Life in Adelaide after comic Bob Slayer leaves: audiences collapse with laughter

Eric, ex-Navy, now comedy lifeguard (photo by Alex Brenner)

I saw Oscar-winning silent movie The Artist last night, where the dog has all the best lines. After getting home and taking my NightNurse cold remedy, as I drifted off to sleep, I thought today’s blog should be an update on what has been happening at the Adelaide Fringe in Australia.

Which might be why, when my coughing woke me during the night, I was in mid-dream about getting off a bus near Victoria station in Manchester. Packs of feral dogs roamed the near-empty streets, barking at and harassing anyone who got off a bus. And, in an empty street, idle dogs of various breeds watched two Alsatians sliding along the roadway on their stomachs and taking run-ups then bouncing in the air like kangaroos, rising maybe ten feet high with each bounce.

British comedian Bob Slayer – whose exploits in Australia were the subject of many a blog these last few weeks – has now returned to the UK with his explanations of what happened to him there mostly ending with the phrase “because I am an idiot”.

Meanwhile, Italian-born British comic Giacinto Palmieri arrived in Adelaide last week from Sydney and emailed me: “It is just like arriving in Southern Italy from Milan. Everybody is suddenly chatty and eager to tell you how much better the weather and the food are and how much friendlier the people. Although, just like with the Southern Italians, it is friendliness with a double edge: Ah! they say here, You are an Italian Pom! And you are going to the backpackers hostel? Aren’t you the wrong age for that?

German comic Paco Erhard’s computer has broken down which, in the 21st century, is almost a trigger for psychological counselling. He writes: “I’ve definitely been more boring than Bob Slayer. But hopeful I have proper stories to tell after/while travelling and doing the Melbourne Comedy Festival. Hope my computer gets fixed soon, then I can write down some stuff.”

The Nik Coppin “racist” row with radio host/journalist Peter Goers is still in the hands of lawyers.

And English comedian Eric tells me of his constant hassles with late-night Adelaide transport and his new(-ish) daughter ‘Little E’, whose milk seems to come in leaking bottles. He also tells me that history has, in a way, repeated itself.

He is currently performing his show Eric’s Tales of the Sea in Australia.

When he was performing the same show at London’s Soho Theatre last year, a woman got up halfway through, left the auditorium and collapsed outside. Eric rushed off stage and, remembering First Aid Training from his 17 years in the British Navy, put her into the recovery position.

At the time, he was quoted as saying:

“I was just getting to the part of my show which is particularly emotional and often has the audience shedding a tear, but the reaction has never been as extreme as this before.”

A couple of days ago in Adelaide, Eric says: “Nik Coppin sent me a text message asking me to be a guest on his show. Unfortunately, he sent it while I was doing my own show, so I didn’t see it until after I had finished. I then texted him back. But, by that time, Nik had already started his show. So I thought I would wander over to the Austral venue to tell him that I was available if he needed me.

“When I got there, Nik had sorted out a guest but he bought me a beer. Just then, Alan Anderson walked by and asked me if I would be a guest on his show. Just before Alan’s show started, Nik and I were stood in the corridor leading to the Red Room, which was filled with punters eagerly awaiting entry to Alan’s show, when there was a loud thud.

“A man was prostate on the floor.

“As this was Australia, after 10.00pm at night and it was a public holiday (Adelaide Cup Weekend), everyone assumed the man was drunk – and he was with a friend, who helped him up.

“A few seconds later, though, the man collapsed again and this time it was clear to me that he was unconscious.”

Eric’s British Navy training kicked in again. He put the guy in the recovery position and got a nearby woman to call an ambulance. Eric says he “instructed the man’s friend as to what position to put his friend’s legs in, as I could not reach them in the narrow corridor, while I attended to him at the head end.”

I remember in the very dim and distant past – 1975 – someone had a heart attack while laughing at The Goodies on British TV. Newspapers quoted his wife saying, “He died happy.”

In comedy, there is The Rule of Three.

Having had two people collapse, I just hope Eric is not practising for a publicity stunt in which he can say his audiences really do die laughing.

Although, if that happened during this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, he might well be in the running for a Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award.

PS… The man in Adelaide recovered fully.

PPS… For regular readers of this blog I have, alas, no further news of Juliet Meyers’ bottom-watching exploits.

I live in hope.

1 Comment

Filed under Australia, Comedy

One response to “Life in Adelaide after comic Bob Slayer leaves: audiences collapse with laughter

  1. nell

    I think he means the man was prostrate on the floor/

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