CHARACTER COMI- [)Y AL MURRAY Pavilion, Glasgow, Sat 19 Oct
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. And if you’re AI Murray, actually try a couple more times. His Pub Landlord creation (which first pulled the crowds as part of Harry Hill’s Pub Internationale show) was nominated so many times for a Perrier that he must have felt it was all a never-ending gin-sodden nightmare.
August 1999 was a month which started with him becoming a dad and ending it with a Perrier win. Though not without controversy. As one story appears to go, he was nominated on the initial shortlist. Someone on the panel kicked up a fuss, evoking Perrier rule 512/article 38 that stated Murray was just too darned famous to be considered and he was promptly removed. His PR enterprise brewed up a similar mess and he was back on. And then he won. The conspiracy theorists whiffed a plot but Murray walked away with his conscience and his water clear.
‘They did seem to make up the rules as they went along,’ recalls Murray. ‘They were trying to keep me out for playing 300-seat theatres yet you look at this year’s list and they had Omid who was in Gladiator. It all seems a bit arbitrary.’
Perhaps the furore put Murray off, because aside from a few guest Fringe appearances (‘I felt like an interloper, like it wasn’t my game anymore’) he’s done no stage work here until now. Of course, you could put blame or thanks for that on the sitcom which all too inevitably occurred in the wake of his 99 success. Sky One were the lucky recipients of the show which was beefed up with guest roles for Julia Sawalha as an Australian pint-pulling floozy and Phil Daniels as the house drunk.
‘We very definitely made a decision that we weren’t going to go for the vogue of the time of low key reality like it’s a documentary and everything’s played right down. We tried to make a traditional British sitcom with jokes. Actually people saying jokes. It wasn’t to everyone’s taste
STAND UP LEE MACK
pub who made yo
touch of class.
Return of the Mack
70 THE LIST ‘J ‘21 (Jr.'.1”:lr;'
The Stand, Edinburgh, Tue 29 Oct; the Stand, Glasgow, Wed 30 Oct
There is something about Lee Mack's honesty as a stand-up that you can't help but admire. None of tnat oh—so- Clever. think-about-it-tor-anhour-then- laugh-politely :n hrs '.'.ror'|<r. ‘The day to retire is ‘.'.'her‘. someone ‘.'.'alks out of my gig and says: "He was funny wasn't be?" And their mate turns round and says: "Yes. and he reaiiy made me
As he so rightly pornts out: 'My favourite comedians are Stan Laurel and Eric Morecambe. I've laughed my heart oft loads at them and they've nexer changed my opinion about anything. I've never '.'.ra'.ched l'r‘rc Morecambe and thought: "Hmmrn I really feel dit'ferent'y about wrgs and slapprng peopie in the lace now.” Mack is the mate down the ii laugh all 'right. the cheeky kid '.'I class who rrsed to ‘.'.’Ill(l the teachers up. tne office joker With a
This approach seems to be ‘.'.rori\ing wonders: as avell l)i(ll\'.llt] iii, a lrrne; ()u.’
Savour the Murray mint
but I don’t care really.’
80, now he’s back on tour with a character whom Murray describes as ‘only human; well, nearly’. Despite having played the French-loathing, Queen Liz-adoring Little Englander for eight years, he sees no reason to call time on him. ‘He’s getting more interesting as he goes on because I’ve done all the first jokes you’d do so I’m now on the second lot.’
And with the continued branding of the nation’s boozers and the French making great claims for red wine (a recent report stated that heart attacks can be avoided by quaffing the grape), the Pub Landlord still has barrels of material left. ’I can’t stomach this relentless plastification. I think it was the drummer in Pulp who bought his local pub because he heard it was going to turn into a themed Irish bar. That’s the stand we all need to be making.’ Cheers. (Brian Donaldson)
Best l we Comedy Award in 200 . this year he r'ecc-ixed a BAP TA for ITV snow Tlre Sketch Show iproiluced by Steve Coogan and Henry Normal. no less). ‘It was absolutely unbelievable. The best thrng at out it was gettir‘g it off Dennis from Aul l/Vredersehen. Pet iTim Healyr.‘ he enthuses. ‘I used to love Ai/l lI/rederselren, Pet and there he was nanorng me a BAI‘TAI'
No stranger to the cir‘ciiit. Mack has had shows at the Fringe for years. But. Surprisingly. this is his first headlining national tour. wrt'n rising star Noel Britten in support. frnrsning up at the Royal Variety Show of all places. ‘l've got two days olf then the Royal Variety Show. so l'm just counting that as part of the tour. That \.'.'ay I can finish witn a 3.000 seater seil-out.‘ he laughs. ‘But it's a sad reflection on modern society tnat l'm more excited about meeting Kylie than the Queen. Mind you. I'm always thought or that as the image of 'showl)usiness': it l'm standing in line next to Bob Monkhouse shaking the Queen's hand I can retire happy' Se catch hrrn soon before his dreams come true. rllenry Northmorel
Where the laughter matters
JOHNNY \ll GAS. A St X symbol? ‘r/‘v’eli. yes. according to researchers for travel agency l'rayelcare. lhe ."otund St Helen‘s tunnyman is more popular than PM Tony Blair r.-.'hen it comes to potential holiday flings. Moreover. one in ten women said the, 'd rather get up close and personal ‘.'.’IIll Johnny than Brad Pitt. That's a whole lot of 'scar, ~.-.ro.r~ien' to add to the list of Johnny's admirers.
DR RICHARD WISEMAN, THE psychologist who undertook research into what makes a joke funny, has published his findings. In a survey of two- million people, Wiseman - who two years ago investigated the spooks lurking in Edinburgh’s vaults - has identified the world’s funniest joke. To set your ribs a-rippling, go to www.laughlab.co.uk (where you will also find the infinitely funnier UK winner). The results of the study are published in Wiseman’s LaughLab book.
IT WAS KE-‘Pl Cl OSELY UNDER .'.'raps. but Perrier '.'.'|lll‘.€'t. and Edinburgh resident. [)ylar‘ Moran played his first line stand up gig ill Scotland in two years carter this "r<):‘.t'r‘._ The Hack Books star appeared at the :nti'rzate Gilded Balloon gig as a xerox-up for "IS na‘ronaé tour and .'.'as '.'.'at::hed b', onlg. a s'riall audience or' trends of the .enue. Re: rev. s pare-rent permitted so coufdn't poss bl; tell you hou'.’ utterly ace t was.
STAYING WITH THE COWGATE venue, a very brief mention is made of 3 ‘Karen Koren’ in Rich Hall’s first book, Things Snowball. Is this the self-same Gilded Balloon head honcho? A NI \'. COME [DY \"t Ntll' IS l'i‘, open ill I o'nburgh °..".t? neu'. year. Cojak (XV‘KXI‘, car oi‘erate once a "tenth in a Lilli? seate' zenue and orirar‘rsers are carrent'y or‘ the l(‘,(“'\(\il 50' potentia' acts. Anyone l'l'.1.’.'-.‘:§'.t‘.l sl‘ould e'na'1 "railbcx~ri‘;>,;il\iierrie.r‘. mum TEDDY IS ALSO LOOKING FOR acts to play his now well- established Dunfermline gig. The weekly gigs take place at Monty’s bar and anyone interested should call Teddy on 07931 786604.