V CABARET l
live from orwich
. The press hated him. Kenneth Williams seemed to detest him. even those mild-mannered Goodies couldn‘t resist a dig. yet Nicholas Parsons has been a survivor in showbiz-land for almost four decades. After gracing the official festival in 1990. Parsons is bringing his one-man show to the Fringe this year. He feels that his experience in the business means that he will have ' no trouble filling the two-hour slot.
‘I worked with a lot ofthe top comedians.‘ he claims. ‘with them all in fact — Tony Hancock. Benny Hill (1’). Ken Dodd. Norman Wisdom (‘.".’). Charlie Drake ('.".".’). There‘s a 5 lot of anecdotes to be told.’
Of course. when he worked with the ‘greats‘. Parsons was usually the butt ofthe joke. But his role as stooge goes back even further than that. for before university he cut an incongruous figure in the ‘rough and tumble of the Clydebank shipyards'. His public school education and that
infamous accent set him aside somewhat from the other engineers. The thick skin for which he is I renowned started to develop but ! there do seem to be cracks appearing.
'lt never gets to me when professional colleagues set me up.‘ he says. ‘If it‘s funny you‘ve got to laugh. haven‘t you? It‘s when people ‘ make snide remarks. and they say
unpleasant things without being
? funny that it gets to me. In fact l‘ve
; just read something in the paper today and this person is still having a ; go at me about Sale oft/1e Century.
Everybody is entitled to express an opinion but he didn‘t say. "I didn‘t like the way Nicholas Parsons
handled Sale ofthe Century." he E said. “I didn‘t like Nicholas
Parsons." One critic once wrote “Is Nicholas Parsons a schizophrenic. I listen to him on Just a Minute and I thoroughly enjoy his performance. But I watch him on Sale ofthe Century and I hate him." ' The foibles of the press. eh Nicholas‘.’ Parsons is in no doubt that he must remain a victim if he is to survive and
Nicholas Parsons he also lets slip a remark which makes it clear that he has been an inspiration to even the most avant-garde comics. ‘The show. the success of the show is all important. not my personal pride. if the show is successful we all go on working. Your showbiz instinct tells you when is a good time to come back at a remark and when is a moment to let it lie.‘ Yes indeed. but what‘s at the end of the stick. Nick‘.’ (Philip Parr)
I An Evening With Nicholas Parsons (Fringe). The Queen‘s l lall (Venue 72)668 2019. 21 Aug. 10.30pm.
; .£6.5()(£4.5()):22 Aug.7.3()pm.£7
' Hicks from
' the sticks
To match the hype and build-up
lavished on his first visit to Edinburgh, American comedian Bill Hicks will have to be something very special indeed. The publicity machine has gone into overdrive, attempting to
f convince us that Hicks will be this
year’s big thing, cutting a swathe
through the bland comedy on offer.
: Maybe he will rise to the occasion and
leave his rivals trailing, or maybe the
weight of expectations will mean he
proves a disappointment.
I At the Montreal Just For Laughs
Festival, Hicks was the hit of a
l programmethatincluded Mary
Tyler-Moore and Roseanne Barr. One
critic went so far as to say, ‘Hicks may
Bruce‘. Hicks shares Bruce's fascination with the hypocrisy and ridiculousness of the powerful, and is effective at undermining all-American
be the closest thing we‘ve got to Lenny i
Bill Hicks attitudes. His set at Montreal featured plenty of strong satirical material about the Gulf War, a topic which British
comics, with a few exceptions, have yet to address effectively.
This was a marked development from Hicks' earlier ‘Dangerous' set, where
i the pointed attacks on social and
governmental failings were weakened
by a fondness for picking on soft targets. Like P.J. O’Rourke, and to an extent Denis Leary, his wit is
I sometimes tempered by a callousness that stops the laugh in yourthroat. He has a contempt for people in menial jobs, the unintelligent or closed-minded that is unattractiver arrogant. Some of the victims of his abuse are too obvious to be funny. Calling George Michael a ‘woman', and revealing violent sexual fantasies about pop singer Debbie Gibson, showed a libertarian streak that wandered into the realms of misogyny and homophobia. These last bits have fortunately been dropped, but it remains to be seen whether Hicks has replaced them with more worthy objects of derision. ‘There are new villains in the world,’ he says, ‘—Iike Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer.‘ Few of us would disagree with that, but Hicks is probably at his best when doing a steady and relentless assault on the smug, the repressive and the downright evil, rather than on naff pop stars. (Tom Lappin) Bill Hicks (Fringe) Assembly/Wildcat at The Meadows (Venue 116) 220 4349,
21-31 Aug, 10.15pm, £6.50 (£5).
Philip Parrfinds five good reasons to stay out late.
I Lily Savage Our Lil weaves effortlessly in and out of script to provide a sublime yet raucous evening‘s entertainment. The Live Experience— Lily Savage (Fringe) Assembly Rooms ( Venue 3) 220 4349, until 31 Aug. midnight, [6/17 ((5/16).
1,- . A
I Etcetera 101 things to do with a briefcase and literally thousands ofways to bemuse an audience. from this Australian combo.
(Fringe) Etcetera, The Assembly Rooms ( Ven ue 3) 220 4349, until}! Aug (not20,27), 11.45pm, £6/f7 (IS/£0).
I Gilhooly and Soan in Love Two Iovestruck young impressionables with. respectively. a neat line in Page 3 poses and a steel plate in the skull. Unexpectedly brilliant stand-up.
(ii/hooly and .S'oan in Love (Fringe). The Pleasance ( Venue 33 ) 556 6550, anti/31 Aug (not 29). 10.15pm, £5/£5.50 (£4/£4.40).
I Solitude Theatre Banialuka from Poland present a surreal puppet show featuring actors alongside the plaster models.
Solitude (Fringe) Theatre Bania/uka. Traverse Theatre (Venue 15). 226 2633, anti/3] Aug (not Mons ), I 0. I 5pm. £8 (£4).
IJeremy HardyOK. it'sa l fair cop. we list him every | year but then he is the best i and ifanything is pulling away from the field. Better go easy on those social revolution jokes now though. Jeremy Hardy (Fringe). The Assembly Rooms (Venue3) 220 434‘), 20—24 Aug (710123). [1.15pm. | [6.501750 (£5.50 [0.50). I
. In the naked
city, there are
‘ plenty ofthem are going on , past midnight. ’ Afferthal,
The List lb— 33 August lWl 53