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When synchronised swimming first appeared on TV, we laughed very heartily, and I, for one, applauded the decision to introduce humour into the Olympics.
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I was worried people would laugh at me when I started to talk the language, but they were just pleasantly surprised that I could. The sense of humour here is great – once I could have a giggle, I settled down.
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When things are difficult, awful, stressful, the thing that always gets you through is a sense of humour. I don’t mean – well, maybe I do – laugh at the hangman as he puts the noose around your neck. But an eye, an ear, for the ridiculous, the absurd in life, can get you through a lot.
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So many more people recognise you and want to take up a moment of your time for a photo or a hello. You try to deal with it with grace and a degree of humour, because what’s the alternative?
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I like Roy Orbison’s video for ‘I Drove All Night’ because it’s so literal. It is just a man driving throughout the night. I like that silliness. To be in a video is a ridiculous thing. It’s almost impossible to do it without any humour.
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The British have turned their sense of humour into a national virtue. It is odd, because through much of history, humour has been considered cheap, and laughter something for the lower orders. But British aristocrats didn’t care a damn about what people thought of them, so they made humour acceptable.
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My face hasn’t matured as I’ve grown up, and neither has my sense of humour. In the mirror, I see an older version of myself as a child, although I do have more wrinkles and freckles.
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Now the point of comedy is not just looking funny, it’s use of language. We have at our disposal a great language… and the imaginative, creative use of that language can be at the service of humour.
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I know some children’s writers write for specific children, or for the children they once were, but I never have. I just thought children might like my sort of visual humour.
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I think of myself as a writer with a sense of humour rather than a comedy writer. Happy to tell a story with lots of jokes in it – I wouldn’t know how to do jokes without the story.
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