Monday, 8 December 2008

Bill Bailey's restraint

Absurdist comics like BB actually seem more serious when they find real real world targets than more typical stand-ups. Jack Dee and Jo Brand might be rude about Bush, but, strangely, without the deep distaste that the absurdists seem to have for their targets. So, for Tinselworm, the bugbears were the Swiss Banks – there wasn’t much absurdity or gentle mockery here, there was outright denunciation of UBS’ complicity in the Nazi war effort. Since the old Bill’s voice and persona is quite funny, and associated in all our minds with the genial observations and absurdity that constitutes the bulk of the shows, so that portion of the show was funny. But you could tell he was cross – and not just putting it on for the sake of a laugh.

There was more restraint in his treatment of creationists. A couple of times on Monday night BB seemed to be about to launch an attack on creationism/creationists, but he never got past a few leading rude comments. I wonder whether this was because the audience seemed slightly less disposed to laugh at these lines of patter and he had to change his tack on the hoof [Mixed Metaphoropolis here we come!]. Ironically, part of his approach involved pointing out how the number of creationists in the UK had risen recently, 10%, 20%, 30%...Were they all at the Gielgud, I wonder?

Back in Part Troll there was plenty of humour about religion, but the tone was quite respectful. (I still laugh a lot at his insurance against acts of God, and comparison of theism and pantheism.) At Tinselworm there was a whiff more derision. Still, last Monday, for whatever reason, we didn't get the full force of whatever was grumbling around in him...