We meet Brummie comedian pun champ Lovdev Barpaga - you'll be amazed at his one-liners

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From supporting good causes at the Belly Laughs Comedy Festival in Birmingham to being named the UK’s pun champ - Lovdev Barpaga is full of one liners

Lovdev Barpaga – a man with more one-liners than a Christmas cracker warehouse – belly-laughs loudly, then spits out another joke. 

They come in machine-gun fire succession, flung at such speed a recipient near flinches before them. 

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“Performed a gig for an audience of caviar and couldn’t believe it when I was heckled by the front roe,” smirked the 46-year comedian. After a handful of minutes with Kingstanding’s Lovdev it’s apparent why he was crowned 2017’s pun champ. Very apparent. 

He won the UK Pun Off contest in a boxing ring in Leicester’s De Montfort Hall and entered the fray under the guise of “Pun Jabby Warrior”. “I should’ve won it for the name alone,” he said. 

This month Lovdev is unleashing his brand of humour in venues around Birmingham as part of Belly Laughs, a charity comedy and food initiative. His “Half Soaked” show, a mix of stories and one-liners, hits Leicester Comedy Festival on February 18.

At times, I felt Lovdev was using me to test the waters. “My mother can’t stop talking about her spinach curry,” he said. “The Saag-a continues.” Lovdev has been busy, very busy, since being named King Punster – last year he performed before 700 at a top festival. “They didn’t come to see me,” he laughed, “they came to see Jack Dee, but there were still 700.” 

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Lovdev BarpagaLovdev Barpaga
Lovdev Barpaga | Mike Lockley

But he still has treasured memories of the night he knocked ‘em dead at De Montfort Hall. His repertoire included such gems as: I think my Colombian neighbour is a drugs lord, but I just cartel and, If a bullfighter dies, does it Matador? 

His routine has developed, even matured, since. He tells stories rather than mount wave upon wave of pun attacks. “At the Birmingham Comedy Festival I did my first show of just stories and I was really pleased with it,” he said. “Now I mix it up.” 

The journey has also been controversial. He issued an apology on twitter in 2001 after making a joke, dubbed “highly offensive”, about Jewish people.  Such are the pitfalls of adopting an “I don’t take myself seriously, so others shouldn’t” approach to life. 

He joined the hardest showbiz profession while working as a carer in 2003. Lovdev was urged by one individual he was helping to take part in a stand-up event at the Midlands Arts Centre. He did and loved every second. 

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“I get a lot of inspiration from my mother,” he said. “She doesn’t realise she’s funny, but she is. My wife came to watch me once and said she’d done enough. I don’t think the wife sees me as funny. 

“I always have the nerves and I think it’s good to have them. I like them. You don’t perform well if you have an attitude of, I don’t care. It does occasionally go horribly wrong. It can be the sound system, the lighting – there are so many elements that can make for a bad night. 

“Someone described me as the Asian Ken Goodwin (an ever present on TV in the 1970s) and I love that. I’d never heard of him, but watched clips and he’s like me. We both laugh at our own jokes.” 

Lovdev’s next ambition is to appear on TV – and he almost made it courtesy of Britain’s Got Talent. “I got four ‘yeses’ at the first audition,” he said. “David Walliams said, ‘you are very, very likeable on stage’. But I got flu and couldn’t go back. They told me I hadn’t got through, but I think that was because I didn’t go back.” 

We inevitably ended the interview with a farewell joke. “Took the missus on holiday last year and a sheikh asked, ‘how many camels for your  wife?’ I  said, ‘just the one packet’.” I got my coat. 

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