Gary Delaney tells us what it takes to be a one-liner king
'The first joke is on the bedside table and the second joke is on the toilet, and so on'
While in front of a comedy crowd that could turn at any given minute, a stand-up needs to rely on a solid memory to make sure there are no juicy lulls for a heckler to bite into. When that comedian is a one-line/punchline gagmeister, it’s even more crucial for them to be able to rattle off their material.
Gary Delaney has been telling jokes for over a decade and has created a strategy to make sure that he is never blocked. ‘The Greeks and the Romans didn’t have books to write things down in, so they created memory palaces, where you take the things you need to remember and put them in a place that you know. I’ve remembered my show as dotted around my house, so I get up and the first joke is on the bedside table and the second joke is on the toilet, and so on. I’ve had to remember a picture of my house with all my jokes in it. I just need to make sure I don’t move house or have a fire.’
Delaney is currently on the very final leg of touring his 2010 show, Purist, and will be back with a whole new set of gags for a full Edinburgh Fringe run in August. Aligning himself with several of his ilk, this quickfire style is mainly the kind of comedy he most likes to watch.
‘I like and love gag men, people like Stewart Francis, Milton Jones, Mitch Hedberg, Emo Philips, all the gaggy pack. But that’s not to say that I don’t love a really good storyteller, but you have to be really good at it. The likes of Kitson and Bill Cosby are great at that but I know it’s a skill I don’t have; quite frankly, you just do what you’re good at. Sometimes I’ve tried to do story bits, but the audience just look at me as if to say, “what are you doing?”’
The Stand, Edinburgh, Wed 8 May.