Paul Dance’s hit character creation is ‘Henry von Stifle’. He’s a philanthropist, author, historian, raconteur orator, world record holder, humanitarian and pimp. His published books include Pig Keeping in Lincoln 1376 – 1500 AD, Norwegian Hairstyles of the 18th Century and The History of Everything.
Martin Walker caught up with Henry as he prepared for his Edinburgh Fringe Festival show.
“My Edinburgh show is aimed primarily at thick people who want to better themselves and to try and reverse the dumbing down of society. My aim is to make every single audience member 8.4% more intellectual. That is why it is called Working Class Hero, not because I’m working class but I consider myself a hero to them. I know this may sound arrogant but the facts speak for themselves, I am incredibly intelligent and better than most people.”
Why did you choose to perform as part of Freestival?
“Am I with Freestival? My valet, Spencer, sorts out this side of things which allows me to focus solely on… other things. From what I’ve heard back off Spencer though, there seems to be many positives with working with the people from Freestival. They sound friendly, helpful and they’ve not asked too many questions about my past!”
For you, is Stand-Up Comedy a career choice or a calling – and why?
“I love a laugh, absolutely love it. I do, honestly. Really, really love a laugh. But we can’t always have a laugh and that’s where I come in, so I guess you could call it a calling. I want to give something back to society; goodness knows I’ve taken enough from it, what with all of the recent tax breaks for the ruling class such as myself.”
Have you ever gone too far? What happened?
“I once took three horse tranquilisers in one go and slept for 38 hours solid. I also threw up on Grace Jones’ shoes at a party once; we ended up dating for 6 weeks.”
If you were curating a stand up show for television, who would be your guests?
“Richard Madeley, the chap that does the voice overs for ‘Come Dine With Me’, Vernon Kay, Chris Morris and Chris Rock.”