Tag Archives: Barry Ferns

I am lazy. Comedy club crowdfunding continues. Comic will change his name.

(L-R) Barry Ferns, Dec Munro, Rachel Warnes and Sarah Pearce

(L-R) The founding four for Angel Comedy 2.0  – Barry Ferns (horizontal), Dec Munro, Rachel Warnes and Sarah Pearce

Oh Jesus.

Mea culpa.

Today is 21st July.

On 3rd June, I had a chat with Barry Ferns and Dec Munro about the Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign they had just started to help finance the new Angel Comedy 2.0 comedy club in London’s Islington. The idea was that I could give their campaign a boost with a blog. What could go wrong?

Well, my laziness and tortuous Things I Am Doing for a start.

I mean, if I am going to bullshit, they didn’t really need me anyway.

Their target was to raise a whopping £20,000.

They did this within a week.

At the time of writing, they have now raised over £45,000 and there are only a five hours left.

But – hey! – at least I will have posted a blog of some kind at some point. The Kickstarter page is at:
and Angel Comedy supremo Barry Ferns (an increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award winner) has posted a very fine video on YouTube about the Angel 2.0 project.

As an incentive to pledge money, donors will be given various limited-edition Angel Comedy goodies. If you donate more than £30, you can name a random object in the building. So there might be a John Fleming knob (on a door). If you pledge £75 or more, there will be a tankard with your engraved name on it above the bar. For £200, you can name the glitter ball. For £500 you can name a toilet. And – recently added to the incentives – you can also re-name Barry Ferns.

“All of our backers get a vote,” Barry told me last week. “Even just a £1 pledge gets a vote. We will be having a proper naming ceremony as part of the official club opening in September – where I will sign the deed poll form and one of our winning backers will get to counter-sign and witness the name change.”

“Why?” I asked. “Just simply, why?”

“To show how grateful we are,” said Barry. “Anyone can suggest a name for me – even a vengeful ex-girlfriend or a maniac like Adam Larter – who is trying to create a name that will get me into as much trouble at passport control as possible. Suggestions so far include: Mr Terrorist, VOID NAME, 000000000 and First Name, Surname. The stakes are quite high…

The new Angel Comedy 2.0 - the whole building

The new Angel Comedy 2.0 – Yes, it’s the whole building

Way back on 3rd June, when I originally talked to Barry and Dec and they only had around £21,000, Barry told me: “The money so far has mostly just come from people who have been to our shows and know we are good people and are not gonna spunk their money on things. We want to do something good and they’ve seen us do something good over the last six years.”

“Why,” I asked, “did you decide to start the second club in Islington when you already have the 7-days-a-week  original Angel Comedy club still running?”

“Most clubs,” explained Barry, “are run out of upstairs rooms in pubs – like Angel Comedy. Malcolm Hardee started Up The Creek, but he bought the building. So the four of us put money in to buy this building but with the realisation that, once we owned the building, it would take more money to make it right.”

“You have the building on a seven-year lease?” I asked.

“Seven to eight,” said Barry. “Between the two.”

“That gives you great security,” I said.

“Security is one word,” said Dec Munro. “Millstone is also a word.”

“What do you need the Kickstarter money for?” I asked.

“When it rained two days ago,” said Barry, “we had buckets and things.”

“So,” I said, “you are doing a ‘soft’ opening with various things happening in July and August, but a ‘hard’ opening in September, after the Edinburgh Fringe is done and dusted. What does a ‘hard opening’ mean?”

Dec said: “Consistent opening hours, some resident acts, regular format nights like improv, mixed variety, musical comedy, different weird stuff.”

“There are so many comedians out there,” added Barry, “who are not really supported, because there’s nowhere they can get free preview space or a place that will let them perform absolutely bat-shit crazy stuff or if they are going to take a risk. The reason Angel Comedy has worked is because the new comedians are brilliant. That’s why it works. Not because it’s free; but because the shows are good.”

“Why are you keeping the original Angel Comedy club open?” I asked again.

“Because that is not this,” replied Barry. “That is an open mic club. It is the top of the open mic circuit. Angel Comedy 2.0 is not the open mic circuit.”

“How will the charging here work?” I asked.

“It’s whatever the performers want to do,” explained Barry. “If they want to put on a free night, they can collect in a bucket at the end. If they want to run Bob Slayer’s model, they can do that. If they want to charge £15 for a ticket, they can do that. Our cuts will be cost-only cuts. We won’t take a 60/40 split.”

“So how can you calculate covering costs?” I asked.

Angel Comedy club 2.0

“A permanent home for London’s loveliest comedy night.”

“What we can say,” replied Dec, “is we hope from September not to charge more than a 20% split of any tickets. And that money would go into a magazine or similar to be distributed in the local area to let them know about us.”

“And there is no rental fee for the room?” I asked.

“We,” said Barry, “will not charge a fee that we will make any profit on from renting it out. If we charge any money, it will just go to the publicity costs.

“Here at Angel Comedy 2.0 it’s not always going to be free, but we want it to be a place where people can take risks. We also have space where people can come in at low cost or no cost and record a podcast. And we can teach people how to make films or sketches.

“If you’re an art or theatre student, you can go to university and get access to a lot of other things but, in comedy, there is not that. I have gone bankrupt. I have done the craziest things just to be able to perform. And there is no support unless you have wealthy parents who own a house in London. You have to work at least five days a week to make your rent and then you have two hours to perform comedy when you’re exhausted and you have no resources.”

Thus said Barry Ferns.

But he may not be Barry Ferns for much longer. He explains more about his re-naming in a video on YouTube:

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Getting drunk at the Edinburgh Fringe and singing over a dead man’s body

The latest news (maybe) from Broadway Baby

The latest Fringe news (maybe) from Broadway Baby

My left shoulder is in middling agony if I move it. It is comedian Arthur Smith’s fault. More about that later.

This morning, I booked the Ballroom of The Counting House in Edinburgh on Friday 28th August next year from 11.00pm to 1.00am… for the increasingly prestigious annual Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show. Next year is the tenth anniversary of the death by drowning of Malcolm, the godfather of British Alternative Comedy.

He was known, among many things, for his outrageous publicity stunts at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Yesterday in Edinburgh, it was good to see a special Broadway Baby review sheet about Fringe award winners.

Notable was Barry Ferns, who was listed on the front and who got a 6-star front page review for his show The Barry Experience. There was also a large photo of Barry on the back of the sheet, standing atop Arthur’s Seat. Also on the back sheet were reviews of sundry Fringe shows including:

  • Erection
  • Oxford English Dictionary: 2014 Edition
  • Laserdroids of Bangkok
  • The Elephant Nan
  • Rosencrantz & Guildenstern in Bed

You should be aware that, last year, Barry won the increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award for a series of stunts including producing and distributing fake versions of Broadway Baby.

At The Grouchy Club yesterday: a bad selfie of Coptick and me

At The Grouchy Club, I was an innocent bystander to sex talk

Yesterday, the final Saturday of the Fringe, had a varied collection of other very interesting highlights including the penultimate Grouchy Club show at which my co-host Kate Copstick described to a Tesco Clubcard executive and his credit agency partner how she taught the sex workers of Nairobi about ‘soapy tit wanks’ and the use of fizzy drinks in penile erection plus she had tales of wild orgies in Radlett, Hertfordshire (the next village to where I live in Borehamwood/Elstree). Alas, the descriptions are too vivid for me to transcribe without breaking into tears and uncontrollable twitching.

This was followed by me being part of an alleged audience who were going to repeatedly sing the words “Neil Young” in a raucous way for a forthcoming music album. Alas, it never happened and, instead, Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt nominee Mark Dean Quinn appeared performing a one-hour act (possibly inspired by Andy Kaufman) in which he said very little but stared a lot at the audience.

Mark Dean Quinn - the Kaufman of ballooning

Mark Dean Quinn – arguably the Andy Kaufman of ballooning

It also involved (apparently by osmosis) the audience blowing up balloons to create male-genitalia-like hats. This went well until one young man was encouraged by his chum to get up out of his seat and immediately fell unconscious in a faint onto the floor.

He was tall, thin, pale-skinned and ginger haired. He had been previously blowing up a balloon but, at the time of his fall, was not. He was revived and Mark Dean Quinn quickly retrieved the balloons from his audience and changed the direction of his show.

If you can call it a show. It depends on your definition.

I certainly enjoyed it.

At any rate, all the donations received at the end of the show are now going to be given to an asthma charity.

It was a day of falling-downs and medical problems.

Wilfredo comforts Copstick (with her damaged left arm) by tickling her chin

Wilfredo comforts injured Copstick (with her damaged left arm) by tickling her with a rose

Later, I met up with the still physically and possibly mentally damaged Kate Copstick.

She had a hip replacement a couple of months ago (uninsured) after she fell off the platform on which her slum house stands in Kenya – and broke her elbow about a week ago after being accidentally bowled over by a couple of drunk gents in an Edinburgh street. She is still wearing a sling and goes “Ouch!” on a distractingly regular basis.

She blames the physical damage from both the Kenyan fall which smashed her hip and the Edinburgh fall which smashed her elbow on her being stone-cold sober. She reckons, if she had been drunk, she would have fallen in a more floppy, less damaging way.

Wilfredo handed out roses to his last fans last night

Wilfredo handed out roses last night

She and I were both in the basement of the Tron pub last night to see comic music act Wilfredo record his next album. References to Copstick seemed to pepper the show, the audience (heavily made-up of comics) adored the great man himself and I felt lucky to escape without Wilfredo’s spittle speckling me.

Afterwards, Wilfredo’s godfather Matt Roper told me: “I have to hear it back before I decide whether it will be released as an album. If it works, we’ll get it out by November.”

Which brings us to me lying face-down in the Royal Mile at about 2.30am this morning.

Arthur Smith was doing his annual free Alternative Tour of the Royal Mile last night from 2.00am which I guess attracted 50-80 people. That is a lot when you are one crowded bundle of people rolling down the Royal Mile following a man with surreality on his mind.

Arthur (left) and the stripped man in a waste bin

Arthur (left) & the stripped man in a waste bin in Royal Mile

There was a lack of the total nudity and urination which characterised his event in the later years of last century, but it still involved various pranks such as Arthur’s partner Beth doing the splits, Wally (as in Where’s Wally?) being chased out of his hiding place and legging it off up the Royal Mile, a man being persuaded to climb into a rubbish bin wearing only his pants, the assembled throng singing Jerusalem with obscene lyrics to bemused customers at a pizza stand, constant verbal attacks on the integrity of a local French restaurant and singing a song involving the word ‘cunt’ over the body of an apparently dead man on the pavement.

Arthur Smith encouraged singing over ‘dead’ man in Royal Mile

Arthur Smith led the singing over a ‘dead’ man in Royal Mile

At one point, shortly after singing the song involving the word ‘cunt’ over an apparently dead man lying on the pavement (one of Arthur’s many pre-arranged stunts),  I tripped and fell flat on my front on the pavement (no arms out, just a straight fall onto my front). People just ignored this for a brief moment and looked at me, presumably thinking it was another stunt. But then I was helped up. This getting-up worried me slightly because, as I went down, a shooting pain similar to cramp had shot up my left leg. Fortunately, though, I was OK.

Until this morning, when I found I had searing, shooting pain if I tried to move my left shoulder. The shoulder which never mended properly after being smashed when I got hit by a truck in 1991.

There is nothing broken, as far as I know. Presumably it is just bruised muscle.

But it makes me think Copstick has a point.

I was sober when I fell.

I do not drink, really, except at funerals and marriages, when it would seem rude not to.

If you are drunk, falling is less dangerous.

I think perhaps I should start to drink.

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Lionel Richie squatted in a London council flat and how comic Barry Ferns gives financial support to Michael Palin

Barry Ferns won last year’s Cunning Stunt Award (Photograph by Keir O’Donnell)

Barry Ferns/Lionel Richie won 2014 Cunning Stunt Award (Photograph by Keir O’Donnell)

Comedian Barry Ferns lives directly opposite Monty Python star Michael Palin in Gospel Oak, London

Last year, he won the increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award.

Barry Ferns, not Michael Palin.

“I’m helping Michael out at the weekend,” Barry told me yesterday.

“Doing what?” I asked.

“I paid a cumulative sum of £200 to take my father to see the live Monty Python show. It’s his birthday.”

“Michael Palin’s?” I asked.

“My father’s.”

The other Lionel Richie (Photo by Eva Rinaldi)

The other Lionel Richie in performance. (Photograph by Eva Rinaldi)

Until one month ago, Barry was legally called Lionel Richie.

The beloved American singer-songwriter, musician, record producer and actor.

“It must have been exciting,” I suggested, “for Michael Palin to live opposite Lionel Richie for a time.”

“I have been Lionel Richie for seven years,” said Barry. “I went bankrupt as Lionel Richie.”

“Did you plan that?” I asked. “I have never done it myself, but going bankrupt can be quite profitable.”

“These are the Deed Poll forms,” said Barry.

I looked at the forms. They did indeed show that Lionel Richie was changing his name to Barry Ferns. Well, the forms actually said:


“Salvador?” I asked.

“I added a Salvador.”

“Why Salvador?”

“Because it’s so ridiculous.”

“Good movie,” I said.

Barry Ferns, comedian and caterer

Barry Ferns, the man named after a Latin American country

“If I ever write an autobiography,” said Barry, “I am thinking of calling it My Seven Years as Lionel Richie.”

“I am still not quite sure,” I said “why you became Lionel Richie.”

“In 2001,” said Barry, “I started sticking stickers on things which said THIS BELONGS TO LIONEL RICHIE.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Because I found it very funny… The idea that Lionel Richie was going round acquiring things and then sticking stickers on things. That was in 2001.”

“To publicise a show?” I asked.

“No. Though I had taken a couple of shows to the Edinburgh Fringe before and I did another one in 2004. Its full title was The OAP Comedy Spectacular (Guaranteed Winner of The 2004 Perrier Award or Double Your Money Back From Their Pensions). We got a load of old age pensioners to perform in a sketch show.”

“And now Monty Python has followed in your footsteps,” I said.

Barry aka Lionel atop Arthur’s Seat

Barry/Lionel – Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh

“In 2007,” Barry continued, “I wanted to make Edinburgh look like it belonged to Lionel Richie. My two thoughts were: It would be hilarious if I were called Lionel Richie. And it would also mean I couldn’t get sued by Lionel Richie for claiming things belonged to him. Because I legally WAS Lionel Richie.

“So, in 2007, I changed my name to Lionel Richie and went bankrupt and the show was called This Sketch Show Belongs to Lionel Richie and I also did a show as Lionel Richie in 2008 but, in 2009, I was just working so hard to get my life back in order… and I was squatting as well.

“I lived in the best squat in the world. Mock Tudor mansions on Swains Lane in Highgate. They’re all council houses. There were three flats next to each other and some law had come in that only one flat was legally allowed to be occupied, because they shared bathroom facilities. Some Council directive had come in which said this. So I filed down the hinges on one of the doors and lived in one of the flats for free for a year.”

“So I can genuinely say Lionel Richie was squatting in a London council house for a year?” I asked.

“Yes,” said Barry.

“I once had a chat,” I told Barry, “with Clint Eastwood in his living room in Wolverhampton.”

“The real Clint Eastwood?” asked Barry.

The other Clint Eastwood

The other Clint Eastwood, who really does not live in Wolverhampton

“No,” I said. “There was – probably still is – a whole sub-culture in the West Midlands of (I guess) out-of-work sheet metal workers listening to country and western music while dressed up as cowboys and cowgirls and going to shooting clubs at the weekend. Clint Eastwood had a Wolverhampton accent and had big pictures of the Old Wild West on his living room wall.”

“That’s brilliant,” said Barry. “I like the pockets of humanity that you wouldn’t expect.”

“I think I might become Gwyneth Paltrow,” I said.

“Please do that,” said Barry. “Let’s have a yearly name change thing. I could be Princess Grace of Monaco.”

“I think,” I said, “in the UK you’re not allowed to call yourself certain things like King, Queen or Lord.”

“Ah, no,” said Barry. “that’s right.”

Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane,” I said, “wanted to call her child God but then changed it to China. I don’t know if she was banned from calling it God or just changed her mind. China is not so good as God for phoning up and booking tables at restaurants.”

“God…” mused Barry. “How can I psychologically harm my child immediately from birth?”

“Well,” I said, Lewis Schaffer’s children are called…”

Lewis Schaffer: the face of a multiple killer

Lewis Schaffer in Nunhead Cemetery (Don’t even go there)

“Hold on, hold on,” said Barry. “Lewis Schaffer has procreated?”

“It is a frightening thought, isn’t it?” I agreed.

“Is he a working father in the sense of Is he there all the time?

“Don’t even go there.” I said.

“I think,” said Barry, “that the whole of Lewis Schaffer’s life should have parentheses added after it – (Don’t even go there).”

“Well, Lewis is going to enjoy this blog,” I said, “because it will mention his name and two people will have been talking about him.”

Barry Fern’s Edinburgh Fringe show this year is called The Barry Experience.

It always is when I meet him.

It would be interesting if he changed his name to Lewis Schaffer for seven years. He would get another Edinburgh Fringe show and it would make Lewis Schaffer very happy.

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Just when I thought the anarchic nature of the Edinburgh Fringe had peaked…

Four went naked in Edinburgh last night

Four comedians went naked at Bob’s Bookshop late last night

It was Bob Slayer’s final Edinburgh Fringe show last night and, I presume the last Fringe show in general, given that the Edinburgh Fringe officially finished five days ago.

That was no deterrent to Bob Slayer though and he ended it as anyone who knows him would expect – with four naked comedians playing what I think is called “Willie Tag”.

Willie Tag is played in much the same way as the normal children’s game of Tag – the object is to touch another person who tries to evade you. The difference is that, in Willie Tag, you try to touch the other person with your penis.

Yes, I know… I know…

What can I say?

I was as surprised as you.

All I can say is that the four naked comedians pursued the game with some vigour in-and-out of the audience and, shortly afterwards, the audience dispersed with a variety of looks on their faces.

But, as I say in the headline to this blog, Just when I thought the anarchic nature of the Fringe had peaked…

…there was another surprise.

A few days ago, I mentioned in a blog that a well-known comedian had (for reasons only known to himself) told his PR people NOT to put review quotes and stars on his posters. He had then been shocked to see stars from Broadway Baby reviews on his posters. But both his management’s PR people and his venue’s PR people denied sticking the stars on his posters.

There is nothing as worthless as yesterday’s stars

Edinburgh’s secret star maker is revealed

On a wild whim yesterday, I sent an e-mail to Barry Ferns who, this year, won the Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award for publishing spoof versions of the Broadway Baby and Three Weeks review sheets, which included fake reviews praising his own Fringe show.

“I don’t suppose,” I wrote in my e-mail to Barry, “that by any stretch of a very stretched imagination this was you trying to get ahead on a Cunning Stunt for 2014?”

Today Barry replied:

“Ha! I was adding random bogus stars to posters throughout this Edinburgh for my own amusement… It wasn’t a campaign as such. I just had some printed up… I didn’t think anyone had noticed.

“However, to add to the intrigue, I did not accredit any stars to Broadway Baby… They were just unmarked stars… So perhaps the search continues!… I quite like this element of bringing out your deductive skills around my comedy industry related seditious acts. Moriarty to your Holmes…”

Bob Slayer protects what little modesty he has

Bob Slayer protects what little modesty he has

Barry warns me that he is planning an even bigger and more spectacular scam next year.

Who am I to dis anarchy?

I am leaving Edinburgh this afternoon with Bob Slayer in my car. He has not showered since Tuesday. It is an 8 hour journey to my home and another 45mins to his.

I have hopes of renting him to the Syrian government as a chemical weapon.

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Comedian Barry Ferns, climber of dead Edinburgh Fringe volcanoes, bakes well

Barry Ferns, comedian and caterer

Barry Ferns, comedian, caterer and oft climber of volcanoes

On Friday, comedian Barry Ferns cooked me a baked potato at his home in Maida Vale, London. If this comedy lark does not work out for him, he could always re-start his career in catering.

“I always wanted to be a stand-up,” he told me. “One of my earliest memories is one Christmas when I got a radio/tape player that you could record things on and I got one of those really tall, giant joke books – 1001 Jokes – and I read jokes out of that into the tape recorder under the duvet, because my parents used to put me to bed really early, at about 5.00pm.

“When I was at school, I was always the class wannabe clown. I remember one time I made a silly joke and the whole class, as one, just went Oh, Barry! and Mr Powell, my history teacher, just looked at me with sadness in his eyes and said: Why do you do it to yourself, Barry?… Which is maybe what the comedy industry’s been trying to tell me for the last 17 years.

“It’s funny the career paths you fall into. You never quite know where you’re going to end up. I started in comedy as a cleaner at the Gilded Balloon during the Edinburgh Fringe.

“I think class has got a lot to do with the jobs I ended up doing.

“I’ve got 32 cousins. My dad’s got 5 brothers and my dad’s got 5 sisters. My dad’s a printer. My brother cleans cars. I went to university, but no-one else in my direct family had ever gone to university. I think because of that, I didn’t expect to go into a good job. So I finished university and went to work in a pork pie factory for a year. I ended up in Burger King and various other things, then I started to realise Oh, I could get that job or that job.

“In the last couple of years, I’ve learned how to make films, purely because I want to make my own pilot of a show that Carlton TV wanted to pick up. I had a script, it was optioned, but it didn’t happen and Carlton TV was taken over. Somebody else tried to make it with David Sant directing. But it didn’t get made; didn’t get made; didn’t get made. Then, after I went bankrupt – performing at the Edinburgh Fringe made me bankrupt in 2007, the year I changed my name to Lionel Richie – in 2008 I thought Right. I’m going to learn how to make it myself, so I spent two years learning how to make film, editing, those kind of skills and that’s how I earn money now.”

Testing Mrs Patterson screened in LA

Barry’s short film Testing Mrs Patterson, as screened in LA

Barry’s 5-minute film Testing Mrs Patterson was screened at the LA Comedy Shorts Film Festival in 2012.

“It seems like any industry’s about connections and people you know,” Barry suggested to me.

“I think,” I said, “people tend to approach things from the wrong viewpoint. Performers think How can little old me push my career by approaching this Big important media person? But that seemingly big person sees himself or herself as a small cog in a larger machine and is trying to push his or her own career. So you have to approach them from the viewpoint of What can I do to help this media person develop his or her career?

“That’s the way I think of agents,” replied Barry. “How can I help them to earn money? Likewise, it’s why a lot of people won’t take risks nowadays; they don’t want to jeopardise their own career.”

“Risk-taking is complicated,” I said, “because everyone assumes TV and radio people won’t risk doing original ideas. But that’s only half true. They won’t take too much risk. But they don’t want to be seen to be doing what’s been done before either, because that doesn’t help their career. So they want to be seen to be making new, cutting-edge stuff because, if they produce the next new wave thing, they will get kudos and a better, higher job. But, at the same time and utterly in conflict with that, they don’t want to risk making something totally original which might turn out to be a disaster.”

Barry and I were eating baked potatoes at his home, because he wanted to talk to me about my memories of the Edinburgh Fringe. Unfortunately for him, I can barely remember what I did last week.

Last year, he created a downloadable Audio Tour of Edinburgh with Fringe stories about various locations. This year, he will be doing the same, but there will also be similar segments in Arthur Smith’s BBC Radio 4 Extra show – which is why, in the past few weeks, he has been gathering stories from the like of me, comedian Simon Munnery and critic Kate Copstick.

I suspect he will also use some of the stories in his three Edinburgh Fringe shows this year – Barry On Arthur’s Seat (he is foolishly going to climb to the top of Edinburgh’s extinct volcano every day to perform this show)… Tales From The Fringe (another daily show)… and This Arthur’s Seat Gala Belongs to Lionel Richie (a one-off show on 17th August atop the aforementioned extinct volcano). Last year, his shows were well-reviewed.

Barry aka Lionel atop Arthur’s Seat

Barry F aka Lionel R atop Arthur’s Seat

“The best thing for a show in Edinburgh,” I said, “is to get a 1-star review AND a 5-star review. That has to mean it is interesting.”

“Well, in 2001,” Barry told me, “I took a show up to Edinburgh called Doreen and it got every star in reviews – 1-2-3-4-and-5. Some people absolutely loved it. But so many people walked out. It was at the Gilded Balloon. We had a sign on the door – HATE THE SHOW? WHY NOT TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS HOW MUCH YOU DISLIKED IT.

“Somebody who ended up being a really well-known producer and director came three times. And Count Arthur Strong came three times as well. He absolutely loved it. But other people absolutely hated it. The show ended as the audience filed out with us with our trousers round our ankles, apologising to them for being pathetic human beings… We’re so sorry… We’re so sorry…. with our hands covering our crotches.”

“You should bring it back,” I said. “I would go see it.”

Barry certainly gets 5 stars from me for his baked potato. But I hope he does not have to fall back on catering.

I have a terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach, though, that I will have to climb Arthur’s Seat this year.

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UK comic Bob Slayer tells me up a back alley about his thrash metal music plans

Bob Slayer last night in court, soon to tour Sweden

Bob Slayer last night held court in an alley – soon to Sweden

When comedian Bob Slayer introduces you to someone as his aged father and they believe him, you know you should consider urgent Botox treatment.

This happened to me last night (the introduction, not the treatment) at one of David Allison’s This Is Your Laugh events in which a fairly prominent person is accused of some unlikely ‘crime’ and ‘tried’ before a comedy audience.

Phil Kay, storming the 'courtroom' last night

Phil Kay, storming the ‘courtroom’ at Dirty Dick’s last night

Last night, Time Out editor-at-large Alexi Duggins was prosecuted by comedian Barry Ferns and defended by Bob Slayer, with Frank Cassidy as judge plus extraordinary improvised songs from Phil Kay and magic/mind-reading from Paul Martin. That’s more entertainment than you get in most English courts and provided probably about the same level of justice.

Afterwards, I had an encounter with Bob Slayer in an alleyway, a type of meeting to which I suspect he is no stranger. It is worth remembering that, as well as being a comedian, promoter and, at the Edinburgh Fringe, a venue-runner, Bob used to be a tour manager for and a manager of rock bands.

“I’m going to Europe!” he told me.

“As if they don’t have enough problems,” I said. “When?”

“April and May,” he told me. “I’m getting back on the road with bands. When I toured with bands, I moved my way up from DIY bands to… well, the last tour I did was with Snoop Dogg.

“But my favourite bands were Electric Eel Shock, who I started with and managed and then this obscure Swedish band called Quit Your Day Job who I think I first met in Hamburg and I just fell in love with them.

“And I was quitting my day job at the time – I had – and they are beautiful. They do two-minute pop songs of beauty. They’ve supported big bands like The Hives and Turbonegro and Danko Jones who are big in Europe. Ace bands.”

“So,” I asked, “you were a frustrated musical performer.”

“I was,” said Bob, “but I’ve gone beyond that and fortunately I’ve now gone on stage and I can get naked in front of 2,500 people at the preview for the Leicester Comedy Festival.”

“Or for one person if they pay a lot,” I suggested.

“Or for one person if they pay a lot,” confirmed Bob. “I’m not fussy. I don’t demand a huge audience but, if it’s there, I’ll do it. The point is I’m going back to Quit Your Day Job, I’m going back to the touring, but I’m going back as a support act to Quit Your Day Job. We’re playing small, shitty venues, touring in a really shitty car and the four of us will go around Europe and I’ll get to be me and I don’t have to be tour manager – weve got someone else to do that. He’s a doctor who is taking two weeks off work to be our tour manager. I’m not sure if he will need his doctoring skills, but I’m glad that they’re there just in case they are needed.”

“On that video you showed me where your beard grows,” I said, “you had SLAYER on your T-shirt. What are you going to be called? You can’t be Slayer, obviously.”

“I am Bob Slayer!” said Bob loudly. “Why would Slayer sue me? I am Bob Slayer! They’re more likely to sue over my video. Look, I love Slayer, but their fans come up to me and go Oh! You’re Bob Slayer! You must love Slayer! Death to false Metal! but I love false Metal. I don’t think they should be mutually exclusive.

“Slayer fans love to put rules on Metal. So I’m taking a band I love and re-interpreting the gods of thrash Metal in a disco style. So far, I’ve had three angry Slayer fans get in touch with me.

“But also as a result of that video going online, people have contacted me who I’d lost lost contact with. There’s an old friend of mine called Doug who has mastered lots of albums and he and his friend Jared were in a band called Living With Eating Disorders. Now we’re planning to record the next song so I think, by the end of 2113, I will have an album.”

“But,” I asked, “are you going to be a musical person at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe.”

“No,” said Bob. “Well, I’m not going to be a musical person with Quit Your Day Job either.”

“You’re not going to be a musical support act for them?”

“No, I’m going to be Bob Slayer, what I always have been. I am Bob Slayer.”

“Are you going to be Bob Slayer doing what you do in the video?” I asked, “Or are you going to be a stand-up com…”

Bob Slayer interrupted: “To be honest, I haven’t really thought it through.”

“Are you going to be an anarchic comedian?” I asked.

“Your first question was Are you going to be a stand-up comedian…”

“…and,” I agreed, “you’ve never been a stand-up comedian as such.”

“Yes,” agreed Bob. “When have I ever been a stand-up comedian? Some of the biggest laughs I’ve ever had were falling out of a wheelie bin and I was not standing up then, unless you call falling on your neck and breaking it stand-up.

“The point is I don’t know what I’m going to do on tour. I’m going to be me and I am Bob Slayer.”

And I am pleased to confirm that he is.

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