InStyle interview: Comedian Dan Clark

InStyle interview: Comedian Dan Clark

David Newby

Dan Clark has that triple threat we at InStyle like in our men – he’s fit, he’s funny and he’s totally likeable. If that’s enticed you, then you can also check him out on TV from next week starring in Series 3 of cult-favourite sitcom How Not To Live Your Life (which he also wrote) and he’s in InStyle’s A Comical Christmas feature (in the December issue, on sale now).

We nabbed him for a chat about dysfunctional bachelors, how he “desexed” Noel Fielding from the Mighty Boosh and his interesting new spin on Pretty Woman…

Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into comedy…

When I was 19 I wrote a play with a friend of mine and we took it to the Edinburgh festival - I caught the comedy bug there. I did sketch comedy for about six years, then stand up, and along the way was auditioning for stuff and writing scripts. In fact that’s what kind of got me How Not To Live Your Life commissioned. I’d made some short videos that the BBC really enjoyed (Dan Clark’s Guide to Dating and Dan Clark’s Guide to Working) and they got lots of hits on YouTube. Both were things you shouldn’t do on a date; or things you shouldn’t do at work, the excuses for being late...

Can you explain How Not to Live Your Life for those readers who haven’t seen it?

It’s about a comedy series about a guy called Don Danbury who is loosely in his late 20s/early 30s who still refuses to grow up.

A common “ailment”, we ladies find.

I didn’t realise quite how much he reflected a lot of people. I knew I was writing a character who’s a bit of a rogue - although he’s grown more loveable . But it surprises me how often people come up to me and say “Don really reminds me of a good friend of mine”. There are clearly a lot of 30 year old men who act like 20 year olds, still wear converse, play computer games and go out drinking.

Indeed there are. Despite trying to be a lothario, Don doesn’t seem to have a lot of luck with the ladies - any chance he’ll get some love action this series?

No - he hasn’t learnt his lesson. One of my favourite storylines is when he decides to go out with a homeless girl in a bid to show he’s really noble and doesn’t judge a book by its cover. But she ends up dumping him. We play it out like it’s a homage to Pretty Woman. He thinks he’s the Richard Gere character so he takes her out shopping. Only unlike Pretty Woman Don takes her to a charity shop to buy clothes. We worked really hard on trying to make it quite a sweet story though. (check out this trailer to see some of Don’s disastrous dates)

And we hear you’ve got Noel Fielding from the Mighty Boosh making a cameo?

He’s in the first episode of the new series. Noel’s an old friend of mine and he was up for doing something in the show for a laugh. There’s a part in episode one where Don thinks Noel’s character is a corporate headhunter, so we dressed Noel in a sharp suit and braces and slicked back hair.

I’ve seen the photo – I’m not sure it’s the most flattering of looks for him…

Obviously he’s a very fanciable male and he has a huge fanbase of young women who fancy him. And you realise how much of what makes him sexy is his whole look. He actually has quite an odd face and with a really cool haircut he looks great. But with slicked back hair and a normal shirt it’s amazing how it de-sexes him!

There’s a rumour that comedians are not particularly jolly in real life – do you agree or disagree?

It’s based on some truth definitely. When I first started doing standup, I realised that hanging around other standup comedians was one of the most depressing things you could do. They’re all people who are so worried about their ability to be funny. And they spend a lot of time on writing or on tour. So when you meet another person doing a similar thing to you, you blurt out your innermost thoughts about your insecurities like “yeah, I did this show and they weren’t really laughing and I wasn’t sure why”. If anyone not in comedy overheard those conversations they’d be thinking: “these people are so neurotic”.

What’s next for you?

I’m about to co-write an American pilot of How Not to Live Your Life. We sold the format to NBC so I’ll be working on the script in the New Year. Then there’s another script I’m writing that’s in development stage with the BBC. And I’m doing a stand up tour next year in March and April.

How Not to Live Your Life starts this Monday 8th November with a double bill from 10.30pm, BBC3. For news and updates

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By Danielle Hine