When Chorley comedian Dave Spikey first appeared on stage, he was petrified.
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He was forced into the limelight as the director of a panto and had to fill in for someone last minute.
But minutes later, when hearing the audience laugh, he realised where his new passion lay.
At the time he was a biomedical scientist, but had always been interested in writing and comedy.
Spurred on by someone telling him he was funny, Dave began to enter talent shows and owes his career to a decision to juggle while on a motorbike. So it seems apt, to mark 30 years of being a stand up comedian by doing an anniversary tour – Juggling on a Motorbike – inspired by his own journey.
He says: “Last year marked 30 years since I was first on stage, so I started an anniversary tour, which continues this year.
“It covers my life, how I came from a working class background, and ended up becoming a biomedical scientist and then turned it into comedy, which is not a natural progression for a haematologist. “I had always been good at English and was asked why I always had a comedy element. I got involved in writing reviews for panto and I began to write and direct.
“One day someone dropped out last minute and I was the only one who knew the panto so I had to go on. I was petrified and didn’t want to go on. But when I saw the audience laugh, I got the bug for it.
“I had a friend, Abigail Todd, who said she wanted to be called Abi and would never answer to the name Abigail. I told her she was A bit odd and she said I should be a comedian.
“I entered talent shows. My first one was at Scarborough Opera House and I won it. I got through to the national final – Stairway to Stars and I won it. One of the judges was Larry Grayson and I idolised him. He said what had won it, was juggling on a motorbike. That is why I based the tour on that. I often think had I not done that routine, I would still be working at the hospital.”
The show is an autobiographical look back at Dave’s life, from when he had to leave his studies and go to work, to finding comedy.
The 66-year-old adds: “The tour is about the ups and downs of my life. It is not always laughs, but I don’t dwell on that too much. I talk a lot about my dad, Gordon, who was my hero. He was a self employed painter and decorator and his claim to fame was that he painted the hands on the Bolton Town Hall clock. But he never mentioned he fell off his ladder there. That led to him not being able to work and I had to get a job. My dad felt guilty, as I wanted to be a doctor. He saw an advert for a lab technician and said it would help when I return to my studies.
“I also talk about my brother,
Peter, who was a great guy. He was diagnosed with lymphoma when he was 20 and was a fighter. He got married and had children and died when he was in his 40s. He was a big fan and really supported me. He was also a bit of a comedian but was more of a karaoke king.
“I am really excited about playing up north, near my home town. It is like a home game. Blackpool and Burnley are great venues to be in.
Juggling on a Motorbike – 30th Anniversary Tour will be at Blackpool Grand Theatre on October 4 (£24.50); St Helens Theatre Royal on October 5 (£18.50); Bolton Albert Halls on November 2 (£17.50); and Burnley Mechanics on November 22 (£17.50). For more information visit http://www.davespikey.co.uk