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“If my trousers fell down now it would be funny” An exclusive interview with David Walliams

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Here at The Beano, we absolutely love David Walliams.

He’s hilarious on Britain’s Got Talent and his books – including Gangsta Granny and Ratburger – are brilliant.

So we were thrilled to have the chance to meet up with David recently and put some questions from our Talent Spotters to him.

And we were even more excited to find out he is just as big a fan of The Beano as we are of his!

Here’s what David had to say…

 

What book will you write next? (from Kamiyah, 10)

Well, I’m writing The World’s Worst Children 3 at the moment. I’m just putting the finishing touches to that, and that is going to be out in May.

So now I’ve created 30 World’s Worst Children. 30 stories!

Actually, The Beano was a bit of an inspiration really, because I read The Beano when I was a kid.

I loved the Bash Street Kids and Minnie the Minx, and Dennis the Menace and Lord Snooty.

I loved all those characters, and they’re actually not dissimilar to the sort of thing I’m trying to do with World’s Worst Children.

 

Why did you pull your pants down on live TV? (from Rosie, nine)

I didn’t pull my pants down! I pulled my trousers down. And I did it because I’m basically a child and I thought it would be funny.

Because I was dancing in front of Simon Cowell on the desk, and I thought, “How can I somehow embarrass him further and ruin his life?”. That’s basically what I live for.

And I thought, “If my trousers fell down now it would be funny.” So they kind of fell down. If my pants fell down, that would be different.

 

What is your favourite book that you’ve written? (from Callum, 11 and Asena, nine)

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. And I let this lady, JK Rowling, get the credit for it. And I just want to know when she’s going to give me the money.

 

What inspired you to be an author? (from Meredith, 11)

I had a story that was rattling around in my brain, which is what would happen if a boy went to school dressed as a girl?

And it wouldn’t go away, and I kept on thinking about it. And I thought, “Well, I’d better write it down, otherwise I’ll just keep on thinking about it.”

So it really just started with having a story in my head.

 

Your books remind me of Roald Dahl. Were you inspired by him? (from Ace, 11)

Definitely! He is the greatest children’s author of all time. He wrote so many different books, all really different from each other.

Wherever I go in the world and talk about children’s books, everyone knows Roald Dahl, everyone knows Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and it feels like it was written yesterday.

And even though it was written more than 50 years ago, I think it will still be read in 50 years, 500 years, 5,000 years.

 

Why do you always bully Simon on BGT? (Ace, 11)

I think we’re like two brothers – brothers who love and hate each other in equal measure.

He once said to me, “You’re only happy when I’m unhappy, and I’m only happy when you’re unhappy.” And I thought that was probably true.

So it’s not really bullying, I think it’s just winding each other up, and he winds me up quite a lot.

It’s quite easy to wind him up, because he has got so many things you can make fun of with him.

 

How do make your books so funny? (Max, 10)

I try and make myself laugh. Before you make anyone else laugh, you’ve got to try and make yourself laugh.

I know that sounds strange, because you will be sat there on your own, writing a book, laughing to yourself, and people would think you’ve gone nuts, but actually that’s the best thing.

So if you want to write a funny book, you’ve got to think about what makes you laugh. You can’t really second guess what other people laugh at.

 

What’s it like being on the set of BGT? (Asena, nine)

It’s fun! It’s like a circus. It feels like the circus has come to town and it’s bizarre, because there’s thousands of people waiting outside for you, all waving and calling your name.

I love getting back together with everyone – Ant and Dec, Amanda, Alisha and Simon, and Stephen Mulhern. We’re like a family.

And also it’s nice because it’s been the same line-up for a long time, so it’s not like, “Hang on, how are we going to get on with this new person?”

 

Where do you get your ideas from? (Callum, 11, Lola, 11, and Max, 10)

I get them from all around me! You’ve got to keep your eyes and ears open if you want to be a writer, because you never know when a good idea might come along.

My own granny gave me the idea for Gangsta Granny; I used to think she was boring until I asked her about her life in World War II, and she had all these incredible stories.

The character of Burt in Ratburger was based on a contestant on BGT, who ate live cockroaches. And I thought, “Ooh, what else might be do? Might he turn rats into burgers?”

So stories are all around us all the time; the writer is the person who plucks them out of the air. So you’ve just got to keep listening and looking the whole time.