The comedian Al Murray's Pub Landlord character returns to Dubai as part of the The Only Way Is Epic tour and he is as British as ever.
Al Murray's Pub Landlord character to land in Dubai again
The UK comic Al Murray's most popular creation, The Pub Landlord character, is returning to Dubai in a brand new tour called The Only Way Is Epic. Murray tells us why he is back and how the show is a nightly chance to blow off some steam.
Dubai is becoming your locale. Is the audience here different to that in the UK?
You know what? It's not so different. My whole thing is to speak to the audience that is put in front of me, so Dubai is like anywhere else, to be honest. Although there are a lot of British expats and they have a certain mentality, but there is lots of everyone else as well. The variety in the audience - that's what I like about coming to Dubai.
When you created The Pub Landlord, was it your intention to perform the character to non-British audiences as well?
I think, because the character goes on about being British, what he really is, is just a man who has a one-eyed view of the world. He thinks his country is the absolute answer to everything, but also at the same time he is saying my country is the best in the world but not as good as it used to be, which is obviously a contradiction. I think those people exist everywhere.
The Pub Landlord's humour derives from his irony. Do you fear some people won't get where you are coming from?
That is the deal with the devil you make when you decide to do something that is ironic or ambiguous. By the same virtue, I don't like it when I am told what to think by a comic. I like the idea of coming on and doing something that is ambiguous or confusing; that I find a more interesting environment to operate in.
Is performing as The Pub Landlord therapeutic?
Absolutely. It is therapeutic in the sense that I find certainty in others quite bewildering. Very often, people express very firm opinions about things and I think that leads to all sorts of problems. I like being uncertain and being in a grey area about stuff and The Pub Landlord is so certain about everything that he ends up being wrong about everything.
How different is Al Murray from The Pub Landlord?
We couldn't be more different, but we do share some things. I like the sound of my own voice and he and I both share that firmly. But we are different people. He is certain about everything, I am not really. He is self-consciously British in everything he does and I don't even know what that means.
Is there a bit of the character in all of us?
I think there is. Because he is a reaction to stuff and reacting to things is easy. But coming up with sensible answers to them is much more difficult. He is the person that reacts rather than just acts.
That would be liberating, to just react without thinking of the consequences.
There is a line in the show where it says: "I say it the way I see it, but which I mean I say the first thing that comes to my head and I don't really think it through on any level." The freedom to do that is intoxicating, but it would also probably get you punched in the face most of the time.
Is that a real pint you are holding when you are performing in Dubai?
We are allowed a pint, but it's a pint of non-alcoholic lager. If that means I can perform and do my thing in Dubai then it is the tiniest concession to make and doesn't shatter the illusion at all.
For those who have not seen the orginal Pub Landlord show, what can they expect?
They should expect common sense solutions to everyday problems and a rallying cry to save civilisation from itself.
• Al Murray's The Only Way Is Epic tour touches down at The First Group Theatre, Madinat Jumeirah, today and will show until Friday. Tickets are now sold out.