Laughter is never far away as Bob Mortimer reels off a list of ailments that drive him, how should we put it… well, nuts.
Bob is sitting alongside comedy pal Vic Reeves as they chew the fat over the much-anticipated TV return of their Big Night Out show.
The pair are about to turn 60 and health dominates the conversation.
Vic’s been told he is bordering on obesity and his cholesterol is high.
Bob has had heart bypass surgery and his knees give terrible trouble.
You’d think rheumatoid arthritis is no laughing matter and, of couse, for the most part it is anything but.
Comedy duo Bob and Vic are both fast approaching their 60th birthdays
But then Bob reveals it’s a bit like that lager ad on the telly – it reaches parts that other ailments don’t.
He explains: “I have long periods where I don’t suffer from it and they say stress causes it. Two days before a big gig, I would get it and I now know that if I am worried or stressed then bang, it returns with a vengeance.
“My heart attack doesn’t impinge on my life at all, but it’s my f****** joints that do!”
Vic interjects: “I mean, you have even got it in your eye… you had to leave the studio.”
“That’s right, I got eye-arthritis,” confirmed Bob.
“Rheumatoid arthritis generally happens when your immune system attacks your joints, but I’ve had it attack my iris.”
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Bob revealed he was diagnosed with arthritis
Then he bursts with laughter and adds: “The worst one was arthritis in me b******s – I had that when we were filming Big Night Out!”
Ouch. And right there is an interview answer we never expected!
No offence is taken, of course. It’s just fun being in the company of two comedy greats who have kept us in stitches for decades.
The pals are back on BBC Four with a new run of Vic and Bob’s Big Night Out. Expect surreal gags and silly banter – but none of the tearing around of the old days.
Janine Yaqoob with Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer
Vic says: “We have calmed down and we don’t climb in trees and play the blues on our guitar any more.
“Once upon a time we were excitable youths with an appetite for fun and now I have just got an appetite for food and television.
“I suppose I don’t feel it but as soon as you get to 60, apparently all your bits start to fall off.
“I am really trying not to eat cheese at night. It’s become a real problem and I have now got high cholesterol. I have to do something about it.
“I went to the doctor and she said, ‘You are bordering on obese’ but it seems you don’t have to be much to be obese nowadays.”
Vic, real name Jim Moir, has four children – two with first wife Sarah and two with current wife Nancy. Bob has two kids with wife Lisa, who he married just hours before his triple heart bypass in 2015. And as the big 6-0 beckons he, too, admits taking things ever more easy – more at the pace of his BBC2 angling show with comic pal Paul Whitehouse, 60.
Bob took part in angling show Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing with pal Paul Whitehouse
Bob says: “I have totally calmed down. I just sit and watch telly for 365 days.
“I might go out two or three times a year and I like to go fishing.
“But after my heart op, I can’t do as much. I’m falling to pieces. I’ve a couple of fishing programmes to do and they modify what we film because of my weakness in fishing and my weakness of knees and my prostate!
“I haven’t had a knee replacement yet but I think that’s on its way. I hardly do any exercise because of my arthritis and my joints.
“I was on holiday and I jogged four days on the run and that has done my right knee in – God, it’s so dull.”
Vic revealed how the thought of losing his pal during his heart scare was devastating. He says: “We have done something every year for the last 30 years and this year marks 25 years with the BBC.
“If anything had happened to Bob, I wouldn’t have carried on. Me and Bob are a comedy unit.”
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Vic and wife Nancy Sorrell
The pair started working together in 1987 on shows like Channel 4’s Vic Reeves Big Night Out – and then Shooting Stars, with Ulrika Jonsson, Jack Dee and Angelos Epithemiou. As well as the new Big Night Out, Bob has a second series of Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing.
Vic, meanwhile, had a hilarious cameo as quirky Colin on Coronation Street and has been preparing 200 sketches for an art exhibition. Many fans want them to revive Shooting Stars – and it isn’t ruled out.
Meanwhile, the buddies are working on a film about two friends who are trying to track down singer Michael Jackson’s iconic white glove.
Vic famously appeared on the 2014 series of I’m a Celeb and admits the big pay cheque swayed him to do it. But Bob rules out the jungle – “I’ve better things to do and I am a snorer and a terrible swearer and I would embarrass the family.”
And with those knees, Strictly is out of the question too as Bob concedes: “After I had my heart operation I got really into heart stuff. I did think it would be lovely to go on Strictly just so people could see I wasn’t finished. But, sadly, now I couldn’t because of my joints. I’d be hobbling around.” And it’s a no from Vic too, as he adds: “My heart wouldn’t be in it and you have got to be into that sort of thing – dancing – and you have got to want to be famous.”
Not to worry, chaps. At last we’ll see you this week – on our big night in.
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