Yesterday morning, I woke up to a message from this blog’s first designated Foreign Correspondent – comedian Bob Slayer - saying:
“I have been a little bit naughty.”
I got a hint of what this might be when, a few hours later, the Chortle comedy industry website ran a story saying:
British stand-up Bob Slayer has been thrown off the programme of an Australian fringe festival – for being ‘drunk and inappropriate’.
Chortle had picked up a report in the West Australian which said:
Bob Slayer, whose solo act is called Bob Slayer Will Out-Drink Australia, bills himself as a “hilariously drunk and deranged English rock’n'roll tour-manager turned award-winning comedian” and is renowned for incorporating alcohol into his shows.
But during a guest performance at Marcel Lucont‘s variety show in the Spiegeltent on Thursday night following his own show, audience members reported Slayer appearing on stage drunk… Fringe World director Marcus Canning said he was evicted from the Spiegeltent, axed from the festival program and banned from all festival venues.
“It became apparent that he had taken his personal mandate to ‘out-drink Australia’ past the confines of his own show,” Mr Canning said.
Shortly afterwards, Claire Smith of The Scotsman Facebooked me: Well he didn’t get banned for breaking the Trades Descriptions Act…
And I then got an e-mail from Bob saying:
Feel free to report. I will give you the full inside line on Friday as promised. Please put me down as unavailable for comment until then.
Bob is highly esteemed partly because, at last Year’s Edinburgh Fringe, he won the coveted Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award for his orchestration of the so-called ‘Cockgate’ guerrilla publicity campaign in which white cartoon penises were stuck onto other comedians’ posters to promote Kunt & The Gang’s show.
Bob also managed to pull the wool over the eyes of both my innocent self and fellow Malcolm Hardee Awards judge Kate Copstick by convincing us that Kunt had sacked him as his publicist over the Cockgate furore.
So, as of yesterday, most of my salt has gone on the snow-covered paths outside my home but I have kept a pinch in reserve for Bob until I hear from him on Friday.
Last night, Malcolm’s name and memory – or is it infamy? – also cropped up at the last-ever Fringe Report Awards show, when Pleasance Theatre founder Christopher Richardson made a speech justifiably lauding Fringe Report founder John Park. He mentioned that altruistic John (who has never taken or received any money for running Fringe Report over the last ten years) should now be showered with money – but only notes or cheques not coins because that was what killed Malcolm Hardee.
There are many theories as to exactly why Malcolm drowned, drunk, in 2005. But one is that, having emptied the slot machine of his Wibbley Wobbley floating pub at the end of the evening, the coins weighed him down when he fell in the water.
In my blog a couple of weeks ago, I said I thought Bob Slayer has slightly misunderstood Malcolm’s character from the book and got a distorted image of him as a very loud, constantly-drunk, OTT extrovert anarchist.
I just hope that Bob does not want to follow in what he thinks of as Malcolm’s footsteps too closely and that he avoids taking up coin collecting.