If you think HARRY HILL is hot on telly, you should see his live show. The

List caught up with the badger-loving ex- doctor's performance

in London. And it's a winner. Words: Mark Robertson

WHAT MAKES HARRY HILL FUNNY? Sure. he's an odd looking fella. cutting a rug in his tight. dark suit and brothel creepers. topped with a starched white. over-sized collar. but looking like some specky. quiffless teddy boy isn‘t going to keep paying punters entertained for an hour and a halfevery night is it‘.’

Hill‘s skill is to take the mundane (tea time witlt mum. whales). shoot it right past the extraordinary and land it splat in the middle of the bloody ridiculous (tea time becomes a (il'(’(lf Escape-ster mission of spoon manipulation. while whales crave summer's day frozen treats). He‘s as observational as the next gagmonger but his delivery is such that only the likes of Steven Wright. Emo Phillips and Lee livans come anywhere near.

The live Harry Hill and the TV Harry Hill beasts. Those familiar with him through his

be surprised by the energy and scope of his live

‘5 are two very different I Channel 4 TV show will

performances. Live devotees.

disappointed with the inconsistent nature of the TV series. will be delighted to see a swifter. wilder Hill at work with a stripped-down. more fluid structure allowing him the space to do what he does best: a good comic ramble.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in his latest live show. Bird.vtrik<’.’. a surreal melange of banter. blether and music. Once again his backing band. dynamic duo the Caterers. are ready to burst into tune at the drop of a badger and on hand to fling in more than the odd sound effect.

Hill has successfully created a whole new range of catchphrases and hook lines about everything from the aforementioned sweet-toothed whales to shredded wheat and disappearing soap. There is neither a ‘goal!‘ nor a ‘what are the chances of that happening." uttered all night.

His obsession with Channel 4 news anchorwoman Zeinab Badawi has abated and the badgers. those wayward striped snufflers. who so often have been the apple of his eye and the batte of his existence. have been given the heave-ho. Tasmin Archer badger and Gareth Southgate badger who were regulars on Hill's TV show have shuffled back to their set. His fascination for tinned fish continues. however. the much-maligned sild. being a continued favourite. All of which is a

20 THE llST 30 Nov-14 Dec 2000

satisfying indication that. while none of this makes any logical sense. Hill does not have to resort to familiar material to please a crowd. While Hill's on-stage extended family are absent this time around. his feline sidekick. Stouffer the cat. is still mewing in the wings. It is with Stouffer. the small blue creature with the peculiar South African/Jamaican accent. that Hill is at his most

Crackwjm'k-ian. echoing the shenanigans of

Bernie Clifton or Rod Hull. The enviable difference between him and Hull and Clifton is that he is actually funny. It‘s a measure of his mainstream popularity that earlier this year he made an appearance as Morrissey on lTV‘s ridiculous but compulsive Stars In Their Eyes. Suitably out of place on this Saturday prime time tack-fest. he jostled for space with Kirsty Young and teen stars from Emmett/ale to deliver an unhinged

interpretation of ‘This Charming Man‘.

It is fitting that the comedian should pick the Manc melodramatist

as his karaoke choice.

Morrissey too was an outsider who. forever at odds with the times. harked back to the past in the process of creating something very new. The Smiths found commercial success and critical acclaim through sticking to their guns pretty much all the way. Hill has done the same. As much of this would reaffirm. Harry Hill is a very funny man. He is a unique mix of new and old. an Eric Morecambe so evolved that he no longer needs an Ernie Wise. But he also harks back to the music hall age of one-liners topped with absurd sound effects and comic props. He blends into this. rapid fire deliveries of contemporary reference like no other of our current comics. Who else could have a blue plastic cat puppet singing Moby songs‘.’

Harry Hill plays the Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow on Fri 1 Dec. Birdstrike! the video is out now on P‘l’ Video, priced £15.99.

Mark Robertson flew to London with easylet.com. You can book flights on-line at easyJet.com. easylet flies Edinburgh and Glasgow to London Luton and Edinburgh to Amsterdam from 5 January 2001.