Al Murray talks about The Pub Landlord's new tour, Gig For Victory: "We’re back, baby!"

Virgin Radio

17 Feb 2022, 10:43

Chris Evans and Al Murray at Virgin Radio

Chris Evans and Al Murray at Virgin Radio

Comedian Al Murray joined the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky to talk about returning as The Pub Landlord for his brand new UK tour Gig For Victory. 

The tour kicks off next Thursday, 24th February, and runs all the way until mid-November. Al told Chris: “We’re back, baby! This time last year I thought this was it. I thought I was finished. I thought, ‘I’m 52 and it’s over.’ I said to myself: ‘You’ve had a good run Murray. Okay, it’s Celebrity MasterChef on Zoom for the rest of your life,’ but here we are!’

When discussing the length of his upcoming tour, Al spoke further about how he wondered whether the pandemic would put an end to him performing live altogether. “Right at the start of this, I thought ‘Okay. You’re a grown-up now, you’ve had a good run, you don’t need the laughter, you’re a complete person.’” he said.

“A friend of mine put some gigs on in a pub garden in the first summer we were allowed out. He said, ‘Come down.’ I went down, and I was sky-high for the weekend, off just doing half-an-hour of people laughing at my jokes. And I had to say to myself, ‘You do need it. You are a broken husk without the laughter of strangers.’ And here we are. That’s why the tour’s so big.” 

When Chris asked how his character, The Pub Landlord, is doing these days, Al responded: “He’s fine. He had his hair cut last week in anticipation of touring again, and he’s in good spirits. He’s lived on crisps and nuts past their sell-by-for two years, but he’s alright!”

Al has toured as The Pub Landlord for over 20 years. When discussing performing in character, rather than as himself, the comedian said: “You immediately start from somewhere different to where you would if you were yourself. If I had to do me, I wouldn’t know where to begin, because I’m very rude when I’m The Pub Landlord. I couldn’t be rude like that; I’ve not got that in me. So, you put him on like a sort of costume, and I find it sets me free, a bit.” 

With the tour starting next week, Al told Chris that preparations are going well. “I improvise about half the show. I’ve got the new core of the stuff written, and I’ve written the song to end the show with. The song’s called Nothing Rhymes With Covid!” he said.

With fellow comedian Alex Horne also in the Virgin Radio studio this morning (17th February), talk turned to Taskmaster, which was created by and stars Alex, and in which Al appeared. “It’s the greatest job to do on television, full-stop, as a participant, as a contestant, “ Al said.

The comedian, who took part in series 3, added: “I basically tried to bribe my way through the whole thing, pay my way through! I came third or fourth, I sort of tailed off.”

When Alex told the Perrier Award-winning comedian that he and his wife, Virgin Radio’s own Rachel Horne, went to see one of his live shows back when they were dating, it prompted Al to tell a story about a less successful date that occurred at one of his gigs in London about 20 years ago. “Suddenly this couple got up about 20 minutes into the show. They get up, and they go out with real, like, energy. And then 20 minutes later the bloke comes back in. I said, ‘What happened?’ He goes, ‘Oh, well she broke up with me, because I brought her to see this!’

“I went, ‘I’m really sorry about that.’ And he goes, ‘Yeah, I put her on the tube, and I’ve come back, because I like it!’” 

Tickets for Gig For Victory are available now from

For more great interviews listen to The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky, weekdays from 6:30am on Virgin Radio, or catch up on-demand here.