Fix an interview with character comedian Simon Brodkin, and it’s not Simon you get, but Simon’s most famous character, Lee Nelson.
Lee, star of Lee Nelson’s Well Good Show and Lee Nelson’s Well Funny People on BBC Three, guest host of and twice performer on BBC One’s Live at the Apollo, is heading out on the road with a date at Park Community School Theatre in Havant on September 25.
And as Lee is at pains to tell you, he’s a different chap these days.
In the new show Lee’s swapping his shorts and baseball cap clobber for a more mature look and an outlook to match. Now suited and booted, a more thoughtful Lee has begun to engage with life outside his estate and is grappling with bigger issues, offering his unique spin on religion, politics and immigration.
“Yes, I have grown up,” Lee says.
“I thought it was about time. I have just had my 14th child. I don’t know exactly how many different mothers there have been. I think I have got the charts somewhere at home, but I suppose it is about three or four, and it felt time to grow up.”
Partly it has all been prompted by losing his job at Sports Direct. The switch to a suit is because he could no longer get the Sports Direct staff discount.
“I started to get too knowledgeable, and that is not acceptable. We all know the clothes are made in sweatshops. That is not a secret, but I started to know too much. Like I started to know where size nine was kept, and I started helping customers too much – and they don’t like that there.
“So I got my marching orders and so I went to Topman which is where you go when you want to up your game. I had a look at a few suits, and I ran out of the shop with one of them. I don’t know about paying. Maybe let’s just say I owe them one.”
And the chances of them getting it back?
“Topman is now on my list of companies who I am indebted to and am grateful for, and I am giving them a free plug now. When they see Topman mentioned in your newspaper, they are going to say ‘Lee, thank you, have a few more suits!’”
And that is Lee’s idea of growing up – or, as he says, looking a little bit more outside his estate.
He’s getting interested in politics, immigration and global warming. Why, he even fancies being prime minister. He is promising instant benefits for everyone.
“If I became prime minister, crime would be slashed and teenage pregnancy would plummet... because I would be far too busy being prime minister!”
Which isn’t to say he wouldn’t enjoy all the second homes and expenses; and yes, he reckons that it all still goes on.
“All the politicians are the same, aren’t they.”
But in the event Lee’s political ambitions aren’t actually realised, he is delighted to be out on tour.
“There is no denying I am in a different hotel in a different place every night, and when you have just had a little baby at home, that’s a great result. I started planning this nine months ago.”
Plus it’s fun going up north: “People are people wherever, though obviously the further north you go, the less they understand about the show, but the less I understand them when they say something.
“But they are always welcoming whoever they are.”
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