Julian Clary: No regrets over my infamous joke about Norman Lamont
Julian Clary says he has no regrets about making a notorious joke about senior Tory Norman Lamont.
At the British Comedy Awards in 1993, the gay comedian joked that he had just been fisting the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, having compared the awards’ set to Hampstead Heath, a popular gay cruising site.
Although the joke was met with uproarious laughter from the audience, Clary was criticised in some newspapers, including the Daily Mail and The Sun, who launched an unsuccessful campaign to have him banned from television.
Asked by GT (Gay Times) if he regretted making the joke, Clary replied: “No, I don’t regret anything! I mean, it was quite a well-constructed joke, and I quite like, so… Taxi drivers still say, ‘Oh, remember that night?!’ I know when I die, that’s what people will quote.”
The 55-year-old TV star also said he was no longer trying to be outrageous. “I mean, sometimes, if I’m talking in great depth and about a gay sex act or something, and we’re playing in the home countries, that can cause a gasp.
“But when I started out in the 80s and it was Margaret Thatcher, I was kind of angry and it seemed appropriate. You can’t go on being angry like that. My interest now is the laugh – that’s become an addictive thing.”
The comedian has been named as one of thirty ‘gay icons’ in this month’s special edition of GT, celebrating the magazine’s thirtieth anniversary.