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‘I can pull a face or do a funny walk’
Here at UKMums.TV we love a giggle as well as any opportunity to talk parenthood, so we couldn’t pass up the chance to chat with comedian Mark Dolan. Best known as host of Channel 4’s comedy series Balls of Steel, he’s a married 42-year-old dad with two sons aged seven and 10. He’s currently preparing for this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe and a big date this month, Father’s Day.
“I’m proud to be a dad,” says Mark, who won Celebrity Come Dine With Me in 2014. He’s obviously handy in the kitchen! “I think having children is a real gift for comics because kids have a huge appetite for fun, and comedy helps in most situations when children are sensitive and nothing seems to work. I can pull a face or do a funny walk. I think humour is a survival tool for all of life, especially in difficult times.”
He’s fronted three hit series of globetrotting documentaries for C4 and would be delighted if his boys followed in his funnyman footsteps one day. “I’m excited to see my children develop their own sense of humour,” confesses Mark, who says he was the shy and self-conscious clumsy kid in school."
‘I’d be proud if my children were the funniest in class’
“A teacher once described my eldest as the funny kid," he adds. "Some parents would be proud if their children won all the races at sports day, read all the books. I’d be proud if my sons were the funniest in class.”
He’s recently hosted the TV hit ‘If Katie Hopkins Ruled The World’ with the controversial columnist dubbed Britain’s most hated woman. Each episode sparked a media storm. He has also recorded a radio series with Katie Price. Mark jokes that he’s now beginning to run out of controversial Katies to work with, although he does have a bid in with the Duchess of Cambridge!
After a year-long break, Mark returns to the Edinburgh Festival in August to perform Life Hacks. Billed as his most personal show to date, it promises to be confessional, outrageous and marriage-threateningly honest. The show sees him bestow the audience with advice he has gleaned from reading countless self-help books, an obsession which started when he and his wife first became parents.
“We didn’t know what we were doing,” he recalls, “and books by Gina Ford, controversial as she is, and Secrets of The Baby Whisperer became our Bibles.”
‘The best Father’s Day gifts are the stuff they’ve made at school’
Just like other dads, Father’s Day is a highlight for Mark every year. “It’s like another birthday, and I’m all about the presents,” he says. But as a hands-on dad, Mark’s also familiar with the harsh realities of parenthood, as he remembers the loneliness of pushing a child in a swing on a blustery day when no-one else is around, thinking: “Is this the best thing about my life at the moment?”
Though he adds: “I feel very lucky to be a parent. Being woken up by the boys jumping on the bed, prising my eyes open. I wouldn’t swap that for all the money in the world, not for all the tea in China.”
UKMums.TV wishes you a happy Father’s Day, Mark!
See him perform Life Hacks at the Gilded Balloon in Edinburgh from August 6th – 28th (except 16th). Performances start at 8pm.