Ad-Lib – Spontaneous Genius (Terry Pratchett & John Lloyd)
Due to a grumpy friend of mine who shall remain unnamed (Gary), who lamented his sorrows at length about not being able to attend this show, I discovered this hosted conversation with guests Terry Pratchett (his PA Rob Wilkins in toe) and John Lloyd. In the spirit of the title, tickets were purchased, and my disgruntled and nameless friend (Gary) was so overjoyed, he could only make the noise “aaaaah”.
(Warning: there are some swears in here).
There is something comical in a cute way about being able to spot fans of a particular franchise, and this was definitely no exception. But, as ever, as soon as you open the floor and give one of them a microphone, the cuteness fades and irritation sets in:
“Where did you get the idea for the Rite of AshEnte? Is it a joke I’m missing or…?”
“…I made it up”.
[About writing strong female characters such as Tiffany Aching] “Where did that ability come from?”
“Well, my mother was a woman. So is my wife”.
My favourite line, however, was his response after hearing for the umpteenth time each questioner’s opening gambit, i.e. ‘I just want to say thank you for everything you’ve done, and for being here tonight’; ‘You have been a huge influence on my humour’ and so on. Before I unveil his response, notice how each of these statements are in the past tense. That’s right, as if Pratchett was no longer with us. We all know he has a destructive illness, and we don’t need to be reminded, least of all him. His reply?
“I’m still doing it, you know!”
John Lloyd was also a delight to listen to. And watch, especially during the Q&A. After the first question directed at him, he donned his glasses, removed his iPhone and probably published a tweet that read “All these Pratchett loving bastards. I produced Blackadder!” Luckily, the talk wasn’t being filmed. Oh, wait…
Talk about opposite ends of the spectrum. After a reluctant trip back to the Assembly Rooms, and a peculiar start to the evening where a man gave up his seat to me (I still can’t work out if it was a compliment or out of sheer impatience), the show began. Or, rather, it didn’t. Naughty techies.
Sadowitz has always been an acquired taste, so if you’re not into brutal and twisted shock humour, there is no way I can sell the guy to you. I like him. A lot. And as he says, he may in fact be “the only non-pedophile in show-business. And look where it’s got me!“
With all the varieties of cunts – “stripy fat cunt“; “bald cunt“; “sophisticated cunt“; and “madam“ – mixed with a dash of untruths – “I like to fuck pedophiles. I’m the guy behind the guy“ – you could almost forget that he is also an incredibly talented magician (think about it: how else is he supposed to sell his show?).
There have always been upsides and downsides to the type of audience he can get away with. In terms of his humour, it probably is better to have an inebriated audience in the nighttime than a sober one in the daytime (although that does entirely depend on how hardcore a Fringer…Fringian? you are). But because he mixes magic with comedy, it means the audience miss his trickery and skill – as we were repeatedly reminded: “This is just pure showing off“.
From what I could tell after spending most of the night crying with side-splitting laughter, Sadowitz has definitely softened and bordering on satirical. I’d also forgotten just how silly he can be – or maybe it’s another side-effect of the softening. There was one moment where he made a statement that was arguably pro-Woman. After kicking off the early part of his show with “I can get any woman I want. I’m a fuckin’ rapist!“ he brought an member of the audience on stage. Attempting to woo her with tricks such as producing 3 fingers, 2 fingers and a toy elephant from behind her head, he moves on to an actual trick they do together. Rubbing the back of her hand, he mentions:
“Now this has absolutely nothing to do with the trick whatsoever. Don’t you just love female skin? So fuckin’ soft. So soft, just t’hide all the shit that lies within.”
“Go and repeat that?”
“She just went ‘Agreed’“.
I almost wish I was kidding when the foul-mouthed, hate-spewing, anger-ridden, rotten-minded Sadowitz looked appalled. He is a character. She is a person. This was an act. She wasn’t. Awkward.
This has to have been the funniest I’ve seen him, although I’d have preferred a smaller venue. He has toned it down a little, but that venom is still ever prevalent. Something has to keep those Fringe-types he hates away.
Part ONE. Comedy and the change in the industry.
Part TWO. Craig Campbell & Alexei Sayle.