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Bill Bailey tells Blackburn to 'prepare for the unexpected'
AS he prepares to come to Blackburn next week with his new show Qualmpeddlar, Bill Bailey has some advice for his audience — “Prepare for the unexpected”.
Bill, a familiar face from TV shows such as QI and Never Mind The Buzzcocks, will be at King George’s Hall on Thursday as part of the Blackburn and Darwen Comedy Festival.
One of Britain’s most astute comedians, Bill’s shows mix surreal observations with music which can see him playing anything from a lute to a synthesiser.
The new show sees him raising issues which concern him about modern living and has played to sold-out venues across the country.
“It doesn’t matter how many dates I am doing,” said Bill. “My duty is to make each show as good as it can be. I suppose I am quite hard on myself. In the show you will have certain jokes which have to happen in the right order for them to have the maximum effect.
“If I get that wrong the audience won’t know it but I will so I have to have maximum concentration, which can be mentally exhausting and it can take quite some time to wind down after a show.
“The show is always in a fairly fluid state. I always have far more material than I need for a show and I can quite easily go off on a tangent. One of the great joys of stand-up is being able to react to situations and the audience — that’s what makes each show unique.”
Bill’s tour has seen him travelling the length of Britain and later this year he’ll be playing Wembley Arena.
“Of course I’m going to say ‘hello Wembley’, you’ve just got to haven’t you?” he said. “You do sacrifice the intimacy of a show in larger venues where there is perhaps more spectacle.
“But there are ways to engage the audience. At first when I did arenas I thought I’d have to give a bigger performance but as I use video screens it’s actually more like doing TV.
“You have to make less expressive gestures as this gurning loon on the big screens and quite likely to scare people.”
Music plays a major part of Bill’s shows so would he rather have been a full-time musician than a comedian?
“I played Sonisphere this year and it was great to get up on a major festival stage with my guitar and put the foot on the monitor and behave like a rock star,” he said. “But as much as I love music, I also love the spoken word and that power it has to create images and convey thoughts. The spoken word is more subtle, whereas music works on a gut level.
“I love both of them and I think that I really couldn’t have one without the other.”
- Bill Bailey, King George’s Hall, Blackburn, Thursday, October 3. Details from 0844 847 1664.
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