Alan Carr lifts the lid on the world of showbiz in his latest book, Alanatomy – but he’s revealed that he was far from convinced that his first presenting gig, as co-host of The Friday Night Project, would be his big break.
“People hated it,” he said, during his appearance at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, “and I read the reviews – before I was on the telly I did warm-up for Jonathan Ross, so I turned up at Jonathan Ross’s chat show. And he went, ‘What the hell are you doing here, you have your own show!’ I said, ‘It’s been slagged off, I need to work, I’ve got to earn money.’ He said, ‘You’re on the telly, you don’t need to warm up my show!’
“Of course as soon as we started getting Bafta nominations, everyone loved [The Friday Night Project]. But that’s how little faith I had.”
The Friday Night Project wasn’t the only programme Carr was dubious about – Alan Carr’s Celebrity Ding Dong, the 2008 game show that pitched members of the public against celebrities, “was s**t”, said Carr. “I was pushed into it and I didn’t really like it and the ideas weren’t good. It was getting slagged off and it was that weird thing where actually I agreed with the criticism!”
Carr also spoke about the scrutiny that comes with being a camp gay man on television: “Militant gays and lesbians slag me off – ‘Is Alan really a good role model [for gay people]?’ But then are Simon Cowell, David Walliams and Piers Morgan fantastic examples of what straight people are? No! Because TV isn’t real! It attracts a certain kind of person, it does attract the weird and the wonderful – it’s a circus.”
“In the gay community, if soldiers come out, and if rugby players come out, they’re brave – yes, they are brave, but also, when you’re very camp or you’re a very butch lesbian or you’re a transgender person, going into the playground may as well be a rugby pitch or a battleground, because in this day and age you could get stabbed… You can’t just pick who you want to be gay just to make it look better.”
Carr, who recently revealed that he is engaged to his partner Paul Drayton, played down rumours that he wanted his friend Adele to sing at his wedding: “Maybe we’ll just have Honey G, who knows?”
Yesterday morning Carr moved to quash reports that Alan Carr: Chatty Man had been cancelled, tweeting: “it hasn’t been axed – I’m doing ‘Happy Hour’ this autumn and Chattyman is back at Xmas”.
But would he look to the States if his chat show tenure here came to an end? “I feel I’m a very British act, I don’t really have any yearnings to go to America, if it happens it does but I’m quite happy here. And to be honest, I don’t think they have the same sense of humour… You know what, I’m 40 now, I can’t be arsed! I have a lovely life, why would I go over there?”
Come the Presidential election in November, Carr’s decision may be made for him: “It’s been a s**t year,” said the comedian. “If Trump gets in I’m ending it all.”