It’s only just occurred to me that I was remiss in not posting even the tiniest blogettorina about this year’s Bath Comedy Festival – I’ve been so busy working on my next work of comedy history, telling folktales and dealing with the worst that life can throw at us that I neglected to reflect that FUNNY NOISES went quite well, that UNREHEARSED BLACKADDER RIDES AGAIN passed an afternoon, and that Bath Comedy Fest boss Nick Steel and I presented our good pal, festival patron and Bath regular ARTHUR SMITH with this year’s beautiful golden plug for comedy greatness.
My very first comedy autograph (not that I collect them) was from Smith, at the dawn of the nineties when my brother Tim travelled up to Edinburgh with his comedy partner, with my copy of the Terrence Higgins Trust ‘Amassed Hysteria’ book in case they should happen upon anyone particularly excited. Tim returned with only one biro squiggle in the book: ‘I wasn’t in this. Arthur Smith.’
Whether it be moaning ‘Please, Mr Rich!’ as Rik Mayall ground broken milkbottles into his sexy sexy milkman face, spouting backwards filth to Rimmer and Kryten, narrating some heartwarming Radio 4 documentary on scones or something, or simply in his own right, at the mic, one of British Comedy’s surviving Alternative lighthouses, there’s no question that Arthur merited the great honour, and it was an extreme lark to run up on stage at the end of his touching hour about his Dad Syd, to make a short speech and hand over the award.
And how odd, to have been interviewed by him on BBC Radio 4xtra just a few months before, and even more oddly, to be nominated for a Chortle Award for Soupy Twists only a few DAYS before, the Camden award event being hosted by… well, Arfur Smith, of course.
Didn’t win though, obviously. Might have blogged about it sooner if I had. But not one attendee won a thing, so I was in very good company. We had a good laugh with Tony Slattery though.