TERRY Alderton has been described by critics as “outstanding and unpredictable” and he certainly lives up to the latter when I call for our interview.
The batteries in his phone are about to die and he is running around his living room “cannibalising” his two-and-a-half year old son’s toys for AAA batteries.
Eventually he gets it sorted, but a conversation with the high-octane comedian still feels like being swept up in a whirlwind.
“The audience will always get to see something interesting, I can guarantee that,” said Alderton.
“I’m not a conventional comic. I don’t stand on stage and go: ‘Have you ever noticed...?’ I’m known for talking to myself. I’m goaded by these two inner voices you see. I can’t really explain it — I’m worried that if I manage to they’ll go and I don’t want them to go.
“I was normal before I started comedy. But comics are deep thinkers. We have a lot of time on our hands and we’re always thinking of new material so it all gets a bit deep. I ended up getting depressed and these voices started bugging me so I thought ‘right, I’ll bring them on stage as some sort of therapy’ and they’ve been my complete re-birth.
“I’ve come out of my depression and artistically I’ve found my voice.”
Essex-born Alderton is visiting Burnley Mechanics on December 2 for the last gig of his current tour, and he claims Burnley audiences will be getting the best of him.
“No two shows are the same,” he said. “I keep morphing the material so you’ll be getting me at just the right time because all the funniest stuff will stay in. I use the audience and the building and my location, it’s like a play and everyone’s in my play.”
Alderton is often described as “comedy’s best-kept secret”. He started in the industry 20 years ago, aged 18, when he won Sky TV’s Star Search, hosted by Keith Chegwin. But it was only this year that he felt ready to take his material out on tour.
“People have been asking: ‘Why don’t you do a tour?’ for years, but it’s having the confidence. Up until now I didn’t feel ready, but slowly I started believing in myself and now I’m enjoying doing an hour on stage.”
The former Perrier Award nominee holds the record for the most encores at London’s Comedy Store and can count comedians Eddie Izzard and Joan Rivers as a fans.
But he finds it difficult to square his day-to-day existence with his routine.
“The irony is that I’m entertaining people about a life that I don’t really live in,” said Alderton.
“Sometimes I’ll say something in a routine and I can tell the audience are thinking ‘I don’t really know what he’s on about’ but they’re not going to because I don’t live in the same world. I don’t live a nine-to-five existence. What we find funny in the dressing room is really quite twisted and debauched. I don’t think people would care to hear it, or admit they’d had the same thoughts.”
But despite his neuroses about his job, Alderton wouldn’t change it for the world.
“I’m busy all the time, I don’t stop, and I have a lot of travelling for gigs, but all that is a small price to pay for the life I lead. I make people laugh for a living, and you can’t get better than that.”
l See Terry Alderton at Burnley Mechanics on Wednesday, December 2. For tickets call box office on 01282 664400.