Tag Archives: Jimbo

Gary The Goat court victory in Oz soon to become comic Bob Slayer book/film

(This was also published by Indian news site WSN)

Gary The Goat, caught in a media scrum outside court

Gary The Goat, caught in a media scrum outside the Oz court

Regular readers of my blog with a taste for the bizarre have been following the saga of Gary The Goat (best friend of Australian comic Jimbo Bazoobi) for almost a year now.

Exactly a week ago, I blogged that the latest news on Gary was that he was facing criminal prosecution for eating some grass and (police alleged) some flowers outside the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.

Yesterday, he and Jimbo stood accused at Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney of ‘damaging vegetation without authority’.

Well, OK, Gary was accused of eating the grass and flowers. Jimbo was accused of letting him do it.

Police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Rick Mansley claimed Jimbo “knew Gary was hungry and had been reckless in letting him near the flowers.”

Gary The Goat’s lawyer, Paul McGirr, claimed it could not be proved that Jimbo put Gary up to the act. “We can’t guess what Gary might have been whispered in his goat ear,” he told the court.

Gary The Goat was not called to give evidence and waited nervously outside wearing a rainbow hat, surrounded by reporters, while Jimbo faced the full wrath of the Australian constabulary in court.

In the end, after soberly considering the evidence (the police briefing dossier ran to 200 pages), Magistrate Carolyn Barkell found that Jimbo had no control over what the animal might eat and was unaware of his preference for flowers over grass.

“I accept that he did eat garden plants,” she said. However, she found there was no evidence that Jimbo brought Gary there with the intention of vandalising vegetation. “He might have fancied an ice cream,” she said.

Jimbo and Gary The Goat are on a near-constant tour around Australia. As chronicled in my blog, this time last year British comedian Bob Slayer toured with them with such bizarre and disastrous consequences that Bob is shortly issuing an eBook about their exploits. He also filmed a documentary, currently in post-production with Brown Eyed Boy.

Bob told me today: “We have been waiting for the outcome of this court case before completing the film. Now it just got a whole lot more interesting. There are many stories that can be told here. One angle is the cute goat tale, another is all about a billy goat standing up against the nanny state and then a third is how inspiring people like Jimbo are for the world of comedy.

“I believe that Jimbo, just like Kunt and The Gang before him, is one of the true unsung Heroes of Comedy and a real inspirtion. Having spent years on the fringes of the industry forging his own path, he really deserves this break – Jimbo and Gary The Goat are all over the world media today. Will he embrace the industry or elect to carry on doing his own thing?

“Touring with Jimbo in mining towns, farm towns and sheep stations last year, I saw him handle some of the most difficult comedy audiences imaginable and yet end the night smiling, having given them all a great night out. He has filth and shock in his arsenal but, behind that, there is an extremely high level of skill and a brain that is quite simply hardwired for comedy.

“When, in most comedy rooms, you stand up and do material which points out that racism is perhaps not the greatest idea in the world, you can be pretty sure the audience will agree with you. But, really, this is shooting fish in a barrel. How many acts that do jokes on these subjects could have gone into a room that made the Ku Klux Klan seem a moderate organisation and not only made them laugh, but also actually got them to think about their world view? I saw that happen last year.”

After the court verdict was announced yesterday, Jimbo told an excited media scrum outside: “‘Gary’s name has been cleared of all this slander. I just think there’s so many laws and regulations in Australia which are just an abuse of common sense. This is actually an abuse of the laws of nature – a goat eating grass. I’m a comedian – I can come up with jokes, but it’s pretty hard to compete with the cops coming out with this stuff. Gary the Goat taught the cops a valuable lesson and that is Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Gary The Goat made no comment.

I suspect he may have sold rights to his exclusive first-hand story elsewhere.

(You can see a video of Gary The Goat and Jimbo outside court HERE.)

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Filed under Animals, Australia, Comedy, Humor, Humour, Legal system, Police

Attractive Norwich sheep in a pub; Gary The Goat charged in an Australian court

The Bishop of Norwich was in no way connected to the sheep

The Bishop of Norwich was not involved

In May 2011, I wrote a blog about cat wrestling and a sheep in a pub in Norfolk. It seemed like a good idea at the time and is fairly normal stuff for Norfolk.

At the time, Norwich comedian Dan McKee told me a tale about a local pub – the Ironmongers Arms:

“The peculiarities of the old Ironmongers Arms knew no bounds,” Dan said. “The landlord had no tongue, but he did have a pet jackdaw which hopped around the bar and Friday night entertainment consisted of a young lady singing the hits of Tina Turner. She didn’t sing to karaoke tracks but actually sang over the original Tina Turner records on the juke box and she just tried to sing louder than Tina’s vocals…

“Then there was the night somebody brought a sheep in for a pint. We asked him why he had come in with a sheep and he replied: Well, I couldn’t very well leave it at home.”

Yesterday, I got an e-mail from Howard Posner in Norfolk. It read:

“A friend of mine just referred me to your old blog on the tale of the sheep. The sheep was, in fact, stolen from a field on the way back from a rugby game at Beccles in 1976.

“It travelled on the rear seat of a old Ford Cortina. I was in the front seat. The sheep was very placid and was taken into the pub by some of the University of East Anglia’s rugby fourth team (The Rams). I played for the team on and off for three season (two of which went undefeated).

“At the time, UEA’s first team was called the “u’s” and consisted of a lot of lads who were prepared to train regularly and drink a lot. The second and third teams were made up of those who failed in their efforts to get in the first XV. And the fourth team was made up of ‘social’ students, plus a couple of junior lecturers and a chef from the kitchens at Fifers Lane – who had quite a lot of ability but no desire to conform.

“Our pre-match routine was to meet in a pub somewhere and consume beer in such quantities that we would often arrive at the game with less than the requested fifteen players. Luckily, most of the opposition where of a similar sporting standard.

“As the fourth team, we adopted the Ram as our emblem and acquired a rather large advertising hoarding for pure wool with a sheep on it. The sheep was called Louise and we took this with us to all our games and wrote the results on the hoarding.

“On the way back from winning in Beccles on that fateful night, we decided that it would be more appropriate to have a live ram. There were lots of sheep in the area and we ‘acquired’ one. How were we to know the difference between a male and female sheep? We picked that particular sheep because it was the prettiest in the field.

“Our destination was the usual one, the Ten Bells pub, who would not let us in with a sheep. But the landlord of the Ironmongers Arms was happy to allow in at least fifteen drinking men and a sheep. Sadly, the sheep would not drink the beer, which I recall was high quality Norwich Bitter. When it urinated in the bar some of the liquid was mopped up into a pint glass and was quite favourably compared to the Norwich ale in look and smell. As the evening progressed, our numbers swelled and we moved on.

“When Spencer’s night club would not let us in on the grounds that the sheep was not a member, it was taken away. I was told it was released in a field of other sheep (not its own) but there was a tale, never substantiated, that it was actually taken to the Wild Man pub, escaped and was last seen heading towards the Cathedral. I like this version better.”

Coincidentally yesterday, comedian Bob Slayer also updated me on the progress of Gary The Goat, best friend of Australian comic Jimbo Bazoobi.

Bob’s adventures with Jimbo and Gary The Goat as they crossed Australia last Spring were partially blogged about here last year and Bob is about to publish an eBook about their joint exploits.

Gary The Goat reads the charges against him

Gary The Goat reads the charges against him in Australia

As I mentioned in a blog last month, Gary The Goat was recently disgracefully arrested for eating some grass and (police allege) some flowers.

As a result of this arrest, Gary The Goat’s Facebook page, which had 400 likes, zoomed up to 8,500 likes and the first post about the case went viral, had 25,000 likes and was seen by nearly half a million goat-fascinated folks…

The latest news is that Gary The Goat is going to court next Wednesday, accused of ‘damaging vegetation without authority’.

“Earlier this week,” Bob Slayer tells me, “FOUR cops arrived at Jimbo’s place to deliver their ‘brief of evidence’. It is a 200 page document. So far, I’m only half way through reading it.”

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Filed under Animals, Comedy, Crime, Drink, Humor, Humour

Comic capers and calamities on the first day of the Adelaide Fringe Festival

Eric with “Tales of the Sea” - and now Adelaide

Two days ago, I got an e-mail from Bob Slayer – the day before his comedy show opened at the Adelaide Fringe:

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I am in Adelaide stopping at the house of a man called Matthew who I met on couchsurfing.org.

I have stopped at many random people’s homes in my life but never one I met through an online service that did not involve the prospect of sex. I once topped-and-tailed with singer-songwriter Beth Ditto – the big girl in The Gossip – in Portland, Oregon, when they supported Japanese band Electric Eel Shock, which I was managing. Did I tell you this recently? I also have an early demo I was sent by a band called the Arctic Monkeys who were, at the time, looking for a manager… Anyway I digress…

Matthew seems cool. He took me straight to the bottle shop and we bought beers. Jimbo came around to introduce Gary the Goat.

Oh! How I have missed Gary the Goat in the last few days!

Jimbo and he stayed in Port Kenny on the Eyre Peninsula with a girl while I went to visit an old tour manager friend of mine in McLaren Vale and ended up shoveling grapes and making wine for a couple of days. They paid me in my weight in wine.

I have lots of new things to talk about in tomorrow’s gigs like killing and eating the Australian national emblem but I might also pop into the hospital and see if I can visit strangers just to add their story to the mix.

__________

I got that e-mail from Bob two days ago. Then, yesterday, I received this e-mail from comedian Eric about his (Eric’s) show on the first day of the Adelaide Fringe.

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As last year, I am doing my show at the Tuxedo Cat venue. Last year it was ‘Adelaide Fringe venue of the year’. It is run by super cool Cass & Bryan who, every year, take over a derelict building and make it into something wonderful.

As with all refurbishment projects, it takes time to complete and, as Bryan & Cass are presented with just a shell every year, the build is coming from a long way back. Time is the old enemy and, when I ask about doing a technical rehearsal on the day of my first show, I am somewhat taken aback to be told that my room has not been built yet – but a blitz is about to take place that will turn three walls and a pile of old pallets into a performance space in time for my first show at 6.00pm.

I discover that there is no projector either. Last year I borrowed Dan Willis’ projector, so I drop him a quick text. He tells he now lives in Melbourne but has left his magic lantern with a mutual friend who lives in Adelaide. Our mutual friend Alex is at work and cannot leave. I go to his place of work (30 minute drive), pick up his keys, drive to his house (20 minute drive) pick up the projector, drive back to my house (20 minute drive) pick up my family (wife Helen and baby ‘Little E’), drive back to his place of work (30 minute drive) drop his keys back to him, then drive to the venue (30 minute drive).

I eventually emerge triumphant with projector and family at the venue. We park outside and unload everything we need for the show, which now includes pram, change bag, bottles and assorted toys.

I discover that the Blue Room where I am due to perform in an hour’s time is nowhere near ready and my heart sinks. Fifty minutes later, little has changed. There is no lighting, no sound, we have done no tech rehearsal at all. There seems little or no prospect of putting on a show. And the room is now filling with punters clutching their tickets.

I inform them that the room is not ready and invite them to return to the bar. No sooner have these people vacated than another wave of punters arrive. I give these people the same advice and, as the third wave arrive, I decide this is hopeless and locate the ushers and tell them the room is not ready and ask them to hold the audience in the bar until we are ready. I obtain the customary Australian “No worries, mate” response, return to the room and do what I can.

Five minutes later, there appears to have been a shift change with the ushers as the room again starts to fill with punters.

We finally kick off nearly half an hour late. I ask if any of the audience need to be anywhere before 7:30 and offer anyone who does their money back – No-one moves and we crack on with the show.

Ten minutes into the show, we lose all power. The light that we belatedly got onto the stage extinguishes. The projector’s whirring fan falls eerily silent and we lose both sound and picture, like a faulty TV.

Then the audience, who have been so tolerant up to now, really come into their own. Many of them take out their mobile phones and light the room up with their screens. It is a joy to behold… almost literally ‘people power’.

As we have gone completely off-piste and are unable to continue with the show, we just spend the next ten minutes chatting. Cass dashes about in the shadows trying to fix the problem which, as expected, she does and we finally get on with the show – a show that, to be fair, I have actually enjoyed… And so, it seems, have the audience. Much of the credit must go to them. I resolve to have all of them come to all of my gigs.

Comic Juliet Meyers is doing the show following mine and she is none too pleased that she is starting over half an hour late (and to be honest neither am I). I tell her the only upside is that she now gets to see me change out of my seafaring show garb and into my civvies.

As I drop my trousers, she tells me that my buttocks are “surprisingly pert”. I am not entirely sure how I should take this information but eventually conclude that the only explanation is that Ms Meyers has been imagining my buttocks for some time and now – faced with the actuality of my derrière – has found them to be more pert than she had imagined…

I then go off to find the family.

As usual, Little E is found feeding on her mum and, after I get myself and Helen some of the fabulous Vietnamese salad with dumplings from the food counter, we sit and eat in quiet contemplation, until a queue unexpectedly forms beside us.

Unbeknown to us, the ‘quiet’ corner that Helen had positioned herself in to feed Little E was in fact right next to the entrance to the Yellow Room venue and, for the next five minutes, we become a living exhibit entitled ‘Feeding the Family’ for the entertainment of the waiting crowd….

I then dash across to the Austral venue to perform in Nik Coppin’s show Shaggers.

On arrival, I see Bob Slayer making his way from the bar with four jugs of beer, two in each hand.

“Oh” I innocently think, “He is getting a big round in… He must be with a large group of people.”

Then I see him go and sit at a table alone and conclude he must actually be continuing his mission to outdrink Australia and, having done battle with Perth, it is now Adelaide’s turn…

The crowd at Shaggers are also lovely and everyone has a lovely time talking filth with them.

I am second on and, as I finish my stint onstage, I get a text to say Little E has finally fallen asleep and Helen has come to the venue collect me but there is a fight in progress outside the Austral and she is sheltering around the corner.

With the time approaching midnight and the car park I abandoned our car in closing at midnight, I have no choice but to brave the crowd and the fight and collect my girls. We all go home, having had one very long day.

__________

…That was a heavily shortened version of what happened in Eric’s hectic day. And that was only Day One of the Adelaide Fringe.

I feel we may hear more anarchic tales from Down Under.

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Filed under Australia, Comedy

Researching Bob Slayer’s comedy show in the Australian outback with a goat

Jimbo, Gary the Goat and Bob Slayer on a research trip

I spent most of yesterday driving from London to Plymouth in Devon and then to Penzance in Cornwall.

Who knew Penzance was that far away? Not me. And why are some of the road signs in Cornwall printed in Cornish? Who speaks Cornish? It is bad enough Tesco supermarkets in South Wales have signs in Welsh in areas where people don’t speak Welsh.

My friend and I are staying in a very nice 4-star seafront hotel in Penzance.

She complained to the hotel that the room was too cold; I took my sweater off because it was so hot. Mind you, she had been sleep-deprived the night before. (I had nothing to do with that.)

Hot water came out of the cold tap and cold water came out of the hot tap; then hot water came out of the hot tap and hot water came out of the cold tap.

Then the ends of the taps saying HOT and COLD fell off.

My friend was by now getting hysterical with laughter.

There was a slight creaking from the wall. She put her dressing gown over the wall-mounted trouser press.

“Was the trouser press creaking?” I asked.

“No,” she replied.

Meanwhile, from Australia…

British comedian Eric sent me an e-mail saying:

Just three days until the Adelaide Fringe kicks off and I have just found out that my opening night is sold out! And ‘Little E’ had her first bogey today. (I am so proud.)

Little E is his newish-born daughter Erica.

I found it rather worrying that the Adelaide Fringe starts in three days, because British comedian Bob Slayer is supposed to be performing there and, yesterday, I got an e-mail from him in the outback.

When last heard from, Bob had disappeared in the desert on his way to the Adelaide Fringe. He was stuck in Coober Pedy, the opal mining centre of the world, accompanied by Australian comic Jimbo and by Jimbo’s amiable animal mate Gary the Goat. They had encountered a Czech opal miner who might or might not have a daughter he is trying to marry off.

Yesterday’s e-mail told me all three have now reappeared in Roxby Downs – a town, Bob tells me, which was built to house the miners of what is set to become the largest mine in the world – the Olympic Dam mine. This is what he told me:

__________

Extremely well-paid employees are pulling copper, gold and uranium out of the ground in vast quantities. Instead of Coober Pedy’s beat-up trucks and utility vehicles, Roxby streets are lined with 4x4s that have never seen anything other than tarmac. The streets are lined with green manicured grass and there is not a real local in site.

We go into the smart environs of Roxby Downs Community Club and I am pleasantly surprised when they are happy for us to put on a gig the following night. They initially have concerns about being able to drum up a crowd, but the presence of Gary the Goat swings it. We have a feed and then, after seeing how expensive the motel is, we decide to sleep rough on the football oval. I doubt the motel would be very happy with Gary anyway. In the morning, we are woken by the sprinklers and then, before we can have a shower, we are moved on by the parkies. 

The three of us go for a swim in the outdoor swimming pool at the community leisure centre but then staff change their mind about Gary the Goat because someone has complained. If they had thrown us out because Jimbo and I had turned their pool cloudy then I would understand. But Gary the Goat was happily chewing grass and being patted by the local kids while we had a swim. 

The nice staff at the pool tell us that the complaint comes from a lady with a dog. It seems that if her little poodle isn’t allowed into the pool area then why should a goat be? Well little vegetarian goat droppings are very different to dog shit. People are odd complaining about someone else’s happiness. When we take Gary out of the pool area, a little girl cries because she wanted to pat Gary some more.

We decide to go for breakfast before doing some promotion. The cafe is next to the school and Gary the Goat somehow gets into a classroom. Woops! There follows a heated lecture from the principal who tells us that Gary is a danger to the children. While she is telling us this a dozen toddlers, who are now leaving morning playgroup, are taking it in turns to pat Gary. 

A council lady turns up. She is nice but says we have to take Gary the Goat to the park. We explain that we have already been thrown out of there. We take Gary away and more children cry. Two of the mothers get angry with the principal. We are causing a bit of a scene. 

In the middle of all this commotion, the kinder garden teacher tells us that her husband Julian runs the local radio station and would like to interview Gary the Goat. As we leave the radio station, two girls turn up from the Roxby Downs Monitor and we give them an exclusive on the Gary situation. When they leave a man from the Roxby Downs Sun turns up and we give him an exclusive as well!

In the evening, at the gig, our gorilla promotions seem to have worked as over 100 paying punters turn up to see just who are these people with the goat. We have a great show and a good old knees-up afterwards.

We now have more than enough money to afford the Roxby Downs motel but we sleep on the football oval, this time by choice!

__________

That was yesterday. When I woke up this morning, there was another e-mail from Bob – a Press Release saying he has been doing preparation and research in the outback for his Adelaide Fringe show Bob Slayer Will Outdrink Australia, including a visit to Wineries in McLaren Vale “where I spent the last couple of days working on the new vintage for Alpha Box & Dice winery who paid me in my weight in wine!”

I looked up the Alpha Box & Dice website. Their slogan is: “Where all your dreams come true”.

According to Bob’s Press Release, there will be two shows each day at the Austral venue in Adelaide:

5:45 – Early show (first drink of the day) – a solo show.

Midnight – Late show (still drinking) – includes special guests.

Bob describes himself in the Press Release as a “hilariously drunk and deranged rock & roll tour manager turned Edinburgh Fringe award winning comedian. Wilder than the acts he has looked after (Iggy Pop, Snoop Dogg, Grinspoon, Bloodhound Gang, Regurgitator, Electric Eel Shock etc).

“I have been to Australia once before, maybe five years ago,” he says, “when I was tour manager of Nashville Pussy (from the USA). This time I wanted to take in the real Australia.”

Apparently his escapades are being filmed for a future documentary and “reported on a highly-regarded UK Comedy Blog.

I am beginning to worry about Bob’s views. Is this blog highly-regarded? I feel it should be less respectable.

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Filed under Australia, Comedy, Drink

Comedian Bob Slayer finds a mate in the Australian Outback: Gary the Goat

Bob Slayer’s mates in Australia: Gary the Goat and Jimbo

After references in my blog yesterday to sightings of British comedian Bob Slayer in Perth and to him going AWOL in Australia, he has re-surfaced in the Outback, 800 km from Adelaide.

Last night, I got this message from him:

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I have finally managed to escape Perth, the city that did not agree with my digestive tract… I went to out-drink the town and it crushed me like a beetle.

I did two shows – they went “gang busters” (a local saying for ‘they went rather spiffing’) – then I went a bit mental in the hot sun with a few ales inside me – Did you know how strict the licensing laws are over here? Crazy. I really thought I could  steer this into an adventure but I just sailed the ship up a muddy creek of epic shit proportions.

I did have a bit of a Perth send-off, though: a hastily-arranged free gig to make up for the cancelled ones. Ten minutes before show-time I was sat in a bar with no microphone or stage and five locals, thinking Why did I set this up?

But, ten minutes later, people started arriving and they kept coming. Around 100 of them came to see me off – or to make sure I did in fact leave Perth. A great 90 minute show and $500 in the hat….

OK, maybe I will come back one day. But right now I am all about the Outback. The real life. Where men are hairy and made of leather.

________________________

At this point, I should mention Gary the Goat.

In my blog yesterday, Eric made an unexplained reference to Bob Slayer and a goat.

Comedian Jimbo Bazoobi bills himself as “Australia’s crudest comedian” and, allegedly, used to be “Sydney’s most popular children’s party clown throughout the 1990s”. Also, according to Jimbo, goats have often been part of his performances and, last year, he traded a case of beer for Gary the Goat. Now they are “friends for life”. They have performed at almost 200 rural towns across Australia and have released a CD called Goats Need Love Too!

The very thought of Bob Slayer travelling unsupervised with Jimbo and Gary the Goat is almost too much for my fantasy brain to cope with. It sounds like the basis for a particularly weird Tim Burton movie.

But it has now happened. Bob tells me:

________________________

I set off for the Outback with a man and his goat in an old beat-up $400 Ford something-or-other.

We decided to drive through the night. We have to make regular stops for Gary to piss and poo. Jimbo also grabs a bit of scrub bush at every opportunity so that Gary the Goat has something other than the car seat to chew on while he is sat in the back. He is a happy travelling companion who surprisingly does not smell. Well… not as bad as Jimbo. The pair have clearly bonded and Jimbo cannot stop telling me about how much his life has improved since he got a goat.

Shortly after sun-up, I take over driving the goat transporter. Within five minutes of getting behind the wheel, a giant rat jumps across the road in front of us. There is a Blam!! The car does a jump and Skippy is not going to bounce any more. There is an old Outback saying – You are not a real Aussie until you have killed your first roo – Well hello Australia; Bob Slayer is now one of you.

I want to dig a hole by the side of the road and bury him but Jimbo, although not insensitive to the welfare of animals – as he has displayed in his love for Gary the Goat – points out that we pass a road-kill kangaroo probably every couple of kilometers and we would need to do a lot of digging to respect them all.

At midday, with the temperature in the 40s, we pull into Coober Pedy, the opal mining centre of the world. Less than 2,000 people live here. That is half the capacity of the London Apollo. Half of these folks live underground cos it is so hot. The landscape of mines and caves has been used in Priscilla, Queen of The Desert, Mad Max, Pitch Black and a bunch of other films.

My first impression is: What a hot and dusty shithole!

We have no gig booked but, after an hour of walking around town with Gary the Goat, we have a gig set up for tomorrow evening in the Opal – a place to stay underground, beer and a good feed. This seems to be how they roll out here. If they like you then they take you in.

We had a sleep and then spent the evening putting up posters in the town’s four shops, two servos, two pubs and four-and-a-half restaurants. We meet the local cops, who are coming down for a knees-up tomorrow. We also meet a Czech opal miner called Vic who has been over here for 30 years. He has invited us for a kangaroo Bar-B-Q tomorrow. I did not ask if it was a bring-your-own. Jimbo suspects that the Czech opal miner might have a daughter he is trying to marry off.

Gary the Goat has just done a little bleat outside our cave. He is the most low-maintenance travelling partner you could ever imagine. So long as you give him a bit of old tree and a splash of water every now and then he is happy. He is sleeping on top of Jimbo’s car.

________________________

I fear we may hear no more of Bob Slayer and he will disappear from the known world, living in a menage-a-quatre in a cave with Jimbo, a Czech opal miner’s daughter and Gary the Goat.

My sympathy is with the goat.

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Filed under Australia, Comedy

Suspicious Italian lawyers and a warning to Australian comedy lovers

Yesterday, I took a trip to Lake Como in Italy or, rather, to the town of Como, which has easy access to Switzerland across the lake and seems to have a suspiciously high number of “studio legale” – solicitors’ offices.

Apart from that, my day seemed to be mostly taken up with traffic jams.

I did, though, get an e-mail from comedian Bob Slayer back in the UK, who tells me he is preparing to go to Perth Fringe World in Australia and is looking forward to a month in the sun.

“After Perth,” he tells me, “I will be doing a comedy tour of mining and rural towns around the outback all the way to the Adelaide Fringe. I will be travelling in a Ute that runs on cooking oil… with a goat called Gary and a comic called Jimbo who drinks his own wee.”

Confusingly, there are two comics called Jimbo.

This is the one whose website bills him as “Australia’s crudest comedian”.

Only a soul as hardy as this could even contemplate the terrifying thought of traversing the outback with a Bob Slayer who will have easy access to beer and be in the home country of Priscilla Queen of The Desert.

Bob has promised, dear reader, to be one of this blog’s ‘foreign correspondents’. I fear reports on his escapades Down Under may well make Hunter S Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas seem like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.

You have been warned.

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Filed under Australia, Comedy, Italy

A classic comedy venue + extraordinary news of an unknown comedy legend

It is very sad that, the last couple of years, Brian Damage and Krysstal have not been running their Pear Shaped venue at the Edinburgh Fringe. It was always a heady mix of the talented and the eccentric with their own late-night Pear Shaped shows reserved for occasionally gobsmackingly odd acts.

Last night, Brian Damage told me they had stopped “because it had become a job. It wasn’t fun any more.”

They – or, rather, Pear Shaped’s glamorous éminence auburn Vicky de Lacey – had an extraordinary track record of talent spotting good acts for the Pear Shaped venue in Edinburgh, climaxing with Wil Hodgson winning the Perrier Best Newcomer award in 2004 and Laura Solon winning the main Perrier comedy award in 2005.

I was at the weekly Pear Shaped comedy club in London’s Fitzrovia last night – the grand daddy of Open Mic nights – and it was, as ever, eclectic.

Co-host Anthony Miller managed to define a typical Pear Shaped evening by explaining: “It’s like the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme – sometimes people die, but that’s not the intention.”

Anthony Miller can do no wrong in my eyes because of his enthusiasm for the brilliant US OCD detective series Monk which I make no apologies for having blogged in January was “the most consistently funny situation comedy currently screening on British television”. Last night, Anthony was beaming with happiness when he asked me if I had seen the final episode of Monk which, indeed, I had: a triumph of quirky humour. Which is something that can also be said of Pear Shaped though without the hand wipes and obsessive cleanliness.

The attraction of Brian Damage & Krysstal’s weekly club is that there is no visible quality control. It is a true open spot evening. Two or three may die; others may be brilliant.

Intermingled in last night’s line-up of thirteen (unlucky for some, lucky for others) were a couple of extremely dodgy acts plus a couple of surprisingly strong acts which had only been performing for two months and for one year. But also on the bill were the strongly up-and-coming Sanderson Jones and – amazing – the overwhelmingly original and always brightly-attired Robert White, winner of the 2010 Malcolm Hardee Award for comic originality. He was trying out new material and there is almost nowhere better to do that than Pear Shaped with its heady mix of ‘real’ audience and comedians watching other comedians.

The most extraordinary thing last night, though, was kept until the end, when Anthony Miller and plucky Al Mandolino told me that eternal open spot legend and anti-comic Jimbo has a new character called Tony Bournemouth and is going to unleash it/himself on an unsuspecting and entirely innocent Edinburgh Fringe audience in a 30-minute show this August.

Al and Anthony told me they thought Jimbo’s Tony Bournemouth incarnation might turn out to be the dark horse at this year’s Fringe.

Mmmmmm…….

Jimbo has been on the London comedy circuit for around twenty years and remains triumphantly unknown except by aficionados of seriously bizarre comedy.

But he is appearing as Tony Bournemouth at Pear Shaped in Fitzrovia either in a fortnight or possibly next week. Pear Shaped is ever unpredictable.

And THIS I have to see.

It could be another triumph for Brian Damage and Krysstal, eternal purveyors of unexpected and occasionally under-appreciated acts to the comedy world.

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