The Arches, Glasgow, Tue 20 & Wed 21 Nov.

John Hegley is in the middle of a four month UK tour and I can’t help but thinking he’s fed up doing interviews. After a fairly unproductive ten minute telephone conversation which involves the most literal to the point of obtuse answers imaginable, he perks up after my last question. ‘Ellis, is that a Scottish name?’ ‘How are you finding life at The List?’ Ah, that’s better.

The comic poet has carved out a cosy niche for himself in the alternative comedy circuit and his bizarre concoction of playful ditties are energetically performed and eccentrically delivered, even to the point of dancing, if rumour is to be believed. ‘There is dancing, of course there’s dancing. How can you go on and be an entertainer if you’re capable of dancing and not dance? If you’re on stage for an hour and a half it would be scandalous. And sandalless if you were Jesus.’

Playful ditties four your eyes only

Listening to Hegley fool around with words, you soon realise that seeing words as the mere building blocks of language is a limited and boring perspective. He is an avant-garde, free-form language sculptor capable of moulding delicate nuances in semantics and meaning together with chance encounters into hilarious verse. And that’s just on paper. Live he has a back catalogue of his inimitable poems as the raw materials to create a masterpiece, but it is the audience who provides the canvas on which it can be drawn.

Edinburgh festival goers this year may have witnessed the combined genius of Hegley and fellow surrealist visionary Simon Munnery in Hegley’s Journals. Following the show’s popular and critical acclaim, Hegley is taking a one-man version on the road. The show chronicles some of Hegley’s strange experiences on his travels around the world which have inspired him to write, and I can’t help wondering if there is an element showing off in his performance. ‘Well I suppose you can’t stand up on stage and not show off,

can you?’ says Hegley. ‘I hope it’s more about showing some side of other cultures that is of interest to people. Like Colombia, I thought Colombia was worth praise other than the press it gets. Hotels have pencils and condoms and whisky in them, hotel rooms with candles, and you don’t get that sort of thing in England, or in Scotland either.’

Hegley likes Scotland too, but for quite different reasons: ‘New Galloway was lovely; really, really nice, and they made me visiting poet laureate of the Glen Kens. And they gave me a certificate. But there’s a local lad called Tommy who plays the accordion who’s the poet laureate, but I’m the visiting one.’

After the interview has finished, John Hegley faxes me through a scribbled poem he’s written on the re-opening of the CCA. I can’t print it, he tells me, because it might offend the fragile sensibility of The Arches, but I can see what it’s like being John Hegley. But why should I want to print it? I’ve got the closest thing to a Hegley original. John Hegley, my new mate. (Maureen Ellis)



The Stand, Glasgow, Fri 16 & Sat 17 Nov.

Disarming, charming and enlivening audiences into submission

To call Omid Dialili Britain's funniest Iraniai stand—up comedian and actor is a bit like saying Margaret Thatcher was Britain's most successful female Prime Minister. Sadly. if it weren't for Dialili and, at a push. the lettenham Ayatollah. most of us would be

struggling to count the number of prominent Anglo-Iranians on two fingers. Even so. in Dialili's case. the compliment isn't guite as hollow as it seems. While his standup both celebrates and sends up his unique inter-cultural perspective. Djalili is

broadly popular with audiences ali over

this spinning globe.

The diminutive comedian first grabbed the attention of the festival circuit with his 100:3 Edinburgh Fringe show. the pithin entitled Short Fat Kebab Shop Owner's Son. This was succeeded the following year by The Arab (‘4 The Jew and in 1007 by Orn/d D/a/Ili ls Ethnic. In each case. Dialili's Wide-eyed, selfeffacing manner. surreal storytelling and rapid—fire delivery proved a winning formula. disarming, charming and enlivening his audiences into helpless; submission. His live work is also remarkable for its diversity. In 2000. Dialili's lidinbuigh Fringe show. I/‘t/ar'm To My Winn/lg Shir/e. featured an Iranian (,eilidh and an appearance from Kan‘al Ma/Iumi. the Persian answer to Inc Clapton. a

Virtuoso in both Iranian and Celtic music. Dialili's reputation as one of the UK's freshest. /estiest comic turns was consolidated when he won the Time Out Award for Best Stand Up Comedian last year.

As well as performing all over Europe. Australia and North America. Djalrli has carved out a successful career for himself as a film and teIeVIsion actor. He appeared alongside the likes of Tommy Tiernan and Elaine C. Smith in Channel Four ensemble sitcoms S/na// Potatoes and Coming Soon. and was a regular on The Lenny Henry Show. Hollywood recently came calling with a vengeance. and Dialili has been seen rubbing broad. tanned shoulders With Brad Pitt. Russell Crowe and Brendan Fraser in films like G/ad/ator and The Mummy. The globe trotting nature of Dialilr's work. both as a live performer and film actor. make his forthcoming Scottish appearance a rare thing. and fans are strongly advrsed to catch this multi—talenttxl funnyman before his star goes into orbit. IAIIan Radcliffei

Joking asrde Where the laughter matters

UNDETI'ERED BY THE LEAD balloon success of Head On Comedy. buxom funny lady Jo Brand is back with another series of Hot Potatoes. The BBC show pits comedy's high flying wrts against each other in a wordy bare'knuckle fight to the death. and in each show Ms Brand is reined by two surprise celebrity panellists. Recording for the next series is about to get underway. so if you fancy being in the audience. drop Standing Room Only a line on lile’CiSlalMerOlllCOlll or ca:‘ 020 8870 01 f f. The shows are every Wednesday and Ihursday between Wednesday 2f November and Thursday (3 December in Glasgow's BBC Studios starting at 7pm.

IT’S A BUSY MONTH FOR our Jo who also has a new live CD out to buy, Jo Brand: Live Again. And she’s not alone. ’Tis the season to be jolly after all, and fellow comics John Shuttleworth, Arnold Brown and Rhona Cameron are all releasing live videos on the Laughing Stock label to cash in on the Christmas rush. We’ve got five of each of these seasonal stocking fillers to give away and the first five readers to send an e-mail to stating which video or CD they’d like to get their mits on, will receive one (probably) in time for Christmas.

ll‘ LOOKS I M II If l)()l'i()l'lll(lll(§(} l)(){}°.'\ Stlii-‘lti il‘. E‘Cll'll.)til§ll‘ is aboat to lt?(3t}i‘\.(3 a DOGS? ‘.'.I’I’.l‘ £1".(?‘.'~."()l)(}.". I“I(I perfomiar‘ce poetry (}‘.(‘.'I..".t; starting in I ores: Arts c." Monday 2) December. (Elie-ck listings next ssue for "lore inforinat on

AND FINALLY, WE’VE HEARD on the grapevine that the opening of Jongleurs in Glasgow has been delayed until January, but you can get at sneak peek of the likely lads and lasses to be signed up in next issue’s Scottish Comedy Special.

2' \‘x. .‘ ‘THE LIST 67