The Salon Varietés Theatre in Fuengirola is to host the third consecutive season of stand-up comedy nights this weekend. The two shows will take place on Friday (today) and Saturday and will again be compered by Dave Thompson, the madcap comedian who found fame as Tinky Winky in the BBC's Teletubbies children's series. Dave will be supported by Matthew Baylis (former story-liner on EastEnders) and Tony Vino, two British stand-ups popular on the UK comedy circuit.
Tony Vino was born in Malaga; his father is Spanish and his mother was born in Scotland, but since childhood, he has lived in the north of England. The former solicitor began working on the comedy circuit in 2005, performing across the UK and internationally. He has worked as a stand-up comedian and compere and is well known for the way he seamlessly mixes well thought-out observational humour with audience interaction.
His non-offensive style of humour mixes social and political issues, which has made him a favourite choice for corporate functions and high profile events for charities like Oxfam, Christian Aid and TearFund. He has also worked with celebrity acts like Jimmy Cricket and Tim Vine, and was once commissioned to warm the audience for the BBC's Songs of Praise, an event he describes as a "low point in my career".
SUR in English caught up with the comedian prior to his arrival on the Costa and he explained how excited he is to be able to perform in Malaga for the first time; especially seeing as his father will be in the audience, along with several of his Scottish relatives.
Is Vino your birth name?
I've slightly shortened my real name for the stage. My full name is Anthony Triviño. Although my dad is from Malaga and lives most of the year there, I grew up in Preston. Even though I'm half Spanish, I sound as northern English as is possible and my ginger hair and freckly skin are due to my mother being from Glasgow.
How did you make a living before becoming a stand-up?
I gave up a lucrative career in law to do this. I studied law and then did a masters in something called Jurisprudence, which is legal philosophy. I worked for a few years and decided that life as a solicitor wasn't for me - much to the approval of my clients.
What made you decide to make a career out of comedy?
Back in 2005, a friend in Leeds started an amateur comedy night and asked me if I would MC it as I had done a lot of acting and liked making people laugh, most importantly; I said I would do it for free. The first night went amazingly well. In fact, I met my wife that night. We clicked instantly and made each other laugh on and off stage. Fourteen years later we are still together, so who's laughing now?
What is the most bizarre place you have ever performed in?
I reckon it must be performing from the middle of a boxing ring. The organiser of the boxing competition thought it was a good idea to have a comedian on before the fights. It wasn't a good idea. Let's say that I lasted the full 12 rounds but the audience won on points.
Where do you get your ideas for material from?
Sometimes it is random and funny ideas crop up that I jot down as quickly as possible. Other times it is in conversations when people laugh and we've hit a golden seam of comedy that I then think I can work on. Mainly though, ideas come from intentional thought. I have a discipline where I just write without worrying whether the ideas are funny or not.
How do you practise your new jokes?
Every time before going on (stage) I practise. I suppose it's like a musician playing an instrument - there is always a level of practice needed to stay sharp. I then sandwich new jokes into a performance to try things out.
Are you superstitious?
I wouldn't say I'm superstitious, but before going on stage I have various little rituals that I always need to do or I feel off centre.
Your act has been described as 'socially aware inoffensive fun': how would you describe your sense of humour?
A lot of my humour is derived from wordplay. I like to be silly, and simply for everyone to have fun. My stage persona is affable and friendly (to mask my true self, which is full of anger and judgement).
How do you feel about performing in Malaga for the first time?
This is genuinely one of my dreams come true. It was on my bucket list. My dad lives in Malaga and for years now I always thought it would be ace if I could get to perform in Malaga and have chance to visit my father.
Will any Spanish relatives come to see you perform?
Apart from my dad, none of my Spanish relatives can speak English, so I don't think it would work for them. Ironically though, I have a load of Scottish relatives coming as they happen to be in Malaga this week.
What can the audience expect at the Salon Varietés in Fuengirola?
Expect the unexpected. There will be jokes, banter, audience interaction, stories, some poignant moments and a good sprinkle of fun.
Your friend Dave Thompson describes you as 'a sharp-witted comedian with a sublime sense of the ridiculous': how would you describe Dave?
A fine judge of comics. Seriously though, Dave is a seasoned veteran of the comedy scene. You know any night he is on that you are in safe hands. He is hilarious, likeable, surreal and quick.