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My school days were the happiest days of my life; which should give you some indication of the misery I've endured over the past twenty five years.
It was a bizarre existence I led in my early twenties that cliche of the comedian who goes out and entertains a roomful of people and then goes home to a lonely bedsit was unbelievably poignant for me because that was exactly what I was doing. I had periods of real loneliness.
I read every book about Buster Keaton and Chaplin to see how they worked it's all about dedication, tunnel vision, pursuit of perfection, getting the gag right.
When things are difficult, awful, stressful, the thing that always gets you through is a sense of humour. I don't mean well, maybe I do laugh at the hangman as he puts the noose around your neck. But an eye, an ear, for the ridiculous, the absurd in life, can get you through a lot.
Maybe there's a perception of me as grumpy old bugger who suffers from depression. It's a total misconception. I don't think of myself as any grumpier than the next person. I'm not even grumpy first thing in the morning.
I'm always amazed to hear of air crash victims so badly mutilated that they have to be identified by their dental records. What I can't understand is, if they don't know who you are, how do they know who your dentist is?
In a psychiatric hospital, a lot of people believe that people on TV are talking to them directly through the screen. I'm with about 500 of these people, and I'm on TV every Friday night. As I was queuing up for breakfast one morning, one guy nearly jumped out of his skin. My first thought was to go 'Woooo!'
On my first day in New York a guy asked me if I knew where Central Park was. When I told him I didn't he said, 'Do you mind if I mug you here?'.
I looked at longevity in show business when I was about 13, and the people who seemed to have longevity were the ones who'd spent quite a bit of time learning about what they were doing before they made it.
In 1987, I was in Edinburgh doing my first one man show. I took part in a kickabout with some fellow comedians and tripped over my trousers and heard this cracking sound in my leg. A couple of days later I went into a coma and was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism.
In 1986, I was attacked in the street as I helped Neil Mullarkey from the Comedy Store Players to put up posters. We were in the wrong place at the wrong time midnight and we were English. I got kicked in the head.
At one point in the mid Eighties I shared a promoter with the Smiths. One night, we were sitting backstage when Morrissey burst in, utterly distraught, sobbing his heart out. Turns out someone had thrown a sausage at him on stage during 'Meat Is Murder.'
Beginning with a trip out to Ellis Island, I saw for myself where thousands of European immigrants took their first steps onto American soil, bringing with them nothing but their ambition: people such as Erich von Stroheim and Adolph Zukor.
I have never sold my story, done 'Hello!' magazine, any of that stuff. I'm not guilty of exploiting my private life for cash and then saying, 'Oh, I don't want to talk about my private life.' I've never crossed that line.
There's something magical about film, it's the ultimate for me, because it's kind of permanent inasmuch as anything is. When I went to see Buster Keaton when I was about 14 and I came out of the cinema having really laughed at this film which had been made 50 years before, I thought: That's immortality. It's fantastic.
I was flying to the Maldives in 2000 when the plane went through turbulence after that, I didn't fly for four years. Then a job came up in India, so I did a simulator flight and learnt about what goes on in the cockpit. I'm fine now.
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