ON HIS HAIR: "It's it's own bioculture I just leave it alone…we sleep in separate rooms."

ON BEING A SEX SYMBOL: "Yeah you're right, I hated it."

ON HIS STYLE OF COMEDY: "I think anger's funny, you know you always feel a bit giggly if someone's cross. It's like church laughter, if someone's very very angry, because you know you're not supposed to laugh."

ON HIS 'READY STEADY...COUGH' TOUR (2000): "Misery will be the watchword of this tour. I was thinking of calling it The Non Stop Death Roadshow, but there is a slight tang of uncommerciality about that, isn't there?"


ON COMEDY AND PERRIER: "I don't really see myself as having a career, I was completely surprised to win the Perrier - I thought then that they should have given it to Bill Bailey - but anyway, it's a piece of media rubbish."

ON HIS FAVOURITE SITCOMS: "I like Frasier, it's very light. I thought The Office was very good, though I didn't think of it as a sitcom, just as a very good programme."

THIS MUCH I KNOW: "Money can't buy you love, but it can get you some really good chocolate ginger biscuits."

ON BILL BAILEY: "Bill outdoes people by opening a packet of crisps and looking out the window and making some passing comment. People go on holiday when they talk to Bill. He draws people to him. If he's in a room, people skip over to him the way you do to a fire when you come in from the pouring rain."

ON HIS STAND-UP: "The things you can do easily, you have no respect for. The things you can't do, you love. You've seen it a hundred times. People go off and pursue that dream, and you think: that is cosmic pants, what are you doing?"

ON HIMSELF: "Arsey is a very good description. I think I might put it on my tombstone."

ON HIS ACCENTS IN 'THE ACTORS': I didn't have any acting lessons. I did meet up with a very talented voice guy a couple times to do my character bits, who gave me some very useful advice. At one point we were standing up screaming at each other 'you fackin' cant'. All that was done to test whether it held, because it's one thing being able to say a word or a line, but to do a whole spiel takes a lot more."

"I am by no means a natural impersonator, You just have to go pell-mell at it. And it has to work. If you do an accent badly, it is the most distracting thing in the world. It is as if somebody was walking around with their genitals out all the time. Well, it is not at all like somebody walking around with their genitals out. But it is distracting."

ON INTERVIEWS IN GENERAL: "An interview is a strange conversation because it's not a conversation, it's something that's between levels. It's staged conversation about prearranged topics between two people who have never met, which is a sketch in itself.
"At this stage I don't mind. It's a strange thing to do. Some people want to know just about the film and some people want to know where you buy your vegetables, and I can't really be doing with that. It's completely mad, but that's obviously how they sell films I guess. Who can determine the bizarre workings of selling a film."

ON 'BLACK BOOKS': "It's a reaction against the perfectness of things like Friends, I have a very low tolerance for enthusiasm generally. Television should reflect how we live. I get depressed by how good-looking everyone is on television. You never get the sense that they smell or are at all crusty. We wanted to avoid the airbrushed slickness of most things. I want viewers to feel that these characters find clumps of pubic hair in the most unexpected places around the house."

ON BERNARD: "I really don't like Bernard at all - he's a dreadful character. As him, my face hardens and I wear a permanent vinegar-puss look. I'm like a bulldog licking piss off a nettle."

ON HIS LATEST TOUR: "The purpose of it is to verify that all the English place-names that make me laugh actually exist, Crawley, Morecambe, Tring."

ON CHILDHOOD: "I was fat! I was pustule-rich! I looked like a pink human grenade! When did I blossom into the irresistible little orchid that I am now? I don't know. Getting taller helps. It spreads out a bit."

ON SCHOOL: "I was too thick. Rubbish at exams. Fat tears of boredom rolling sploshing down on the desk in front of me. I couldn't stand the place. Hated all of the subjects. Eight years of Gaelic. I don't remember a word. Terrible, terrible books about 300-year-old women living on farms, who only have one potato and have to milk it every morning. Oh! And I did a bit of drama. You know - pretending to be a jacket. That sort of thing."

ON HANGOVERS: "All my organs seem to scream in a unanimous howl. My body is revolting on me. It is mutiny. The hangovers have become far more devious. In the old days you at least knew you had one, because it used to wake you up and you'd feel like death all day. But then you get a bit older. You wake up and you think you feel OK for about ten minutes. And then you go into the kitchen, and the hand of pain slips into your bowels and grips you with its icy fingers and then it's much, much worse. It's unimaginable. Suddenly it sidles up to you and puts its arm round you and gives you this frozen kiss. You are there - fucked. All day. Several days."