Comedian Clark is looking to fill the Empire for a date on April 9 as part of his UK tour. As the luck of the draw (or the whims of a sadistic tour manager) might have it, some gigs are in intimate venues that have sold out already, and others are quite disproportionately large for someone who would be the first to admit they’re hardly a household name.
So how might you know Dan Clark? Most likely as the writer and star of BBC3 sitcom How Not to Live Your Life. Maybe as the insufferable band leader Johnny Two Hats in Electro, a classic episode of The Mighty Boosh. Or possibly from one-off appearances in French & Saunders, My Family, Only Fools and Horses, or his own sketches on the Paramount channel.
It’s fair to say Clark is fairly ensconced in the comedy scene of his generation. Best friends with Boosh star Noel Fielding, he has worked along side some of the finest young talents currently in UK comedy – and has the appeal to attract them to his own show.
How Not to Live Your Life now has three series behind it. Clark plays Don Danbury, an ultimately likeable, although chaotic and immature antihero, suffering unrequited love and surrounded by oddball characters. It’s a grower of a show, a bit laddish, but with solid writing and a boyish charm that is appealing. Its supporting cast has included familiar faces from Miranda, Peep Show, and (again), the Mighty Boosh.
He says: “Each generation has their group of people who seem to all know each other. Quite often groups of like-minded people do gravitate towards each other, and if you’re quite driven or ambitious and you’re prolific enough to keep going – some of my contemporaries have been knocking around and performing for years, and will help each other out with a little bit on their show.”
Clark, 34, is in a good place. He is being nurtured as a long term prospect by the BBC, which is working with him on new projects, and is developing How Not to Live Your Life for a possible American adaptation. The show, that began life on BBC3, has successfully transferred to BBC2.
“BBC3 does get a bit of flack, which sometimes could be justified and is sometimes unfair,” he says. “How Not to Live Your Life is quite a cult show and it made people feel like they discovered it themselves, and other shows like Gavin & Stacey and the Mighty Boosh started like that too. Shows have the ability to grow, and I quite like that.”
But months of writing has left him hankering for life on the road. His live show is a mix of stand up and his own comic songs. For this new tour – as he’s never been round this way before – he’s been able to pick his strongest material from the past few years. So whatever happens at the Empire, it can’t be a bad time to be Dan Clark.
He said: “When I do think of what I’ve managed to do I’m incredibly pleased. I play a little game and imagine what it would be like to go back in a time machine and tell my 15-year-old self the things I’ve got up to. I’d be chuffed.”