Jack Dee in 2014
|Birth name||James Andrew Innes Dee|
29 September 1961 |
Bromley, Kent, England
|Medium||Stand-up, television, radio|
|Genres||Deadpan, Observational comedy|
|Subject(s)||Everyday life, Family, Marriage, Human interaction, Current events|
|Spouse||Susan Jane Hetherington (m. 1989â€“present)|
|Notable works and roles||The Jack Dee Show (1992â€“94)
Just for Laughs (1992)
Jack Dee: Live at the Apollo (2004â€“06)
Lead Balloon (2006â€“2011)
Don’t Sit in the Front Row (2012â€“2013)
If I'm pushed, I'd also have to admit I don't like people with allergies. They just annoy me. There seems to be something far too self-centred about it. 'No thanks, I'm allergic.' Why not just say 'No thanks'? I wasn't asking for your medical history, I was just passing around the nuts. Trying to be friendly, that's all.
I think it is more a cautiousness that protects me from enthusiasm about things. I tend not to get excited. People perceive it as a scowl, which is fair enough.
But I like going to church. If you've been brought up in the Church of England, it feels like visiting an elderly relative. And I think it's important that part of the kids' education is knowing about the Bible.
And people are intrigued if I really am as grumpy in real life. People feel a bit let down if I'm laughing or smiling.
I had a longing for ritual, something I could cling to, a routine to make me feel well and contented. I hoped that reading Bible commentaries and theological critiques would nudge me closer to some kind of absolute that I could hold up as a torch to light my way.
I was so keen to become a comedian that actually doing the comedy itself almost came second.
I tried to be as thorough as I can, but there is a responsibility that we all have, especially with something like AA which is dependant on anonymity. Once you start banging on about it the whole time, you are potentially damaging the whole concept of it.
The jokes are great but what really matters for a comedian is his performance, his whole attitude, and the laughs that he gets between the jokes rather than on top of the jokes.
The good thing about 'Have I Got News For You' is it's a compact show but it still gives everyone space to breathe, and everyone always gets a chance to say something if they want to. It's a very difficult show to dominate, and guests who come on and dominate always fall foul.
I really like rustic mediterranean cooking. And I like trying out curry takeaways.
I was on various anti-depressants, but not for long – I didn't function very well on them. I felt sort of flattened out.
Mmmm… the comedy that matters is the comedy you pull out of thin air. It's a bit like when something funny has happened and you try to explain it to someone else and end up saying, 'You had to be there.'
One Saturday in 1984, I walked into my first AA meeting. I went regularly for six years and only stopped when I came to realize my underlying problem was not genuine alcoholism, but depression.
There were a few teachers who just did not like me because of my face. Once, I was told to stand in the corner until I cheered up. The attitude was, 'Oh, for God's sake, what's the matter with him?' But it's just a natural expression.
I don't think anyone's particularly conscious of thinking suits are the thing, but when you see a comedian on stage in jeans and a t-shirt it doesn't matter how good they are – it always looks like amateur hour when they walk onto the stage.
I'm just part of a tradition of people who aren't pleased. I would never think anyone else who has the same attitude was getting it from me. I'd just think they're… sensible.
It's something that has informed quite a lot of my comedy – that idea of someone who is always trying to get in there with the right crowd, always trying to be a certain type of person and never managing it.
I love mixing with comedians when I'm working with them, but when I'm not I don't feel the need to hang around with them.
My character, Rick Spleen, is a what-if version of me, really, where nothing did quite turn out right and everything else is still around the corner.
In particular, I found praying very disturbing, like swimming with bricks tied to your feet. And yet I was drawn to it constantly.
The book is called 'Thanks for Nothing' and it's really the story of how I got into comedy and traces back every strand in my life that is relevant to that story. It's kind of an autobiography but isn't, as it stops about 25 years ago. It goes right up to the first time I do stand up.
In many ways, not fitting in has been a comedic asset and a comedic resource.
I'm not really part of any group or clique or gang because that's always been my nature.
Whenever you're in any acting role you are mortgaging your own character.
Maybe I fear things going wrong so much that I pre-empt them by not getting excited about them when they appear to be. going well.
The rain forest has Sting. Now Siberia has Jack Dee. Someone had to draw the short straw. In this case it was the rain forest.
Comedy and tragedy are two sides of the same coin. A talent in one area might also lead to a predisposition in the other.
I tend not to trust people who live in very tidy houses. I know that on the surface there is nothing wrong with a person being well-ordered and disciplined. Nothing, except that it leaves the impression of that person having lived in the confines of a stark institution which, although he or she has long since left, remains within.
If I've inadvertently become some sort of role model for failed comedians, then it's really backfired very badly on me.
Possibly I am difficult to live with, but I don't bring my work home much. I'm either busy or not busy. And I don't work from home. I have an office here which has a white wall. No view. I did try working in a room with a view but it was too interesting. Too distracting.
I took religion much too seriously, however, and its overall effect was depressing. I would have really liked to discard it, but somehow I couldn't.
I don't like men who blow-dry their hair. If you are a man and you blow-dry your hair, then I don't like you and that's all there is to it.
I hate people who think it's clever to take drugs… like custom officers.
I have had issues with depression all my life, and it's probably true to say there was a tendency towards it even when I was very young, during my schooldays. There was often – and this is quite common with comics – a sense of not feeling as if I belonged anywhere.