carr is one of several contemporaries whose style can be viewed as not wholly dissimilar, but Brown believes that such material as his would never be seen again once he is gone.

“I get away with it because I’m steeped in history,” he says. “But a young comedian couldn’t do my stuff now; he’d be frowned upon as old hat.

“I’m old hat but I get away with it because I’ve been old hat for the last thirty years. But a young comedian doing my type of stuff now wouldn’t get away with it.

Whilst Brown lists 84-year-old Ken Dodd and the late Bernard Manning as his ultimate comedy idols, it is a more contemporary style of comedian that he admires most, listing Lee Mack, Tim Vine, Dara O’Briain and Milton Jones amongst his favourite current comics.

And, despite being 68 next February and his assertion of himself as ‘old hat’, Brown has no plans to retire from the comedy circuit any time soon.

“If anything gets me now it will probably be my health,” he said. “I went to Torquay the other day, 6 hours and 10 minutes, and when we got there I could hardly move, I could hardly get out of the car.

“My back were aching and I’m only 67, so I don’t know how the f*** Ken Dodd does it!”

Tickets to Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown’s show at the O2 Apollo on December 14 are available from the O2 Apollo box office (08444 777 677) or online at www.o2apollomanchester.co.uk.

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