Have you found your attitudes to disability changing since Joe Egg?
My understanding of the difficulties and the stresses of working with disability has increased enormously. Also I have observed the fact that people tend not to know anything about disability, unless someone in their close family is disabled. Society's attitude toward disability seems little changed from 1967, when the play first opened.
Do you ever get the urge to go into your stand-up act when you're acting?
No I prefer to have bizarre conversation with people behind desks (in hotels, at airports, in shops).
Who's the most underrated comedian right now?
Phil Kay is not necessarily the most underrated comedian, but I would like to see him rated even more.
You were involved in the recent Amnesty International concert. Are you against the war in Afghanistan?
With Amnesty I was campaigning for the freedom of prisoners of conscience held by oppressive, undemocratic regimes. I am also for the use of armed forces against the extremist Taliban regime, who were responsible for the imprisonment of prisoners of conscience, quite apart from their barbaric attitude towards women and their sheltering of Bin Laden and his network. I see no conflict here.
You have said that sexuality is like a ruler--gay and straight at either ends and bisexuality in the middle. Where would you put yourself on that scale?
I didn't quite say that. I think it is a continuous line from male to female and I think we are all somewhere along that line. As I am an action transvestite, I travel up and down the line in a big car.
You will be playing an undercover, cross-dressing agent alongside Friends star Matt LeBlanc in the film All the Queen's Men. What was the appeal of that script?
I call myself an "action transvestite" and in this film I was going to play a 1940s action transvestite. After the fear I had to deal with when I first came out as a transvestite in 1985, I never thought things could get this chilled!
Ever had stage fright?
I had stage fright in 1985/86 when I was street performing, but doing it very badly. A year or so later I improved enough to stop being scared.
Were you surprised that so many reviewers commented on your nudity in Lenny? Are there double standards when it comes to men and women stripping off on stage?
There are not an awful lot of nude comedians, so suddenly getting your kit off and leaping on Elizabeth Berkley in front of 800 people is a left turn.
Charlie Chaplin--how much practising in front of the mirror for that role?
I decided to dump all that I knew of him from the screen and just play him as a man who wants to get Marion Davies into the sack.