Two more shows done on the UK leg of my “Inflatable” tour, and another blog report starts….now.
Sunday night was one of my favourite places in England, the town of Shrewsbury in Shropshire. It is also the home of one of my favourite debates in England – is it pronounced “Shroo-sbury” or “Shroe-sbury”?
An audience vote seemed to suggest 75% for the former, 25% for the latter. A twitter poll revealed the same, with the addendum “It’s Shroosbury if you’re normal, it’s Shroesbury if you’re a posh twat”. This did not go down necessarily well with Tony in the front row, or the immaculately dressed Adrian a few rows back – both of whom were traditionalists.
Someone in the crowd suggested one could also refer to it as “Salop” (the original name of the county) until a well-read man called Nigel pointed out it sounded too much like the French word “salope” which means prostitute.
One follower not only tweeted his opinion, but added the results of the X Factor, which elicited protests from the audience, most of whom were taping it. I then decided to hold our own version of the X Factor just to give them their fix.
I invited Tony, Nigel, Adrian and a young lad by the name of Joe to the stage to all perform for the crowd’s votes. As Bon Jovi’s “Livin On A Prayer” was played they came forward one by one, did a little dance and played air guitar (a combination suggested by various audience members)
If I’m honest, they brought the house down. Nigel was like an older Tom Cruise (a la Risky Business), prancing the stage, wiggling his bum, and then dropping to his knees in air guitar heaven. Tony was the dark horse, bringing the moves when none were expected, Joe was a minimalist, and Adrian threatened to disrobe.
They were renamed The Shropshire Factor, and looked like this:(from left Tony, Joe, Nigel, Adrian)
Take that Simon Cowell.
The next day saw a cross country train trip to Cambridge and the lovely Junction Theatre – newly refurbished. I took to the stage to find a young man lounging in his seat with his feet on the stage as if he owned the place, looking like this:
Behind him was a man called Peter, who had clearly been at my shows before – as evidenced by the Go You Big Red Fire Engine t shirt he was wearing. I invited him on stage to help me tell the story behind GYBRFE, and he re-enacted my James Brown routine perfectly:
Meanwhile a young man called Richard arrived late with his girlfriend. When I asked what he did for a living, his sister scoffed that it wasn’t very interesting, so I brought him on stage, asked him to tell the crowd about his job, and asked them to whoop and cheer at every detail. Turns out he works at a Leisure Centre for kids. Hurrah!
The crowd also featured Charlotte – the lady who once took her artificial leg off at a gig of mine in reading, and inspired me to crowd surf last year at the same Festival. Charlotte came out with the line of the night when I began to talk about the controversy in Britain at the moment over a joke about the Paralympics made by my friend Jimmy Carr. The joke has been called offensive and in bad taste, but Charlotte said “I don’t see what’s wrong with it. People are up in arms about it, but I’m fine with it, and I don’t even have any arms”. Touche.
Finally I celebrated the birthday of a man called Will, by sending an audience member (Iain) out to buy him a cake midway through the show, then sharing said cake with everyone afterwards.
The nicest moment of the night came when I asked the crowd what charity the after-show t shirt sales should go to. Richard piped up and said “The Leisure Centre I work at is actually a charity for disadvantaged kids to come and spend the day at.” It was unanimously agreed that as long as that centre isn’t just Richard’s house, and the charity wasn’t just Richard, that’s where the money would go.
So, that’s the week so far. Still to come is Farnham on Wed, and Bromsgrove on Fri, then I film an episode of Live At The Apollo on Fri.
Oh, I had a lovely moment on the way to the gig tonight. The cabbie asked me what I did for a living, I said comedian, he said he was just listening to some comedians on the radio on a show called “The Unbelievable Truth”. I said I’ve been on that show. He turned it on, just as the host said “Next up, is Australian comedian Adam Hills”.
I said “In fact, that’s me”
My voice then came on the radio, to which the cabbie said “Well it certainly sounds like you”
Good night all