(This blog originally appeared in What’s On Stage)
I am sponsoring the Malcolm Hardee Awards until 2017. This year’s are presented on Friday 27th August. But, in the meantime, every day at the Fringe, there is the Aaaaaaaargh! Malcolm Hardee Documentary event. Nothing to do with me except I gave the director around 20 hours of audio tape recorded when Malcolm and I were writing his autobiography I Stole Freddie Mercury’s Birthday Cake.
“This film is beautiful, evocative and in an odd way profound. Brilliant.” (Arthur Smith)
“This is great.” (Stewart Lee)
It was The Independent on Sunday‘s No 1 Fringe comedy favourite and The Scotsman‘s ‘Best of the Festival Pick of the Day’ but I hadn’t seen the whole hour-long event until yesterday. It is an event, rather than a film. Yesterday, it was introduced by comedian Bob Slayer. Future screenings will be introduced by the likes of Simon Munnery and Arthur Smith.
The screening includes a 32-minute documentary The Tunnel (about Malcolm’s most notorious comedy club) followed by a trailer for the still-in-production docmentary Malcolm Hardee: All The Away From Over There… followed by about 16 minutes of clips from MH:ATWFOT.
Interestingly both documentaries are rather wistful, with Malcolm Hardee: All The Way From Over There in particular mixing both laughs and sadness – like all great comedy. The list of those appearing in even these early clips is extraordinary:
Keith Allen, Jo Brand, Charlie Cbuck, Jim Davidson, Harry Enfield, Boy George, The Greatest Show on Legs, Ricky Grover, Rich Hall, John Hegley, Lennie Henry, Jools Holland, Phil Kay, Mark Lamarr, Norman Lovett, Chris Lynam, Bernard Manning, Paul Merton, Simon Munnery, Mike Myers, Vic Reeves
I am not involved in the production of this documentary but, holy shitteroonie, it looks like it could be a fittingly extraordinary tribute to the extraordinary and much-missed ‘godfather of British Alternative Comedy’ Malcolm Hardee.