Harry Hill, Comedy Genius.
It was the first of August . The year is 2002 and I’m sat in Warpole Park
for the penultimate day of the Ealing Comedy Festival. The line up: Steve
Bowditch (fantastic!), Ian Stone (wonderful!) and special guest star, Harry
For those that don’t know, Steve Bowditch is one of the stars of Harry’s
shows, and regularly goes out on tour with Harry. Half the audience didn’t
seem sure by his daft songs and delibratly bad jokes, but the other half loved
him. Thankfully the hecklers weren’t out in force.
Ian Stone on the other hand is more convential. A Jewish comedian, he makes
you laugh at jokes you think you really shouldn’t be laughing about. I’d never
come across Ian before, but he was well worth seeing.
And then there was the star of the show.
Harry Hill is a comedian like no other. A madcap routine that relies on
repetition and just being quite frankly bizairre. His knowledge of pop music
is to be quite frank, surreal.
I first came across Harry Hill on Radio 4, towards the end of one of his
series. I can’t remember anything about it but I knew enough to watch when he
arrived on Channel 4. I’ve been a fan ever since. He even made Stars In Their
Eyes watchable by his Morrisey impression. That takes some doing.
Harry Hill is doing well as a comedian. His audience now spreads across the
ages. There will always be people who don’t get him, and one can only wonder
how his early career went. I wasn’t there, so I don’t know, but I do wonder
how many hecklers he got.
We laughed pretty non-stop for the whole of his set, and his encore. There
were a few bits to his act where he made you wait, and you couldn’t help but
wonder if he’d momentarily lost it. Those occasions were rare and usually saw
Harry making the audience wait for a wonderful gag. If you ever see him do his
John Lennon sings glue routine, and you think its a bit slow, don’t worry, it
reaches a fantastic climax! Even when things are going nowhere, he’s
refreshingly honest and just stops there and does something else.
A Comedy Legend.
Walking home after a fantastic night, we contemplated the future. Its not
hard to see Harry appearing on one of those Comedy Legend programmes that BBC
One and Channel 4 seem to love so much.
For Harry is like no other. His style is madcap, and watching him on stage
is a revelation. He’ll start a gag, then leave it, come back to it ten minutes
later. If he was doing it just for one gag, then you could sort of see it, but
all the time there several running gags, constantly being started and stopped
abruptly for more insanity.
Throughout the whole show you just don’t even know if he’s prepared most of
it in advance, or if he’s just doing whatever comes into his head at the time.
It all looks completely chaotic, especially when an audience member with a
rather surreal hairdo attempted to sneak out, only to be spotted by Harry who
loudly proclaimed "Ladies and Gentlemen, the lead singer of
Toploader!" And then its straight back into something else!
Throughout it all, the audience were having a wonderful time, the chaotic
look making it look ever more madcap.
How Harry does it, I just don’t know. His style is unique and brings a lot
of joy to those who watch him. Yet he holds it all together and despite the
chaos, makes it all look so easy.
I haven’t laughed so much in the space of an hour in my life, and to make
it worse, I often just didn’t know why I was laughing. But laugh I did, and
enjoy myself I did too. I enjoyed watching a genius at work.