Julian Clary has a Position Vacant: Apply Within

JulianClary_photoby_IdilSukan_DrawHQ_07 copyJulian Clary has been entertaining us in his unique, hilarious, camp style since 1989 when he appeared on the ITV quiz show, ‘Trick or Treat’. He was promptly offered his own show by Channel 4, ‘Sticky Moments’, and has been appearing on TV, on the stage and radio, touring with his one-man shows, and writing books ever since.

Clary is bringing his show ‘Position Vacant: Apply Within’ to Perth, and chatted with Out in Perth from his home in Kent, about costumes, drag queens, and comedy.

You’ve been involved in so many great projects, I remember watching you on ‘Sticky Moments,’and you’ve been on ‘Celebrity Big Brother’… I was wondering if there’s one thing that tickles you the most, one that you love doing best?

Well… what I’ve always liked is doing live shows, which is the purest form of what I do. I did love ‘Sticky Moments,’and I like doing TV, writing books, and all the other things that I’ve done, but the purest form is really stand up. That’s the one time I’m performing and getting the least interference from editors and executives too.

Comedians like you, Ellen Degeneres, and Margaret Cho are doing immeasurable positive things for the queer community when it comes to exposure and acceptance. Is there something about the nature of comedy that allows you to do that?

Yes, definitely. It’s a very effective way of breaking down barriers—if you can make people laugh it opens them up, and without analysing it too much, I think that’s always been part of my motivation—certainly when I started in the ‘80s and we had Thatcher’s Britain, there was a lot of ignorance about gay and lesbian life, and I was seen as a bit of an oddity, and when I crossed over into mainstream television, it was a world people didn’t know much about. So, I did see it as a part of my function in a way, to demystify things. I’m always interested in making people laugh, because laughter is fun and is quite healing, but I think if one can make the world laugh about, say, Putin, and other worrying things, I think it’s a short cut into the issue in a way.

Yes! It brings things to people’s attention that they may not have thought about.

I’m very aware that my comedy is very trivial and silly, but it’s a way of getting people getting off their guard, too.

I’ve always been mesmerised by your costumes, can you say something about them? How do you choose them?

Well, I always figured, if you’re going to stand on stage and be looked at, you may as well make yourself look interesting! I had cultural influences like David Bowie… and what I was always trying to do, and still am, was create my own world on stage. This is my world… and then I invite men or women from the audience onto the stage (men in the current show), and they’re there in their jeans and shirts, and they suddenly seem out of place. It’s a way of turning everything around.

What should we expect from the new show? I’ve read that there aren’t any black rubber costumes, which I’m sure a lot of people are lamenting…

Well, you don’t want to see a 54-year-old man wearing rubber! I wear sequins, and make an effort, don’t worry! Actually, there’s PINK rubber! The show is my search for a husband, so I go in with a cattle prod, and take men that I like the look of out of the audience and onto the stage, and amongst them I find my husband, and I marry him at the end of the show!

OH! I was wondering whether you watch ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’?

OH I LOVE IT! I absolutely love it… It’s rather fabulous.

I collect drag names… Like Wilma Balls-Drop, and Tess Tickles and Norah Bone, I love all the names! Yes, and I love drag queens, and I hope the Perth drag queens come and see me in full regalia!!

Any last words to queer Perth before you come to our shores?

Well, last time I was there, there was an ash cloud… and there was some doubt as to whether one would ever leave Perth. I do remember thinking that I wouldn’t mind staying! Oh, and there’s a fabulous gay club in Perth – Connections… Is it still there?

Yes it is!

I’m so pleased to know that it’s still there… I will definitely be passing through.

Position Vacant: Apply Within is playing in Perth on April 17th at The Astor Theatre.

Claire Alexander

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