Milton Jones

By Colin Flaherty

Milton Jones has made a name for himself as king of one liners. In his first trip to Melbourne he lived up to that claim and so much more.

The breadth and quantity of his material was so substantial that if one joke didn’t tickle your fancy, another that would was not far behind. He gave us lots of literal wordplay, plenty of puns and some clever ideas that took a moment to sink in. Some of his lines had been modified to include Australian references and address some local current affairs but he did tend harp on about Australian/New Zealand rivalry a bit too much, but was able to direct it at some vocal Kiwis in the audience.

The constant barrage of one liners and short jokes was quite exhausting for both performer and audience. Jones combated the fatigue by his careful pacing, a dash of silly physical humour and some visual aids/props all while keeping the hilarious lines coming in tandem. We had some “travel slides” with brilliant commentary and some amusing pictures on an overhead projector incorporating the technology into the jokes. The repetition of similarly structured jokes in long runs were also liable for fatigue but led to substantial pay-offs later on.

Some potentially awkward banter with the punters started well until some audience members suddenly got all shy and incoherent when he addressed them as individuals. When he did get any feedback he always had a quick clever comeback, clearly a result of his many years on the UK circuit. The questioning was a little repetitive, which on the surface looked like it wasn’t going anywhere, until he was able to weave snippets from these encounters into clever and witty lines later in the show.

Employing almost every comedic trick in the book, Jones showed us why he is a master of his craft.

Milton Jones is on at Melb Town Hall – Supper Room until April 20

Interview with Milton Jones about his first time at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival

By Noel Kelso

Milton Jones is a celebrated UK television and radio comedian probably best known to Australian audiences for his regular appearances on topical quiz show Mock The Week where his clever and surreal one-liners prove even more entertaining than his blazingly bright Hawaiian shirts. He has won numerous awards for his comedy including Time Out’s ‘Best Newcomer ‘ and Chortle Magazine’s ‘Best Headliner’ awards and is author of a partly biographical novel Where Do Comedians Go When They Die?: Journeys of a Stand-Up.
As he makes his Australian debut at the 2014 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Squirrel caught up with him for a few questions.

Noel: As this is your first time performing solo in Australia, many people here will only be familiar with your material through seeing you on ‘Mock The


Noel: How would you describe your live show to those unfamiliar with it and convince them to come and see it?

Milton: Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Clever in places. But mainly stupid.

Noel: What inspired you to first get started in comedy?

Milton: I wanted to be an actor, but no-one else wanted me to be one. So Idecided to try and pull faces for a living.

Noel: Your BBC Radio 4 show ‘Thanks A Lot, Milton Jones’ derives much of the humour from everyday situations gone awry when your character becomes involved. Do you have the same ‘can do’ attitude in real life?

Milton: I used to, until there was a petition from my family and local residents.

Noel: Has performing comedy always been something which appealed to you or were you originally intending to follow a different career path?

Milton: As I say I wanted to be an actor. All other doors were closed to me on the grounds of incompetence.

Noel: Which comedians – past of present – do you admire?

Milton: Rowan Atkinson. Emo Philips. My many Grandfathers.

Noel: Your comedy style comes across as that of someone who is perplexed by the way the world works and you just want answers – however odd and surreal they might be. Do you have a similarly questioning character off-stage?

Milton: Listen this is pretty much the same question as question 3 isn’t it? (see I a have questioning character)

Noel: Also – your performance style appears less confrontational than many of your contemporaries. Was that a conscious decision or is it something which arose naturally from your personality?

Milton: Oh shut up you pig.

Noel: Returning to your appearances on ‘Mock The Week’ – do you enjoy the competitive nature of that style of comedy and do you feel it gives that extra push to inspire more innovative comedy?

Milton: I would prefer it if I had 3 minutes to answer all the questions on MTW on my own, then I could go home and not have to compete with the others. Then at least I could always get a word in.

Noel: How do you find the writing process for your live shows differs from that used when writing a radio series – if at all?

Milton: Well when I’m writing radio I can use sound effects and read it off a script because the audience at home can’t see me – heh heh. But when I’m doing a live show I can pull faces.

Noel: You are known for wearing bright shirts when performing. Are these purely an affectation for the stage or do you actively seek out these fashion items? (I myself have quite a collection of hideous shirts which I wear with pride)

Milton: It’s a signpost to go with my stupid character. Id don’t know what your excuse is.

Milton Jones is appearing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival from March 27 to April 20 at The Supper Room, Melbourne Town Hall