ENTERTAINMENT
21/11/2013 07:17 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 16:01 GMT

Jack Dee Back With 'So What' Tour, After A Five-Year Break From Comedy Stand-Up

Jack Dee reveals that his worst ever social gaffe came at a funeral.

The confession comes as he is discussing the merits of small talk, a dinner party art the straight-faced comedian claims to be surprisingly good at...

"I can chat, I'm very amenable," he explains (unsmilingly). "I don't follow sport, so that cuts me out of 60% of all conversations. It has to be specific really... so I guess it's not really small talk. Or I can be really interested in a small detail, so that makes people back off, and I'm on my own again," he finishes, happily.

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Jack Dee - alone again, happily...

"One of my problems, I take responsibility for situations like that. If people aren't chatting, I feel I need to do something, and that can be a bad mistake often."

Warming to his theme, Jack reveals the social disaster which still haunts him, and which came, horror of horrors, at a graveside...

"Everyone standing around silently. It was much too long, and it was getting cold, and I genuinely thought if I made a move, other people could too," he remembers ruefully.

"I said the one thing you don't want to say, I clapped my hands and said 'good'. It was the rubbing of the hands that was so bad. The sentiment was right, of course."

As ever with Jack Dee, it can be hard to tell, as, with his deadpan face and sharp suit, he's cornered the market in portraying somebody who'd rather be anywhere else but here - most successfully of course, when he won the first 'Celebrity Big Brother', AFTER trying to make a genuine bolt for the door.

Now, after five years away, he's back with a new stand-up tour on DVD, this routine inspired by another strange facet of human interaction...

"It tickled me one day what a negative thing it is to say 'so what?' and I built it from there. The idea came to me of saying it more often to people, to get people to think more about what they're saying."

For example?

'I've been to Cornwall on my holiday.' 'I've been there too.' 'So what?' The idea being to make people think a bit more about what they're saying," he explains.

This sounds a tad confrontational? He nods in full agreement.

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Jack Dee - back on the stand-up circuit after five years away, as deadpan and confrontational as ever

"It's very confrontational, and what nearly always happens is that towards the end of the show someone from the audience will always shout it out, so the audience can throw it back at me, and I'm stumped. That's a bit rude, but I don't mind. It throws you, but it's just words.

"And often, it's quite a good device for untangling what is and what isn't relevant in your life," he reflects.

Jack's lugubrious face is an increasingly familiar one after his stints on 'CBB', 'Live at the Apollo' as well as all the panel shows he invariably ends up stealing. Can he still indulge in his own brand of observational comedy with so many eyeballs on him, I wonder?

"I'm not that famous," he argues. "I can go to the supermarket. I make a point of using public transport as much as I can, I don't want to live a life where I can't do that.

"Anyway, my wife notices it much more than me. Everyone's texting everyone, so I can observe them while they're observing me. There's that bloke off the telly... so what?"

Jack Dee's 'So What' DVD is out now from Universal. Watch a clip of Jack in action below...