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Bill Bailey is a big, hairy, cosmic bloke with a guitar. And guess what, he’s funny. Craig Mclean didn’t take drugs with him and still got spaced out.
Twas not a promising prospect: late- night stand-up show in attic-cum-oven at the Gilded Balloon featuring bloke who used to be in so-called comedy duo The Rubber Bishops. Said stand-up show involves strategic use of piano and — gulp -— guitar. Said bloke looks like llawkwind roadie. We are not. surely, long for this audience.
And then Bill Bailey strides purposefully onto the stage-cum-few- pushed-rogerher-boxes. launches into his Cosmic Jam. and is bloody hilarious. There are thumb-nail sketches about Glastonbury that avoid the usual aren‘t-hippies-crap patter. exercises in musical archaeology that ﬁnd the Chas ‘n‘ Dave inﬂuence in all known music (and not just in Blur). and a blinding metaphysical extrapolation of the two-rnen-walk-into-a-pub routine. From such an acorn an entire comedy forest was sprouted.
That was last year‘s Fringe and Bill Bailey's Cosmic Jam. But Bill! No Glastonbury this year! Chas ‘n' Dave
Bill Bailey: looks like a llawkwlnd roadie but is bloody hilarious
have been eclipsed by drum ‘n' bass! Two men don‘t go into pubs any more. etc. etc.
‘Yeah. slim pickings on the inspiration front.‘ muses Bailey between mouthfuls ofchicken bum’to. mere minutes before a pre-Edinburgh show at London‘s Battersea Arts Centre. ‘I did go to Tribal Gathering though. It wasn’t really a Glastonbury vibe at all — it was all London clubbers going up to a field. They looked a bit lost.’ 80 this year?
‘So this year I‘m looking at language. philosophy. jokes through the ages. From the very first joke ever told. right through tojokes in the future. how they'll shape up.‘ Sounds great.
But Bill. Your stuff. It is. essentially the comedy of a stoner. ‘Yeah. Um. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. I suppose it is. I'm
trying to reconstruct the actual sensation of. you know. a mind-altered state without the . . . sort of. . . nonsense.‘
And without the illegality. ‘Well. quite frankly. yes. You listen to stoned people wittering on and it is . . .drivel. blether. What I try to do is make that entertaining. It's got the space in it. It‘s got the leaps of imagination. But without the boring. endless chat. Hopefully it'sjust . . .'
Then Bill Bailey forgets what he's talking about. feels really really hungry. and starts wittering on about old episodes of Star Trek?“
Bill Bailey (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2468. 9—3/ Aug (not [3. 29). 9pm. £8.50/£7.50/£4.50 (£7.50/£6.50/£3.50).
Dylan Moran ls lndisposed
Dylan Moran is convinced this year’s show will be better than last year’s. At least it will when he’s iinished writing it. If he iinishes writing it. ‘vaiously I’d like to have most oi it written but some oi it is going to be ad-libbed,’ he says in a voice which always suggests a combination oi lack oi sleep and alcoholic indulgence.
ibis laid back approach has done nothing to harm Moran’s relatively charmed entry into the world oi comedy. Still only 24, he won the prestigious So You Think You’re Funny? competition at 21 aiter playing only a handiul oi gigs in his native Ireland. lie then went quiet ior a couple oi years but stormed back
Dylan Moran: he’s back, but he can’t promise to brush his iringe
into the spotlight last year with a sell-out Fringe run. Whether this was down to word oi mouth approval or the careiully chosen poster oi him peering out endearineg Bambi-eyed
irom under a iloppy iringe is debatable but, either way, audiences weren’t disappointed.
Moran’s rambling style charms the punters, and though his sell- coniessed appalling memory (‘I iorget how things begin and I iorget how they end and l iorget what the middle bit is’) results in some oi his anecdotes going awry, like Eddie Izzard, to whom he’s oit compared, he has the charisma to pull it oii. lie doesn’t mind the comparison, so long as people don’t think his act is derivative. And it’s not. Whereas lzzard’s ramblings are surreal, Moran’s have a sleepy earthiness to them.
On stage he comes over as a cross between Oscar Wilde and Dave Allen - ioppish loucheness combined with the promise oi drunken excess and an indisputed air oi genius. (Catherine Pound)
Dylan Moran ls Indisposed (Fringe) Dylan Moran, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, 9—31 Aug (not 12, 29) 9.15pm, £7. 5M6.50 (£6. 5045. 50).
I kill O’HCIIIOI There was this bloke who played Father Dougal in Father Ted. And he was really good in it. And he was also a stand-up. And everyone went to see him at the Fringe because he was even funnier than in Father Ted. And tickets are selling fast so get yours. now. See feature. Ardal O'Hanlon (Fringe) Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2/5]. 9—3/ Aug (not /2. [9. 25. 27). 8.45pm (25 Aug. 7.30pm). £7.50 (£6.50).
I John Cooper Clarke The punk poet from Salford is not dead. And judging by a recent gig on Glasgow Green. the street-smart. safety-pin-sharp humour is far from blunted. See preview.
John Cooper Clarke At The Music Box (Fringe) The Music Box (Venue 50) 220 484 7. l 2-26 Aug. 8.30pm. £6 (£5).
I Jenny Eclair (Wig Dn, Teeth In) The baddest girl in comedy is back with last year‘s Perrier Award in one hand and a packet of cheap fags in the other. Can she live up to l995‘s class act? Well. the wig‘s on and the teeth‘re in so the answer's probany yes.
Jenny Err/air (Wig 0n. Teeth In) (Fringe) Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. 9—25 Aug. 9. 20pm. £8.50/[8 (£7.50/f7).
Queen is Hall Special (Fringe) Queen 3‘ Hall (Venue 72) 668 20/9. [0.30pm. £l0/[8/f6.
I Scott Capurro - The Doctor Is On The camp San Franciscan stand-up. I995 Perrier Award ﬁnalist and chief contender for Jenny Eclair‘s Queen Of Comedy title. is back in the running with a new character comedy about a radio shrink and some rather cute naked publicity shots.
Scott Capurro — The Doctor Is On (Fringe) I’leasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. 9—26 Aug (not Tue). 9.45pm. £8.50/f7..50/£5
( £7. 50/£6. 50).
THE LIST’S TIPS FOR THE BEST SHOWS 8PM-1DPM
The List 9- l5 Aug l996 53