Kelpies inspire Phill Jupitus for new show in Falkirk

Phil Jupitus plays Falkirk Town Hall on July 26
Phil Jupitus plays Falkirk Town Hall on July 26

It seems the benchmark of success for many comedians is performing to the largest possible audience at a vast indoor arena.

But that’s not something that’s ever appealed to Phill Jupitus.

Funny in Falkirk

Funny in Falkirk

The 51-year-old Londoner, whose career spans three decades, likes to keep a close eye on his audience - presumably so he can check if they’re enjoying themselves - but accepts that some people might view his preference for playing smaller venues as a lack of ambition.

“Watching a comedian from the back of an arena on a video screen is not my idea of entertainment,” he said. “But then again, it is to a lot of people. I prefer to be close-up.

“Set against my contemporaries, like Jo Brand, Eddie Izzard or Jack Dee, I appear not to have taken full advantage.

“The generation of comedians on ‘Mock the Week’ now play stadiums. But a job like mine is a luxury, it’s allowed me to do so many different things. And I absolutely love that.”

There’s certainly no denying the variety of Jupitus’ career. He began his stage career as a performance poet, supporting the likes of Billy Bragg, The Style Council and The Housemartins in the mid-1980s, and his shows have evolved to include spoken word, comedy and more besides.

He now performs at least three shows at the Edinburgh Fringe each year. “When you do one show, all the pressure is on it. But when you do three, you’re too busy to think about it,” he explained.

Many will know Phill as an ever-present panellist on the long-running BBC2 comedy music quiz ‘Never Mind the Buzzcocks”, which returns for a new series in September.

But despite this seemingly packed schedule, he still enjoys playing up to the preconception that he “wilfully sabotaged” his own career.

His new show, appropriately titled ‘Shirking Progress’, is on at Falkirk Town Hall on Saturday, July 26 as part of the fifth Funny in Falkirk comedy festival.

He promises it will be a “greatest hits” set, as well as containing new material, such as a return to his performance poetry roots with two pieces on bands close to his heart, Blondie and The Clash.

It’s a return to the medium that he first tried 30 years ago, and one he’ll also revist with a free show at the Fringe in August.

“It will be a jamboree bag of a show in Falkirk,” he added. Phill admits that his date at FTH will be the first time he’s visited Falkirk town centre, but he’s no stranger to the district - having visited the Kelpies on no less than three separate occasions.

“They really are the most extraordinary things. I first went during the day when it was really busy, but I returned at night on my own to see them lit up.

“It’s amazing that people in the digital age, with all this technology around us, can still be so emotionally affected by a piece of sculpture. Imagine how people must have felt when they first saw the Sphinx.”

To buy tickets to Phill’s show and to view the full festival line-up, visit

The Falkirk Herald has a pair of tickets for Phill’s show at Falkirk Town Hall on July 26. To win, simply answer this question: Who was the original presenter on the BBC2 music quiz ‘Never Mind the Buzzcocks’? Email your answer, along your name, address and contact number by noon on Tuesday to or write to Unit 4A, Gateway Business Park, Grangemouth. Usual Falkirk Herald terms and conditions apply.