Interview: Greg Davies – 'The more I humiliate myself in real life, the more accurate I can make Dan'

The 6 ft 8 in comedian returns with a second season of sitcom Man Down for Channel 4

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Interview Greg Davies: 'The more I humiliate myself in real life, the more accurate I can make Dan'

©Avalon Television & Channel 4

Greg Davies is back with a new series of his mid­life crisis sitcom Man Down on Channel 4, ahead of hosting Dave's quirky challenge show Taskmaster with Alex Horne. Shooting a third series of BBC Three's Cuckoo later this year with Twilight star Taylor Lautner, The Inbetweeners' temperamental head of sixth form Mr Gilbert reveals how he's itching to get back to live comedy.

Obviously, Dan in Man Down is a heightened version of you …

Yes, very heightened …

But when a personal trainer describes him as 'too far gone', does a part of you hope the audience doesn't laugh too hard?

Well, I suppose it's one of my real-life hang-ups that I'm incapable of getting rid of my middle-aged belly. But it's not going to upset me. I came into comedy to make people laugh. If the fact that I can't stop eating Hobnobs in any way helps, I'm happy to celebrate that.

Dan humiliates himself in a nightclub in the first episode. When was the last time you threw some shapes?

Four years ago, freaking a lot of trendy kids out when they saw Mr Gilbert dancing to The Smiths. There were no winners that night.

Still, good preparation …

God yeah. The more I humiliate myself in real life, the more accurate I can make Dan.

It's been a while since you performed stand-up. Are you keen to get back on stage?

Yes, I can't wait. Man Down's my absolute priority. If they give me another series, I'll throw everything into it because I really like the characters. But after that, I'll certainly be getting back on stage because I haven't done a proper gig for two years. Which is ridiculous for someone who loves it so much. As soon as I get the chance, I'll be back spouting nonsense on the microphone.

As a drama student, you were caught impersonating Rik Mayall in Marks & Spencer by the man himself. Did you remind him of that on set?

Yeah, and he loved it. For some reason, he didn't remember an incident that was so important to me as a 19 ­year ­old. But he loved that he'd been so dismissive. He whooped with joy knowing I'd embarrassed myself in front of him.

Was it odd having so many people ask your opinion of him just after he died?

I knew him for a comparatively short time, so it's difficult. I don't want to suggest that Rik and I went on holiday together. But considering he's one of my comedy heroes, there was a very easy and quick rapport. I found him very personable and great fun straight away. He was, as everybody will tell you, very much Rik Mayall all the time. We had so many crazy things planned for series two. I spoke to him in the build-up and he was really excited, so it's a shame.

Marek Larwood has a cameo in the new series. Are the pair of you and Steve Hall ever likely to reunite as We Are Klang!?

There are dignity issues now. We're of a certain age. I don't think we'd want to revive Klang! but I hope we do something else in the future.

Finally, you used to be Milton Jones' son's drama teacher. Was that intimidating?

Well, it was irritating for Milton. Because unbelievably, I sought his reassurance about my stand-up during a parent's evening. He probably wanted to talk exclusively about his son. But I remember very clearly grilling him about comedy and asking his advice. Whenever I've seen him since he's always been friendly, so I guess he's forgiven me.

Man Down series two premieres on Channel 4, Mon 1 Jun.

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