Thursday, December 13, 2007

Won't you come home?

Bill Bailey is back on Never mind the Buzzcocks this week. Yay! He's been admirably substituted by The Mighty Boosh's Noel Fielding for a fortnight but you can't beat a bit of Bailey. I've seen several of his live shows and he's never less than excellent.

This reminded me that I entered a competition last year to become a comedy reviewer. The competition, run by the Metro newspaper, asked for a short review of a performance while including something about why I should get the job. So, having just seen two performances of Bill Bailey's Part Troll tour, I wrote the following:

'Experience. That's the thing. I've had 30 years experience of watching comedy acts. Good acts. Mediocre acts. Acts so nuts-shrivellingly bad that they made me want to drive a JCB onto the stage and dig a deep, dank hole to drop the bastard in. And acts so sublime that I seriously considered changing my sexual preference because nothing says 'well done' like tongues.

As for me? My name's Stevyn Colgan. I'm not as tall as I'd like. Not as slim as I'd like. Just a short tubby bag of disappointment really. But I have enough energy to power a small moonbase and balls enough to blag my way into places I probably shouldn't be allowed. I've met a lot of comedians and a lot of people who think that they're comedians ... and I can usually pick a winner. I saw Ross Noble when he was still bleach bottle-blonde and acting as the warm-up man during the recording of Hippies at the BBC. I raved about him afterwards to my friends and family. I saw Jimmy Carr at his Comedy Store debut and I knew that he'd be big (other than just his face). Trust me - I'm your man. Your short, fat man who knows good comedy when he sees it. And I know that Bill Bailey’s live show is seriously good comedy.

Anyone who decides to open their new show with a lengthy discourse on entropy and how the universe is slowly but surely crawling its way towards inevitable heat-death is either (a) extremely brave, or (b) monumentally stupid. Or (c) Bill Bailey. I can't think of another comedian - except maybe Ricky Gervais - who could have pulled it off. But he did. Oh yes. Because Bill Bailey is clever. He's extraordinarily clever, flitting happily between subjects as diverse as George Bush, swimming with dolphins, texting and why people with west country accents can't sing love songs without batting a strangely googly eyelid. And as if you still needed convincing how clever he is, he intersperses his monologues with his self-penned songs, swapping between keyboards and guitar with confidence and skill. Highlights included 'I will not look at titties for a year' - a song that Johnny Cash might have written if he'd decided to give up wank mags for charity, and the 'Hokey Cokey' as performed by a Kraftwerk tribute group.

'Part-Troll' is just as good as his previous 'Bewilderness' and ‘Cosmic Jam’ tours. I've seen the show at two very different venues and he adapted the material perfectly for the different stages and audiences. The songs didn't work quite as well as previous hits like 'Midnight in Parliament Square' or his seminal 'Magic Roundabout’ but the stand-up material is more mature, much funnier and weirder than ever. Like a good wine, Bailey gets better with age.

If only his hairstyle did the same.'


I didn't win.

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