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Edinburgh Festival 99 Saturday, 28 August, 1999, 17:30 GMT 18:30 UK
Never mind the hecklers
Phill Jupitus says there's nothing quite like doing stand-up
Never Mind the Buzzcocks funnyman Phill Jupitus lets BBC News Online into the secrets of his stand-up act - with some stern words for would-be hecklers.

When asked what his new stand-up show is about, funnyman Phill Jupitus tends to say, "It's about an hour". About an hour for only one week, to be exact.

The veteran of eight Edinburgh summers put his foot down at performing for the festival's full three weeks. "It would drive me nuts!" he tells BBC News Online.

Edinburgh Festival 1999
Jupitus has made a careful study of Fringe fatigue in his fellow stand-ups.

"Catch them that first Saturday, they're still enthusiastic. By week two they're starting to get jaded. By week three they'll kill their own mothers to get home from Edinburgh," he says.

Adrenalin rush

But the seven-night stand shouldn't be seen as the antics of a TV prima donna - Phill Jupitus has put in the hours at the Fringe over the years.

He began performing at the Fringe in an empty converted gym. Now a star attraction, he will this year play to packed houses at the Assembly Rooms - the Fringe's top comedy venue.

The prospect of performing live again is something that truly fires Jupitus with enthusiasm.

"Stand-up, it's the crack of the performing arts. It's not the easy buzz of making an album or the morphine high of being in a Hollywood film. It's the quick fix," he enthuses.

Stories buried deep in the newspapers also get his creative juices flowing.

"That's where the gold dust is," advises Jupitus - who once got a half-hour of laughs out of a story about a woman who sued a zoo whose elephant had thrown a log at her.

The elephant will have to wait to see if it makes it into Jupitus's set again this year.

"I tend to have a buffet of material and select the meat during the night - a sort of moveable feast," he explains.

Life on the waves

Jupitus is also renown for taking on the hecklers - even letting shouts redirect his material - but he's still not 100% in favour of the practice.

Jupitus with Mark Lamarr and Sean Hughes from Never Mind the Buzzcocks
"You don't go to the National Theatre and shout at Sir Ian McKellen. Some people who heckle say 'I thought I'd help you out'. You'd have helped me out by not coming," he advises.

They are wise words from a man with a wealth of showbiz experience. Aside from doing stand-up, Jupitus is also a radio DJ - on the BBC's London station GLR - as well as a quiz show panellist and soon-to-be sitcom star.

But, if pressed, it's the airwaves which now hold the most allure: "I do love radio. But I'm no good at planning ahead, I kind of take what comes along.

"When no work comes along I can just go back to working in an office."

In fact, prior to sharing the Never Mind the Buzzcocks set with his idols like Meatloaf and Roy Wood, Jupitus was a civil servant for five years.

"I can't tell you too much - I had to sign the Official Secrets Act. I'm still bound by it. Swans pairing off and the Official Secrets Act - the only two things which last for life."

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