Q&A: Chris Addison

The Thick of It star on his TV likes and dislikes

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What’s your guilty pleasure?
Any reality show where idiots are trying to run something and are way, way out of their depth. I love those. I know that the programme is probably being a bit unfair to them but I absolutely buy into it.

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What would you change the channel to avoid?
Glee. I would stove my television in rather than have it on. People go: isn’t it fun and ironic? No, it’s just really bad, even the singing; it sounds like that Cher song from the 90s where her voice was put through a vocoder.

What do you wake up to?
CBeebies, as my kids are that age. Justin Fletcher off Gigglebiz is, I think, one of the best comedy performers in the country. He’s versatile beyond belief. Micky Flanagan and I once spotted Justin in the BBC canteen, among myriad other stars, keeping himself to himself in the corner, and were both embarrassingly star-struck.

What makes you shout?
The news. My wife has to take the remote control off me and turn it off. I never feel like my intelligence is being insulted so much as when I watch the news: stop with the relentless chumminess and tricky nonsense! Just tell us the f****** facts! I cannot bear it. Channel 4 News is the last bastion, and Jane Hill on BBC News.

No wonder you’re now a regular on Mock the Week. Do you find it nerve-racking having to come up with topical jokes?

Of course. It’s a strange, counter-intuitive thing for a stand-up to do in lots of ways. You’re doing a joke for the first time on national television, whereas if you ever see stand-up on television it’s bullet-proof: you write the stuff in your shed, test it in front of an audience, hone it, rewrite it. It’s been tempered in fire.

Do you tune into much comedy?
I’m writing a stand-up show at the moment so I cannot watch stand-up. It’s terrifying seeing someone else’s genius, fully formed routine when you’re at the beginning of the process. I tend to watch sitcoms in a big splurge. I’ve just been ploughing through season three of 30 Rock and will follow it with season five of the American Office, which is the best sitcom ever made without exception.

Which comic would you take to dinner?
Eric Morecambe, without a shadow of a doubt. I think Eric Morecambe is the single most engaging, lovable character ever to have appeared on British television.

Who was your first crush?
Dr Rose Marie in A Very Peculiar Practice [played by Barbara Flynn], who features very large in the psyche of men of a very specific age – which is knocking on 40 right now – who were entranced in their mid-teens. Rose had that woman-in-uniform thing going on: immensely powerful, intimidating and incredibly sexy.

Which film comforts you?
The film that I’ve gone back to most in my life is When Harry Met Sally… It’s a perfect script; every scene, every line is spot on. Everybody knows it because of the fake orgasm scene but that’s probably the least interesting scene in the film.

Who would play you in a film of your life?

John Cusack circa 1985, when he played a hapless college student in The Sure Thing. There’s a bit where it’s pouring with rain and he’s trying unsuccessfully to get into a caravan. I can remember watching it and thinking: “Oh Christ! That’s me.”

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Mock the Week is on BBC2 tonight at 10pm / Show and Tell is on E4 tonight at 10:35pm