Allan Carr


Allan Carr isn't exactly your outdoor, sporty type. In fact the super-camp funnyman says his football manager dad was desperately disappointed when he realised that the young Allan was never likely to become a soccer star. Now, after years as a struggling stand-up comedian, Carr who plays Bournemouth Pavilion tonight, is enjoying huge success with TV shows like the Friday Night Project. What's more he says his father is one of his biggest fans.

"He's very proud. He watches Friday Night Project all the time but I know there was a lot of disappointment when I was growing up. You know, looking at the empty trophy cabinet and rolling his eyes. Every FA Cup he used to say It's my dream to see you there' but it wasn't to be.

"He once said to me Football sets you up for life. It gives you a great social network and great friends'.

"Well I think he understands now that I get the same thrill from comedy as he gets from a football match ."

The turnaround came, he says, when he was doing a gig in Manchester and Stuart Pearce and Joey Barton asked his dad to get them tickets.

"I think it was affirmation that I was doing the right thing."

Indeed Carr's success has brought him a lot of unlikely followers.

"I was at the Brit Awards and Noel Gallagher tapped me on the shoulder and told me how much he loved the Friday Night Project. I found that pretty weird, the idea that maybe Noel and Liam are sitting down of an evening and watching me on the telly. People like Ricky Gervais and Lee Evans have also made a point of coming up and telling me how much they enjoy the show. It's so nice."

Carr says his latest live stage tour playing nightly to hundreds and sometimes thousands of fans seems strange after years of playing the comedy circuit as an unknown.

"There's nothing like a little bit of telly to up your profile but I'm a living example of that old cliché, someone who took 10 years to be an overnight success. I've been driving up and down the country for years often playing for just a few quid. Sometimes I was lucky if the fee covered my petrol."

He also worked as a warm-up man for Jonathan Ross.

"That was strange. I'd walk past people like Nicole Kidman or Cameron Diaz in the corridor and then get in my car and drive to Portsmouth or somewhere for £50."

The Friday Night Project changed all that. Suddenly Alan was a guest on the Ross show - "I remember sitting there next to Patsy Kensit and feeling a bit of a fraud."

He soon knew that he'd arrived', however, when invitations started pouring in "It was such a wonderful feeling. I think the reason the show works is that it isn't snide and no one's the victim, it's just good old-fashioned fun. I think telly got a bit nasty a few years ago and people have got tired of that."

© Jeremy Miles 2021