Last night, I saw comedy sketch group Casual Violence performing what they called a ‘work in progress’ version of their upcoming new Edinburgh Fringe show House of Nostril.
It was slick, sick and silly, peculiar, perverse and potty – in other words classic Casual Violence weirdness.
James Hamilton, Casual Violence writer and twice Malcolm Hardee Comedy Award nominee, reckons his stuff is not weird but, then, he IS weird, so what does he know about it?
Casual Violence have even put a video about hair on YouTube this morning.
After the Casual Violence show last night, I got back to relative normality at home when I received to an email about the World Farting Championships at Utajärvi in Finland.
It seems the Chortle comedy website’s Fast Fringe preview is on 11th July in London and Chortle’s Steve Bennett had inquired into the availability of Mr Methane, the farter of alternative comedy, but he was sadly unavailable because he will be off to the World Farting Championships.
When I intruded into Steve’s grief last night, he told me: “It’s a shame. Mr Methane would have added something very distinctive to the atmosphere of the gig. However, the other 28 acts who are on the bill will possibly be grateful as the dressing rooms at Leicester Square Theatre are very small.”
I asked Mr Methane about his now tragic non-appearance at the upcoming Chortle gig:
“Being invited to the Fast Fringe,” he told me, “is a significant acknowledgement for any performer who is out there working his ring off, so it goes without saying that I’m more than a little frustrated at having a Diary Clash.
“But, that said, I can’t let down my fans in Finland nor the World Farting Championships – The promoters had already booked my tickets and announced my appearance.
“I have promised them some anal japery and anal japery they will get. My word is my bond. Mr Methane always come up trumps.”
“But,” I asked him, “what if you HAD appeared at the Fast Fringe preview: what would you have shown them?”
“I would,” he told me, “have given potential Fringe goers a taster – if that’s the right word – of what to expect at my Edinburgh Fringe show.
“It’s not just a performance show this year. I am attempting to give audiences the ‘back story’ of my 20+ years at the ‘bottom end’ of showbusiness… the quirky, stupid stuff that to me has become everyday normal but to everyday normal people is anything but normal.”
I thought of Casual Violence at this point.
“That said,” continued Mr Methane, “I realise that many will just want to see the farting so I’m going to do that as well… All the crowd pleasers… Candle in the Wind, the cake, the talcum powder, farting the dart…
“It’s going to be tricky getting the balance between spoken word and farting right, but I’m sure that wherever the balance point ends up I will share some good crack.”
His show – Mr Methane: My Life in Farting – is at the Edinburgh Fringe 13th-17th August – at Bob Slayer’s new venue Bob’s Bookshop. It should, as Steve of Chortle said, add “atmosphere”.
For better or worse, I may have to inhabit some of that atmosphere, as my show Aaaaaaaaaaaarrghhh! So It Goes- John Fleming’s Comedy Blog Chat Show is in the same venue 19th-23rd August. Let us hope the sweet smell of success transfers.
Mr Methane had two other little snippets of news for me.
The first was something totally unexplained in an e-mail. He told me:
“I met Bob Slayer at the weekend. The tank broke down due to fuel starvation, so he wasn’t able to arrive from out of the sea on an amphibious craft but is hoping to try again next year.”
I have absolutely no idea what this means.
The second thing he told me was in the same e-mail:
“BTW there is a Fringe Festival happening near you very soon – the Bilderberg Fringe Festival. Speakers confirmed so far include David Icke and Alex Jones, who Rolling Stone described as a giant in America’s conspiracy sub-culture.
“Fancy! The Bilderbergs just happening to set up shop down the road from you and then along comes a Bilderberg Fringe Festival as well. They’ve got an alternative media centre outside the hotel – That’s a whole week’s blog material right outside your front door. It’s come a long way since Jon Ronson covered them.”
I looked up the Bilderberg Fringe website after getting Mr Methane’s e-mail. It says:
“The Bilderberg conference is an annual, unaccountable, off-the-record summit attended by royalty, politicians, intelligence, Big Pharma, tech, banking and corporate CEOs plus policy-makers and media moguls from all over the world. The press are not invited, nor given any details beyond a participant list and a sketchy agenda.
“The group is run by a Steering Committee (which is the Bilderberg Group proper). The UK’s Minster of Justice Kenneth Clarke has been a member of the steering committee since at least 1998.
“Seeking to stimulate hearts and minds and unite the politically conscious, the Bilderberg Fringe Festival is an unmissable occasion for conscious citizens from all over the world to join together. We are expressing our outrage at this travesty of democracy the only way we know how. By hula-hooping in the sunshine and dancing barefoot in the grass. Except where cows have been.”
Perhaps James Hamilton and Casual Violence are not as uniquely weird as I thought.