Mess Around UK 2011 – Brighton

Mess Around UK 2011 – Brighton

Hello all

After the ninety minute marathons of the last few nights, it was strange to come back to The Brighton Comedy Festival, where the shows are scheduled for an hour. It was even stranger to do ten minutes at the top of the opening night gala, but a real treat to be backstage with such comedy heroes as Jack Dee and Jo Brand, as well as my old mate Mark Watson.

I did my spot at 8.15 in front of three thousand people, and it warmed me up quite nicely for the two hundred and sixty odd that were waiting for me in the Pavilion Theatre. And what a lovely two hundred and sixty odd they were.

So lovely in fact that they all clapped along to my walk on music, which by the way is a song by Ray Charles called “Mess Around.” I did notice from backstage however, that they were doing something that was once described to me as “the English clap” – that is, clapping on the first and third beats, rather than the funkier second and fourth.

I asked the sound guy to replay the music and I let the audience clap along again. They naturally gravitated to the first and third, also known as “the white man’s clap”. I found the only black man in the room, whose first name was actually “Mega”, and asked him to demonstrate a black man clap. He busted out a double-time African thing, and once again the opening music was played, accompanied this time by a Nigerian clapalong. I reckon Ray Charles would have liked it.

I then scanned the front row and realised that from left to right, it looked like they had been seated in order of age. A quick check of ages revealed that I wasn’t far off. In fact, I only had to shuffle three people and the entire front row was seated from youngest to oldest. I took a series of photos to show that:





I then started up a conversation with a 61 year-old man called Peter, who was retired. When I asked what he was retired from, he said “You’ll like this.”

I said I probably would, and he told me he used to be a tax inspector. The audience were aghast. I reiterated that the theme of the show was to find something interesting in everyone, so I asked if there was anything particularly exciting about him. Both he and his wife said no.

I asked his wife if she could think of anything Peter had done that was out of the ordinary or fascinating, and she cryptically replied “There have been a few white knuckle rides”. I asked if she meant inside or outside of the bedroom, and she said “I’ll leave that up to you”

I asked (for asking is the key to these shows) if Peter was a bit of a devil in bed, and she smiled a smile that said he was. I asked when was the last time they did it – she said “This morning.” Boom.

The more I asked, the more apparent it became that Peter was a bit of a love machine, especially since retiring. Who’d have thought that a shy, retiring and retired tax inspector might be a bit of a sex symbol?

I brought Peter on stage and took a photo of him, in a pose that represented the way I saw him at the beginning of the show:


I then co-opted the ladies in the front to help me recreate the image of how I now saw Peter:


I tweeted the photo and asked for a sexy slogan for a sexy tax inspector.

The tweets are still coming in, and I’m happy to say the first was from the lovely Chris Addison with:

mrchrisaddison Fancy VAT?
Other audience faves included:
hey_micky Many Happy Returns
katylindemann he’ll check your bottom line
andypic I’m a master rebater
buchy69 “I’m looking into your loophole, and you don’t even know it”
dufussy When your figures need a good going over.
Thank you all, the tweets are still coming in as I type this.
I also explained to the audience the ongoing saga of my audience-inspired prostate awareness campaign, that includes the slogan “No Joke, Be A Bloke, Get A Poke”. Once again I promised to upload a version of that poster for tonight’s audience (and any of you reading this, wherever you are in the world) to put up in public places. Tonight’s crowd offered to place the poster in 6000 government offices, and a fish and chip shop.
Here it is by the way:
Go on, you know you want to. And once you have, please send me photos of your work.
And that is all I have for you tonight. There were other brief exchanges with Lynda (who brought me whiskey) and a couple from Lithgow NSW who were the Aussiest people ever, but with only an hour to play with I didn’t manage to find out their whole stories.
Ah well, there’s always next time.
I am off to Norwich tomorrow for two nights in a row of Messin’ Around, and I will of course update you after each one.
Night night,


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