My Comedy Hero: Gary Little on Chic Murray and Billy Connolly
Glasgow stand-up picks two Scottish legends as his comic icons
Chic Murray is one of my heroes of the comedy world. His surreal take on comedy was years ahead of anyone on the stand-up scene. He was voted 38th in the Comedians' Comedian poll in 2004, which was won by Peter Cook, but the sad thing is that I don't think enough people know the true genius he was.
Comedy can be of its time, but listening to his Long Nose Story today, it still sounds fresh and original. Today we have great one-line acts like Gary Delaney, Stewart Francis and Tim Vine, but Chic with his delivery and timing would definitely hold his own. Some of his one liners were just brilliant, and daft: 'my parents never understood me … they were Japanese'; 'I met this cowboy with a brown paper hat, paper waistcoat and paper trousers. He was wanted for rustling.'
I think people would be surprised at how many of Chic's jokes have now crept into use, or been adapted by more famous comics. The big disappointment for me is that there isn't a lot of footage of Chic live. There is some, but for someone who performed as long as he did, it's not enough.
Billy Connolly is another hero. It's been all said before about Billy, but for me growing up, hearing this guy that just sounded like people I knew, telling stories about his pals and parties and other normal stuff: that was a first in the world of comedy. It showed me that you didn't have to be able to tell a joke to make you funny: just getting up there and talking about things from your own life can get a laugh. I'm still getting up and trying.
Gary Little: A Little Bit of Personal is on tour until Thursday 8 December.