Comedian Milton Jones heads to Plymouth Pavilions
FUNNYMAN Milton Jones takes the rush-hour bus principle to the business of comedy.
In his fast-paced brand of humour, if you didn't catch that joke, there'll be another along in a minute. And another. And another.
The route he takes will depend on where the passengers want to go.
The only time he is likely to stop the stream of word-play one-liners in the early part of his act is when he thinks there is more mileage in a gag.
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If some have missed the bus, he'll pause to help them on board.
"Humour does vary from venue to venue," says much-travelled Jones, whose 95-date tour calls at Plymouth Pavilions on March 9.
"I'll try one as a tester at the start, thinking 'if they go for that one, they'll go for this, too'. If they don't go for it, I'll try something different.
"Some jokes only 70 per cent of people are going to get. Sometimes I'll pick on somebody as if they are a bit slow, and explain the joke to them. That gives the other 30 per cent in the room the time to catch up."
Milton's face, wild shirts and even wilder hair are familiar from BBC2's Mock the Week.
His voice is known, too, from his umpteen series in the BBC Radio 4 evening comedy slot.
His stage shows mix the two, blending the quicker gags with more character-based comedy, to avoid the audience "zoning out" on endless one-liners.
He was previously in Plymouth in September 2011. "I tend to be on an 18-month cycle from tour to tour.
"I'll do the radio and TV and be writing more jokes for the next tour."
Milton is not one to suffer comedy writer's block – he has enough material to give away a joke each day on a social media site.
"It's not that I am wasting material that I could use on tour," he explains. "It's an exercise in making me look at the day's headlines and come up with jokes.
"Most of them couldn't be used in the shows because they are too topical and the event has gone."
His material marks him out as a comedian with wide appeal. Since his breakthrough in the mid 1990s (he was the Perrier Award best newcomer in 1996) he has avoided bandwagons and any suggestion that you have to work close to the edge to win critical acclaim.
Milton has a strong family appeal, as witnessed by the wide age range at his gigs. The 48-year-old is a Christian whose output includes the book Ten Second Sermons, which is rich in biblical and church-based one-liners.
"I do what I find funny," he says. "It's partly to do with my beliefs.
"If I were a satirist I wouldn't have a problem going near the edge.
"But if you do go for a target and do something shocking you should make sure it is worthwhile.
"It shouldn't be a soft target. It should be going for pomposity that needs puncturing.
"Just to go for shock value is juvenile.
"There are some really good blue comedians. I can see there is art in their act."
If you do climb aboard with Milton you can expect a smooth ride. "I go for the more sympathetic route," he says.
Milton Jones brings his On The Road tour to Plymouth Pavilions on March 9.