Comedian Jack Whitehall has written a book with his father about growing up in Putney. He returns to London next year for two shows at Wembley, and spoke to Alexandra Rucki about his career so far.
Alexandra Rucki: What is your book Him and Me all about?
Jack Whitehall: It’s basically 200 pages of father and son bickering and arguing
AR: What inspired you to write the book?
JW: It came off the back of our comedy show Backchat which had a run at the Edinburgh Festival and which has now been commissioned by the BBC for a full series starting in December.
AR: How does your father’s writing style differ to your own? What was it like working with him?
JW: He can spell long words.
AR: What was it like growing up in Putney? Do any memories of the area feature in the book?
JW: I have fond memories of growing up in Putney - it was idyllic.
AR: We wrote a story about your visit to KFC in Putney, where your dad asked for wine - has your dad been back? Where does he usually dine?
JW: My father asked for a wine list in KFC but he’s now moved up in the world and has moved on to Nandos. He once went into McDonalds and asked for his burger to be cooked medium-rare.
AR: What do your family make of you using your roots and class as comic material?
JW: They weren’t consulted - they didn’t get a say in the matter.
AR: When did you first decide to become a comedian?
JW: After a short tenure as a barman at the Spencer Arms in Putney after which I realised I couldn’t do anything else.
AR: What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
JW: Apart from this interview with the Wandsworth Guardian, it would have to be writing this book with my father. I also met the Chuckle Brothers at the Royal Variety Show which was a personal highlight.
AR: Do you have any similarities to your character Alfie in Bad Education?
JW: There are lots of similarities - we’re both immature, we always say the wrong thing and we’re hopeless role models.
AR: What else have you got planned for 2013?
JW: Aside from trying to find my father a retirement home in Putney, I’m gearing up for my tour and doing lots of gigs. We’ve also been commissioned to do a series of Backchat for the BBC in December.
Him & Me by Jack & Michael Whitehall is now available from Waterstones in the Putney Exchange. His tour visits Wembley Arena on March 15 and 16. Visit www.jackwhitehall.com/tour-dates