"All that changed on a fateful day in 2017 when I got hit by a pick-up truck" Idle chit-chat with Jim Tavare
Hello Harry Potter actor Jim Tavare, how the devil are you?
I prefer not to be defined as ‘Harry Potter actor Jim Tavare’ *raises his butter beer*
But you can call me that if you wish. You better hope I don’t put a spell on you.
What have you been up to today?
At this moment I am sitting in the British Library, ssshhhh - killing time before my preview tonight in Camden. I am currently on the road doing about a dozen previews - getting my show in shape. I have all my stuff in a rucksack and feel a bit homeless.
Gotta be honest Jim, your website is lacking in some crucial info, like a bio. So... tell us about yourself. In the style of a haiku.
Harry Potter bloke
And deadpan comedian
If you like a joke.
Describe your comedy style.
For years I performed comedy with my trusted sidekick - a double bass named Bassie. I dressed in a tuxedo like a reject from the Philharmonic. My show was a mix of silliness, music and cabaret. All that changed however, on a fateful day in 2017 when I got hit by a pick-up truck in the hills of Los Angeles where I now live.
Tell us what you can about your new show for the Fringe, ‘From Deadpan to Bedpan’, in two sentences?
From Deadpan to Bedpan is the true tale of how a simple trip to the shops changed my life forever after a catastrophic car accident left me with 30 broken bones, a hand that came off and punctured lungs.
You did ask.
It’s a hybrid project: part storytelling, part stand-up. I see it as a new form: stand-up movie telling.
How many times have you been to the Fringe, and what’s your best memory?
About half a dozen times. My best memory is smuggling Ronnie Corbett into my show and getting him to agree to open the show. The way it worked: the lights came up at the start and there, sitting in his chair is the iconic master himself. The audience could not believe it. He started to tell one of his shaggy dog stories then I come on and cut him off, telling him he’s in the wrong joke.
You haven’t been for a while, how come?
I've not been to the Edinburgh Fringe in 20 years. My work has taken me in a different direction. I ended up in LA where I initially appeared in a reality TV show for comedians called Last Comic Standing. I progressed through the show and eventually finished fourth. After that, I relocated to LA and re-booted my acting career. I've done a few guest star roles in TV, loads of indie movies - particularly in the horror genre and a few lucrative commercials - the proceeds of which were all spent on recent medical bills!
You’ve been in a Harry Potter film, are you forever pestered by grown people who should know better?
I’m never recognized from that role. I grew mutton chops as a disguise. Now I look more of an ‘Amos’ than ‘Tom’. Gets me more work as an actor. I just played a villain in I Spit On Your Grave 4. I don’t mind being pestered especially if they are buying a signed photo.
The list of famous people you’ve appeared with over the years is impressive, who’s your best mate in showbiz?
Henry Normal. He is part owner of Baby Cow, writing partner of Steve Coogan, author and comedian. He was producer on The Sketch Show and with his help we won the first BAFTA award for an ITV comedy show.
I reconnected with him recently and asked him to direct my new show. I can’t believe he agreed. Because I live in LA and couldn’t travel he directed the entire thing by EMAIL.
And what’s been the best experience you’ve had?
I could say being cast in Harry Potter was cool and doing a show in front of the Queen, Prince Charles and thirteen crowned heads of Europe was a big deal too.
But if I’m honest, the thing I like most is the creative process particularly writing. I like It when you have no idea where it’s going and each day is a journey of discovery.
Not a question, more a statement. Impressive facial hair.
You’re a Twitterer, so is it a place for genuine discussion and debate by well informed individuals or a smorgasbord of vile humans arguing with each other?
We both know the answer to that. I’m actually more of an FB person. I also use the dating websites like Ancestry.com.
Tell us a charity we should support. And why.
Cancer Research UK and Great Ormond St. Children’s Hospital.
When he was eight years old my son, Louis was diagnosed with lymphoma so I subsequently cancelled my Edinburgh show at the time. He fought like crazy and came out the other end as a survivor. Having been subject to a catastrophic incident myself I learned a lot from the little boy how to deal with the huge life change associated with ill health.
When was the last time you were starstruck?
Meeting Dumbledore in the Harry Potter canteen.
What other comedian is worth checking out?
I have a host of favorites: Mark Steel, Al Murray, Zoe Lyons but I don’t know who is up at the festival this year because the fringe brochure is so heavy I can’t lift it.
Finally, how do you take your coffee?
For a tiny bit more information on Jim and his activities you can visit his website. You can also follow him on Twitter for funny and insightful political analysis and promo for his shows.
Tickets for his Fringe show 'Deadpan to bedpan' are on sale now and it runs throughout the festival.