We had a second night out in three nights, heading into the big city for an early dinner in a nice fish restaurant and then on to the Leicester Square Theatre to see the reunion of The Goodies. All their TV shows are finally being released in a huge boxset, which has been a long time coming.
If you had to choose a nineties comedian and fan of the trio to do an interview with them at the Leicester Square Theatre, who would you choose? Of course, Stewart Lee was asking the questions, as usual taking my underground work and turning it into something mainstream that can go on TV.
But he was clueless as an interview. He didn’t even ask them if they had seen a Big Foot. And they had a whole episode about that. Instead he asked them about their career and how they had defined their characters and a few of their episodes, rather than what they are best known for, some edited inserts in the German TV show Engelbert and the Young Generation in 1972. I can’t imagine why they chose him.
Aside from the poor choice of interviewer, it was an enjoyable evening and good to see the boys back together. I had loved their show as a child, being too young (to be a teenager) to see Monty Python, they were my first window into this exciting and anarchic world of comedy. They were heavily influenced by cartoons and the early slapstick comedians and their shows were full of invention and laughter. The Young Ones would capture the same spirit a few years later, but Bill, Tim and Graham were the first to show me how much fun being silly and violent and doing slapstick which landed people in hospital for real, could be.
And the Funky Gibbon! I wasn’t very interested in music, so loved songs that were funny too. I have a clear memory of that song coming on the radio in our car, as we drove to a model village. Weird the way memory works. But I was excited that a song that I liked was playing.
I also remember a night when TV reception went down in Cheddar and I missed both Blakes 7 and the Goodies and was pretty much inconsolable. Because back then a missed episode could never be caught up on.
Graham Garden was especially witty tonight, biding his time and listening, but then choosing the perfect comment or story. It was nice to see the threesome drift, almost accidentally, back into their roles. Tim said if they were working now they could do an episode on Brexit and Bill said he’d never do anything about Brexit. The resultant conversation was the beginnings of that episode. To be fair, Brexit would probably go better if the Goodies were in charge of it. Am I right? Imagine it. Go on.
I was lucky enough to be sitting next to Barry Cryer - although we had a weird start to the night when our seats were taken by three other people who turned out to have come on the wrong night - who was in great form. It’s always an utter delight to see him. I am glad that he and the Goodies are all still with us. Though one questioner did make them consider their demise,which seemed to shake them. Like they hadn’t realised.
I did get to ask one question in the second half, in a somewhat overlong question and answer section with the audience, but had to think on my feet a bit as they’d basically covered my pre-written question in the first half. Stewart had left the stage, presumably to tend to his new Noel Edmonds beard, so it was only going to be a reunion of one BBC comedy show. I thought about doing an Emergency Question and think this audience of mainly nerdy men (maybe on average ten years older than my LST crowd, but otherwise the same) would probably have understood what I was doing. To hammer home the similarity of appeal between me and the Goodies, the queue for the gents snaked up the stairs whilst my wife went straight into the ladies. I know the tricks from my own audience and headed over to use the loos in Burger King.
A tricky journey home thanks to more rail cancellations. This is the only bad thing about living out of the city. Trying to escape when it all goes wrong.
The astonishing news of the day is that my book editor is very happy with the first draft of the book and wants no immediate rewrites. Either I am a genius or he is a terrible editor who hasn't read the book and is going to publish anyway. Let's go with the former!