THERE is an awardwinning advert from 1998 called Guinness Surfer Ad (with Horses).

It is a black and white film of a surfer riding a wave and is punctuated with these words: “He waits… That what he does… And I tell you what; Tick followed tock followed tick followed tock followed tick… Ahab says I don’t care who you are, here’s to your dream.

The old sailors return to the bar, Here’s to you Ahab. And the fat drummer hit the beat with all his heart. Here’s to waiting..”

Words on screen: Good things come to those who wait.

When starting this interview with comedian Simon Day, this advert came to my mind.

The reason - and it will be one I shall expand on to illustrate the point - was this quote which Simon Day gave in an interview in 2011, when he said: “I love people. I am obsessed with characters.

"If I see someone who’s a character I’ll observe them as much as possible, and if I get a chance to talk to them, I’ll notice every nuance or phrase.”

Somerset County Gazette:

Picking up on this quote I wanted to discover how Simon would define ‘a character’ and how intensely did he observe people to create his characters?.

He said: “A character is someone who is out of the ordinary and fun. People can be funny through the way they talk which is the most important thing.

"You can see them at a football match or at the races.

I do not do it as much as I used to as I have a wife and kids and spend a lot of time indoor (he laughed).

“I was never intense about it as I just watched people. A lot of it came out of my imagination.

"It is like creating a cartoon character of someone or a pencil drawing.”

Simon’s characters have made a big impression on people since he truly burst on the scene in The Fast Show (1994-1997) which included Billy Bleach, Competitive Dad, Dave AngelEco-Warrior, Tommy Cockles, Gideon Soames, architecture expert and John Actor, who plays Inspector Monkfish to name but a few.

How does Simon feel about going on stage as his characters - is it easier than just being himself ?

He said: “I have always done stand up as myself - but I wanted to give people something more than that more than just stand up.

“With the characters like Tony Beckton, I can put you straight away into his world. A world in which he has been in prison for 27 years.

Somerset County Gazette:

“All the characters are different (Billy Bleach Fast Show pub bore and star of 2003 ‘Grass’ witness protection comedy), Brian Pern (Prog rocker and humanitarian), Tony Beckton (One of Britain’s most dangerous men, an habitual criminal who has served over 27 years in various prisons) and Geoffrey Allerton (Unpublished Yorkshire poet, Geoffrey will be reading from his poetry collection ‘Marking Time’).

“I just want people to have a laugh when they see the show.

The characters are funny and I don’t want to be like Patrick Marber, who was talking about Alan Partridge and talking about what tie the character should wear.

“I am not obsessive.”

Simon and his characters will be appearing at the Princes Hall for one night only in his national UK stand up tour ‘In Character’ to Clevedon, Somerset on Friday, March 30.

Simon explained one of his most famous characters is Dave Angel Eco-Warrior who will sadly not be making an appearance this time but he said he would on the next tour.

This should bring a big smile to a lot of people’s faces.

Somerset County Gazette:

Speaking of smiles and comedy, Simon said: “Comedy to me makes you laugh. There is nothing like a good laugh. It all helps lighten the mood. It makes you feel better. I do comedy which I hope people will like and they will find it funny. You can try stuff and hope it works.

“Sometimes you do things which you think are funny can fail while things you think are not funny get a huge laugh. It is bewildering sometimes.”

What is bewildering for Simon today is the standard of comedy on television.

Simon said: “I really loved comedy when I was growing up and was always watching comedy on television.

"Now, we are at a really low ebb of comedy as there is nothing to watch. The reason it is poor is there are no budgets for comedy and that is why The Fast Show won’t be back, the BBC can’t afford the budget.”