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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > November 2018 > Making a good fist of things

Making a good fist of things

For three decades, Attitude’s 2018 Comedy Award-winner Julian Clary has gone from provocative prodigy to national treasure — but he has always minced to the beat of his own drum

Photography Markus Bidaux

Styling Nick Byam

“The more people you can make laugh, the better, is my philosophy, I guess,” says beloved comic Julian Clary.

For 30 years now, he has glittered at the heart of the British comedy scene, an unapologetically camp tour de force. The Lord of the Mince and the king of innuendo, he first made a name for himself on the alternative comedy/cabaret scene of the early 1980s, under pseudonyms including Gillian Pieface and The Joan Collins Fanclub.

Inspired by the likes of David Bowie and dancer/choreographer Lindsay Kemp, Julian’s glam make-up and tight, skimpy PVC outfits made him a provocative choice for mainstream TV channels, but he was lapped up by audiences who delighted in his scandalous and offensive humour.

As we sit down to talk about his career, leading up to winning this year’s Attitude Comedy Award, I ask if offending people’s sensibilities was always part of his intention.

“Let me try and answer truthfully,” Julian starts, “because sometimes in retrospect you can rewrite history, and that would never do.”

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About Attitude

The Attitude Awards issue! With Adam Rippon, Jess Glynne, George Takei, Boy George, Tituss Burgess & more. Plus: 20 years on from Matthew Shepard’s murder his parents speak about his enduring legacy