Comedian Milton Jones discusses one liners vs longer routines
The Mock the Week regular is 'drawn to brevity'
There’s clearly a genuine art to getting a set-up and punchline out the way in the shortest time possible. Not for those gagsmiths the long, shaggy tales which go one way then the other, stopping off for a diversion or two and finally, hopefully, landing on a comedy climax. And it seems that those purveyors of quickfire gags actually like to hear that genre themselves. Stewart Francis has made it known that storytelling and autobiographical modes of comedy are quite probably a little bit egotistical and he’d much rather hear (or tell) a finely crafted joke before moving onto the next one. And that approach has done his sales figures little harm.
Milton Jones is another case in point. ‘I’m drawn to brevity,’ he notes briefly. ‘But there are lots of good comics out there with different styles. Though I probably wouldn’t go and see comedy on a night off. Personally, I am always looking for the next joke. We are all looking for the right words at the right time. Times change so you have to keep writing.’
The times may be changing but it’s all for the better as far as Jones is concerned. Having made a strong impression on the Edinburgh Fringe in the 90s winning the Best Newcomer Award in 1996 and being nominated for the Perrier a year later, his career in radio took off before he was tempted back into performing and is now playing to huge crowds across the land. His subtle musings often seemed a little at odds with the Mock the Week big boys club, but he reckons its bearpit days may have gone. ‘I don’t think it’s as combative as it was. It is always seven people trying to fit through a door for two, but that gives it some of its edge. It suits some comics more than others.’
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