PAUL FOOT’S HOVERCRAFT SYMPHONY IN GAMMON SHARP MINOR (7/11/2014) REVIEW BY PAUL LAIGHT
“I decided to have a go at stand-up comedy in a little bar. I did not have any jokes. Amazingly, it went well and I resolved on the spot to become a professional entertainer. 17 years later, I became an overnight success.” *****PAUL FOOT*****
Friday just gone began a busy time of watching comedy shows for me. It wasn’t planned that way but many of the funny people and shows I wanted to see happened to be on in the same period. First off was surreal jester Paul Foot, then on Sunday, Tottenham’s abject loss to Stoke in the Premiership provided much mirth. Not. Tonight, I am going to see the brilliant Stewart Lee; tomorrow, theatrical extravaganza Book of Mormon and finally, on Friday, bitter comic misanthrope Andrew Lawrence.
Paul Foot burst on the comedy scene many moons ago winning one of the BBC New Act Talent Thing Competitions and that. I recall there being someone called Peter Kay who finished second in the competition but not sure what happened to him? Then when I started doing a bit of stand-up comedy myself I ran my own night at the aptly named Comedy Pub near Leicester Square. It was a very small new materialish night and the wonderful Paul Foot headlined on a couple of occasions. I was a crap promoter really but had some fun nights and always wondered why Paul Foot wasn’t on television more as he genuinely has – what is known in the business – “funny bones.”
That was in say 2009 I think but more recently though he has appeared on a few panel shows such as Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Would I Lie To You plus the wonderful Alternative Comedy Experience. Further, his constant gigging and secret shows have allowed him to build up his own audience of fans; or as he calls them “connoisseurs”. Thus, I was pleased to see his latest show at the Bloomsbury Theatre and experience more of the hilarity I saw at the Comedy Pub but on a much bigger stage. Well, it actually had a stage; unlike the Comedy Pub.
Paul Foot is a marvellous, clown, eccentric, misfit who plays himself in almost every show he’s in and very funny he is too. From the moment his voice squawked from off-stage I was laughing; opening the show with a poetic chaos that breaks with the conventions of the traditionally slick club comedy night.
Humour comes from all directions: his surreal flights of fantasy; his low-to-high pitch Home Counties drawl; his silver-shoed, mullet-haired appearance; plus the way he prances around the stage resembles a dressage horse on hot coals or a featherless bird flapping, yet failing, to take off. All told Mr Foot is a verbal and physical joy to behold.
As he gambols around the Bloomsbury stage he surprises the front row with some break-the-ice “mounting” a fan’s chair; before unleashing some brilliantly silly observations, stories and what he calls “disturbances”. To those unfamiliar with Foot’s work it could seem like the mad ranting’s of a fool and in some ways it is but at its’ heart his comedy is very well designed and structurally sound.
Indeed, within the flights of fancy there are some excellent observations around religious chancers; landlady bed and breakfast etiquette; and the perils of platitudes which may leading to snake invasions. What I love most about Paul Foot is his absolute conviction and passion to the routines; in his mind these events are real and thus I believe him. Overall, I genuinely nearly pissed myself laughing during this show so do try and catch him if you can in your lifetime.
***(Quote/photos from: http://www.paulfoot.tv/biography/)***