David Baddiel on God, gags and being trolled – 'It hurts and then I think: material!'

The comedian has written his first play – on whether science can prove that the Almighty exists. But first, there are some hecklers to deal with …

Schrödinger’s cat can be both alive and dead – so surely David Baddiel can be both a comedian and a playwright? When, in 2014, he launched his first solo comedy venture in 15 years, Fame: Not the Musical, he reports: “I had a constant struggle. People were saying ‘I’m coming to your play’, ‘I’ve heard great things about your play.’” Maybe it was because he’d chosen a theatre venue (the Menier Chocolate Factory in London) to premiere the show, but “ I would constantly have to say, ‘It’s not a play – it’s a one-man show.’” Baddiel is a comedian, to his fingertips. “I found it threatening to my identity,” he says now.

He pauses, draws breath, and then: “But now I have written a play.” That’s why we’re back at the Menier, where God’s Dice is being prepped for its stage debut. The show is the 55-year-old’s first proper play: it’s not a one-man show, and he’s not performing in it. The droll fiftysomething role has been offered to fellow standup Alan Davies, of Jonathan Creek fame – now cast as a physics lecturer who co-authors a book with his Christian student, proving the Bible’s miracles to be scientifically possible. For a religious readership, it’s manna from heaven. Henry is hailed as the new messiah – to the chagrin of his Dawkins-alike celebrity atheist wife.

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