“Is he gay??”
Julian "Glarey" Clary is a British former boxer, footballer, stand-up comedian, actor, philanthrope and heterosexual. He has had a 25-year career in television and radio comedy and has recently branched-out into appearing in feature films such as Guy Ritchie's Scary Hard Bastard's Pub and Bad Slags. He is known for his imposing physical stature, unwillingness to suffer fools gladly and "blokey" "banter".
Clary was born in 1959 in Surrey into what he calls a "tough neighbourhood". He initially made his living packaging sweets at Brickwell Sweet Factory before giving it up for boxing. Clary proved a fearsome presence in the ring. "People saw this fudge packer using his fist to give these big, muscular blokes what they deserved, and they'd always go down on him." says Clary. "Nuffin funny about that, is there?"
Clary later moved into playing football professionally. "I could have played for Manchester United if I'd stuck at it" says Clary wistfully. "I was an amazing footballer; my ball control was incredible and I scored regularly, going down on my knees in ecstasy a few times. What?!"
It was during this time that Clary's reputation as a no-nonsense physical player was cemented. This lead to the release of his own video, Soccer's Hard Men with Julian Clary. "That video, wot I wrote myself, was all about some of football's biggest, hardest men. I wanted to make a follow up called Even Bigger, Even Harder. What's so fucking funny, you mug?!"
When he was in his mid-twenties, Clary became disillusioned with sport and moved into stand-up. "I was popular in working men's clubs" says Clary. "Real rough places where men were men. I always got a warm hand on my entrance, though." His routines were known for their blue language and lewd desciptions of sexual situations. "Yeah, I'm a bloke who's been around and done lots of stuff with lots of lovely ladies and I wasn't afraid to makes jokes out of that. Some of the guys in there found my stuff hard to swallow" says Clary. "What?!"
Clary's popularity eventually landed him a role on television as one of the acts on Channel 4's Saturday Night Live. "I was pretty amazed that they let me on Channel 4" he says. "Because you know what they say about them: bunch of poofs!" He initially went under the name of "The Joan Collins Fan Club" because, in his own word, he's a "red-blooded male who likes fanny". Eventually this lead to his own gameshow for the channel, Sticky Moments with Julian Clary. "Some people didn't like that show; here I was just trying to do a gameshow for blokes, you know who've come home from the pub, and you got these busybodies complaining about it and saying, and I still can't believe this shite, that I was a poofter! Me!" growls Clary, "What's wrong with this country, eh? I'd like to have a word with them, they'd be left spluttering after I've given them a mouthful. What?!"
Clary ignored the accusations about his sexuality and made further television shows such as All Rise For Julian Clary in which he played the role of a High Court Judge passing humourous judgement on people. "I used to get pretty indignant on that show" says Clary, "because I'm pretty no nonsense. You know me! One time, gawd, this bloke was on and he'd been doing another bloke. In a park! When kids might have been present! Having a late walk at two in the morning! What's wrong wiv this country? I'd like to have gone down there and given them a piece! What?! A piece of my mind!"
From 1998 until 2005 Clary appeared as an actor in a number of Guy Ritchie gangster classics. "Now Guy's posh, but he's a proper bloke's bloke, after all he was shagging Madonna!" says Clary, his kohl-rimmed eyes widening, "So I said to him "Can you send us a script, I might be a good actor". Eventually, Clary received a screenplay for Scary Hard Bastards' Pub. "He shoved it through my letterbox one morning and I completely guzzled it up, I knew that sort of thing was for me." said Clary. "What?". In the film Clary portrayed "Primrose Gaylord", a hard-nosed London gangster who spends his time searching for a large pair of antique duelling pistols. "He was keen to get his hands on that pair of ten-inchers" chuckles Clary. "Guy put some humour in the script, though, not long after Primrose grabs 'em they go off! What a mess!"
In 2004, Clary travelled to Basra in Iraq to perform his stand-up show for British forces. "Those blokes are real men, they don't want some mincing nancy like that Jim Davidson up there with all his poofy jokes. Instead here's Julian, giving them mouthfuls of the men's stuff they're desperate for."
Clary avoids the British talk show circuit. "They say it's good for promotion but I can't tolerate them people what does them" growls Clary. "Especially that Graham Norton, the big woofter. I don't like that sort of thing anyway but the way 'e talks sometimes, the disrespect he shows. If he talked to me like that, right, this is what I'd do: I'd grab 'im, get 'im over the desk and when he's pleadin' for mercy I'd pound his face. Non-stop. That'd shut 'im up, and show what I'm made of. I'd do 'im in front of the cameras and all. Leave 'im dazed and drooling. See how he likes a taste of a real man, the big queer."
British Comedy Awards Controversy
In 1993, Clary made a controversial appearance at the British Comedy Awards live on television in which he joked about anally fisting the then-Chancellor, Norman Lamont. "Now look!" says Clary, "That was taken completely out of context! What I actually said was that I strongly disagreed with the chancellor's economic policy and I challenged him to a fight! I'd had a bit to drink, lager of course, you know me! So I stripped to the waist and said I'd take him any day! Where I'm from we call fighting fisting, I don't care what these media metrosexuals have done to that word! So I tell the audience what had happened and before you know it I'm being accused of... well... of putting my hand into his... no, don't want to even think about it! Disgusting! What's wrong wiv this country?"
Clary writes regular opinion pieces for the conservative British tabloid the Daily Mail, called "Julian's Big Column". "It's no-nonsense stuff" says Clary, "You know me: I like beer, birds and bonking. I've no time for political correctness from the Labour Party and Brussels; there are a lot of people who are shocked at the sight of my column in the Mail." He has been particularly vocal about what he sees as British children being overly "mollycoddled". "It'll make them into soft nancy-boys" he opines. Clary used his column to start a campaign to encourage traditional British boys' pastimes such as conkers. "There's nothing more healthy than seeing boys compare them in the playground" says Clary, wistfully, "there's a lot of respect for the boy with the biggest, hardest one. Seeing them boast and then smack them together, brings a tear to the eye. And to think Tony Blair tried to ban it as "health and safety"!"
In 2010, Clary created controversy by attacking the openly-gay comedian Alan Carr in print in the pages of the Daily Mail. "I know it's not the done thing in this politically-correct namby-pamby modern world" says Clary, filing his nails, "but there are too many poofs like Carr on the television and that isn't right. Some bloke comes home, having worked hard, gives his wife - his wife, not "partner" - a cheeky pinch on the bum - no 'arm done - and then sits down in front of the telly and there's all these poofters talking about doing gay sex before 9pm! It ain't right! People like Alan Carr and Graham Norton. I'd like to see them all pulled-off, in fact I relish the prospect of doing it personally. What is it, you mug?"
A small-time entrepreneur, Clary has a fascination and love for chunky gold rings which he says reflect his "working-class, no-nonsense roots". "There's people who fink jewelery is for women and poofters" he says, fingering a fine, glittering ring with his slim digits, "but there ain't nothing poofy you can say about these is there?"
Clary is a regular on the popular and long-running Radio 4 panel show Just a Minute. "It's not the sort of thing you'd expect a bloke like me to do!" says Clary "It's all la-de-da Cambridge types on there but, you know, Nicholas Parsons gives me one and my tongue and jaws don't stop working until I've satisfied everyone and the whistle blows and audience erupts. Oh just piss off!"
In 2013, Clary was one of a number of celebrities who pledged their support for the controversial British political party UKIP. "When I came out as a kipper, it was difficult at first, I was worried what people would think, especially my parents. But now I've done so I'm so relieved, I feel proud in fact. I'm happy to be identified as one of Farage's men." Clary, for a long time a "natural Conservative supporter" had become disillusioned with the direction David Cameron has taken the party. "I believe that you've got to love and respect the Royal Family, that you do what your boss says, that marriage should always be between a man and a woman, that the bloody Scotch should know their place and remember that they're nuffin without us and that we need to control our borders and stop people coming in, I'm basically a libertarian." Clary said, during an appearance on the BBC's notoriously awful Question Time. "That's why I'm proud to stand up as a UKIP member".