I imagine his mind resembling the cavernous warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, crammed from floor to ceiling with jokes (and the odd religious artefact).
I ask him how many jokes he thinks he’s ever come up with to which he replies ‘I don’t know. A couple of thousand…ish?’
Hang on. Nearly two thousand jokes? Surely not…
When a thousand alone reside in Tim’s joke book and then you take into account the material from his last two shows the numbers quickly stack up.
‘It’s funny, I didn’t really set out for the whole quantity thing – that I tell loads of jokes – it wasn’t something I thought to myself that’s what I wanted to be, ‘the man who tells the most jokes’.’
Yet he became just that in 2004 when he broke the Guinness World Record for the most jokes told in an hour with a staggering 499.
‘I feel like I did that and it was a great thing to do and I got the certificate but someone else has now told more jokes in an hour and it’s not a burning desire of mine to get that record back because I care more about being funny than quick.’
He muses on why he thinks he developed into the one-liner comedian he is:
‘My theory is I’m frightened of the pauses between laughs being too long so that’s why everything gets condensed. I’ve tried writing longer jokes and quite often they just end up getting like that [pushes hands together] until eventually they’re a one liner again.’
By their nature one liners are very self-contained leaving a comedian free to choose where to steer their audience next. But on the other hand without much of a thread it must be a challenge remembering which jokes to recall at the right time…
‘I know you can imagine what my life is like. Flippin’ nightmare!’
He says he can often be found pacing local fields talking to himself, running through his act until it’s firmly sunk in but on stage as soon as the first joke passes his lips the Tim Vine memory machine whirrs into action.
‘I stand on stage thinking what’s next, but that’s the thing – as long as I’ve gone through it enough times I find as I say the joke, I’ll go, you know ‘three cheers for rap music, hip hop…’ and I say it like that and the next one just drops down like that.’
To relax, Tim’s a keen darts player – a fitting sport for a man who can ‘target’ a joke from his immense catalogue at the drop of a hat.
‘I have a board at home and the way I start most days is I switch on the kettle and then I have to do a 501 ending on a double before it boils, it’s my favourite game of the day!’
Any fan of Tim Vine knows he can’t resist the call to flick a pen behind his ear so I ask him if he’s ever mixed the activities up…
‘I can do it with a dart. The reason why I wont do it on stage with a dart (although I have done it with a dart once on stag), is because with all these things you multiply it and it creates disaster. So you think to yourself ok, supposing I do it 80 times on stage at some point I’m going to throw it in my eye or I’m going to take my teeth out or something…I rather not do that…!’
Could make for an interesting finale…
Tim Vine: Punslinger is out now on DVD. Dates for his Joke-amotive tour can be found on his website.