Jasper Carrott, the stage name of Robert Norman Davis OBE, born 14 March 1945, is an English comedian, actor, television presenter, and personality.
Born in Shaftmoor Lane, Acocks Green (which he said sounded like the address for "the home of a professional rapist"), in Birmingham, Carrott was educated at Acocks Green primary school and Moseley School. He worked as a trainee buyer at a city centre department store, the Beehive, with schoolmate Bev Bevan.
Rise to fame
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In February 1969 he started his own folk club, "The Boggery", in nearby Solihull with his friend Les Ward. Carrott performed folk songs and as an MC. His banter overtook the songs and he became more a comedian than singer. He also worked as a musical agent (with John Starkey, who was his manager from 1974 to 1992), as Fingimigig, managing among others Harvey Andrews. He toured UK rugby clubs. He recorded an album in 1973 called Jasper Carrot – In the Club, which he sold from his van. The album contained the original "Magic Roundabout", although mainly material used in his next three LPs (such as "Hare Krishna", "Car Insurance", "Bastity Chelt", and "Hava Nagila") plus the Fred Wedlock song "The Folker".
He had a UK Top 5 chart hit in August 1975 with the novelty record "Funky Moped", written by Chris Rohmann and produced by Jeff Lynne. The B-side was a risqué monologue parodying the children's TV series The Magic Roundabout. This was banned by the BBC, which is widely believed to have contributed to its success, which in turn led to his appearance on the BBC's Top of the Pops.
By the late 1970s, Carrott had developed anecdotal sketches which he still performs 30 years on. Often they purport to be auto-biographical; many celebrate the Birmingham accent and culture, including his support of Birmingham City.
His live performances were recorded as Jasper Carrott Rabbitts on and on and on... and Carrott in Notts. Notable hits were "Bastity Chelt", a song in Spoonerism, "The Football Match" describing a visit to Old Trafford, "The Nutter on the Bus" including the cry "Has anybody seen my camel?"), "The Mole" ("There's only one way to get rid of a mole – blow its bloody head off!") and "Zits" – an explanation of American slang for spots that brought the word into use in Britain.
Birmingham Walk of Stars
In 1979 he published A Little Zit on the Side, a humorous autobiography. The follow-up, Sweet and Sour Labrador, mixed sections of stand-up routines with similar autobiographical material, much of it related to his world travels.
Jasper was one a compère for the Birmingham Heart Beat Charity Concert 1986, which featured local bands such as The Electric Light Orchestra and the The Moody Blues, with a finale that included George Harrison from the Beatles.
On 15 September 2007 he was inducted into the Birmingham Walk of Stars at the Arts Fest 2007 celebrations. The award was presented by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham. Carrott is the second inductee, following Ozzy Osbourne.
Carrott was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the British Comedy Awards on 6 December 2008.
His first appearance on television was a half-hour show for BBC Midlands on 11 August 1975 in a programme about local football called "The Golden Game". Then in 1976, A Half Hour Mislaid with Jasper Carrott recorded at Pebble Mill. His break came two years later when Michael Grade asked for a pilot for LWT. Grade liked it and five further shows were recorded, which became his first TV series, An Audience with Jasper Carrott, in 1978, this partnership with LWT lasted until 1981, The Unrecorded Jasper Carrott (1979) and Beat the Carrott (1981) are the best known live stand-up performances from his time with LWT.
He moved to the BBC forCarrott's Lib, a Saturday night comedy broadcast live, and then a string of BBC shows. The most notable were Carrott's Commercial Breakdown, which broadcast weird adverts from around the world, and the sketch and stand-up shows Carrott Confidential, 24 Carrott Gold, The Jasper Carrott Trial and Canned Carrott, some of which also featured Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis.
Carrott played Heinrich in the 1987 British comedy film, Jane and the Lost City.
Canned Carrott also featured a spoof police drama called The Detectives, co-starring Robert Powell, which turned into a series. In 2002–2004, he starred in the sitcom All About Me.
He performed in several of the Secret Policeman's Ball charity concerts for Amnesty International, and returned to the stage in 2004 at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham featuring classic routines from his career. He returned to singing for the musical Go Play Up Your Own End (written by Malcolm Stent, songs by Harvey Andrews) in 2005.
In 2005, he appeared in and put on the first of Jasper Carrott's Rock With Laughter concerts. He appeared alongside Bill Bailey, Bonnie Tyler, Lenny Henry, Bobby Davro, the Lord of the Dance troupe and Bev Bevan. This became a regular at the NEC in Birmingham, usually in December and sometimes alternating with his "Jasper Carrott's Christmas Crackers" events, but there have also been a few summer shows too.
In summer 2007, Jasper hosted the Endemol-produced game show Golden Balls for ITV1. Promising ratings led to a second series in January 2008. A third series began in April 2008, and a fourth in October 2008. A fifth and six series were shown in 2009.
He hosted the Sunday night national pub quiz, Cash Inn.
He was 20th in Channel 4's 100 Greatest Stand-Up Comedians show.
Carrott has written three humorous autobiographical paperbacks: A Little Zit on the Side (1979), Sweet and Sour Labarador (1982) and Carrott Roots...and Other Myths (1986). He also wrote an odd novel called 'Shop! or A Store is Born'.
Also of interest is a book by Jasper's former manager John Starkey, Jasper and Me (1993; Etsiketsi Books).
Carrott was part-owner of the production company Celador, makers of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? In 2006, he and wife Hazel sold their shares for £10m as part of a management buyout.
Carrott has been married to his wife Hazel (née Jackson), a former local journalist, since 1973. They have two daughters: Lucy Davis (born 1973), an actress best known for playing Dawn Tinsley in The Office; and Jenny Davis.
Carrott is a supporter and former director of Birmingham City FC. He was awarded an OBE in 2002 "for charitable services". The University of Birmingham awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2004, following a similar award from Aston University in 1995.
Carrott lives in Dorridge, close to Solihull. He was a runner and supported Knowle Fun Run through sponsorship and publicity, in 2001 paying several thousand pounds in £10 for each person who beat him. He is also a patron and fundraiser for Sunfield Children's Home, a school for children with autism. The school is in Clent.