Entertainment BBC The Wall: Gary Delaney's life from his embarrassingly bad stand up show to his very famous wife
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Everyone loves a good comedian, and that’s one of the reasons why Gary Delaney is so popular.
The 48-year-old funny man from Solihull is able to boast of a long and successful career in selling out stand-up comedy venues and having them erupt with laughter up and down the country.
He has toured the UK with the likes of American-born Scottish comedian Jerry Sadowitz and was a regular on BBC Two’s Mock of the Week.
But like every stand-up comedian, Gary has had to deal with a few tough crowds in his day. One such crowd was in Berlin, Germany, where he had been reassured before the show that the audience had a good command of English.
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In an interview he did with British Comedy Guide in 2020, Gary explained how it didn’t take him long on stage to realise that wasn’t the case.
“I died really, really badly,” he said. “I got two laughs. I don't mean two jokes got laughs. I mean two people laughed at two different points in my entire set, one was a laugh when I acknowledged that I was dying, the other was a man from Luton who genuinely did like one of the jokes. Just one”.
Gary added that, even if you can speak a language, understanding the subtleties of wordplay is a totally different thing.
Following his gig, the guidelines were updated for English comics, saying they should avoid wordplay, which Gary believes is "a death".
He continued: “If I was telling this as a story I'd probably say that I ended with a line about how, like my grandad, I have now also bombed in Berlin, but that's not true. He really did bomb Germany, but I never made the joke as I was scared they'd hate me even more. I just said goodbye and quietly walked off to sulk”.
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On the topic of Germany, it’s not just there that his jokes didn’t always go down very well.
In 2012, Gary wound up offending the residents of Jersey after a tongue-in-cheek comment he made while appearing on an episode of Mock of the Week, in which he called them “Nazi-sympathisers”.
In his exact words, Gary said: “I feel sorry for Jersey. They're trying to shake off their tax avoidance tag and get back to their traditional reputation as Nazi sympathisers."
While the comment got laughs from the audience, some living on the Channel Island were none-too-pleased, especially considering that Jersey was actually occupied by the Nazis during World War II.
Criticising Gary’s joke, a spokesman for the Channel Islands Occupation Society said the joke went "too far”.
But Gary has his own opinion about people who are offended by his jokes. In 2018, Gary branded people offended by jokes as.
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He believes, if you don't like jokes then you just shouldn't go to the show, adding that not liking something is fine but people shouldn't "take it seriously".
“I don’t like cheese – but I don’t try to boycott it. That’s ridiculous," he explained, using an analogy.
There are several comedians on the scene who probably relate to Gary’s perspective, one being his wife, fellow stand-up joker Sarah Millican.
Sarah is one of the UK’s most recognised comedians, having started her career with a bang by winning the comedy award for the Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2008.
Gary and Sarah have been married since December 2013, having been together since 2006.
Sarah had previously been married before meeting Gary, but her marriage ended in 2004 after her husband suddenly left her.
It was a painful experience for Sarah, but she soon learned to make her failed marriage the butt of several of her jokes.
She has also had her fair share of TV time, having appeared in a number of shows including Have I Got News For You, Nevermind the Buzzcocks, The One Show and Frank Skinner’s Opinionated.
In 2011, Sarah was also a panellist on ITV’s daytime chat show Loose Women.
On Saturday at 6:55pm, presenter Danny Dyer will host Sarah and her husband Gary as they compete in BBC One’s The Wall Versus Celebrities.
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