Dennis Pennis

When I was young, I loved the Dennis Pennis interviews. Pennis was a character played by Paul Kaye who attended celebrity events and asked the stars unexpected, often insulting questions. This shattered the illusion of celebrity a little, showing how staged a lot of the other interviews were, and I found it fascinating.

I saw Pennis live once, when he was introducing the Prodigy at Glastonbury. When the band’s equipment failed, plunging the gig into silence, Pennis was sent on stage to entertain the crowd, which he did by singing Hebrew songs.

Notoriously, while Steve Martin was in the midst of a career slump, Pennis asked “How come you’re not funny any more”. Martin was asked about this in a recent Guardian interview:

Before I go, however, I mention that the line has come back to haunt Kaye: he has said it is now the one thing strangers say to him in the street. Hearing this, Martin tips back his head and lets out an almighty laugh, warm and rich, yet curiously lacking in schadenfreude.

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One thought on “Dennis Pennis”

  1. When I worked on G-Spot magazine in the mid-90s, Dennis Pennis was the cover star on my first issue, and subsequently replaced Mark Lamarr as our inner-back-page columnist. I never met him, but Paolo Sedazzari who did the interview (and who, weirdly, I got back in touch with about 3 weeks ago) gave me his tapes of the interview so that I could find some choice clips and convert them into Real Audio (ahh, memories!) for the website. By another fortuitous coincidence, I recently headed to the Internet Archive to see whether the interview still exists, and…. YES:

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