Last night I went to see A Seriously Funny Attempt to get the Serious Fraud Office in the Dock, a benefit gig to raise funds to mount a legal challenge to the government’s decision to halt the Serious Fraud Office’s investigation into BAE’s bribery and corruption (I would say BAE’s alleged bribery and corruption, but I reeeeally don’t think there’s that much doubt that it happened), an event largely organised by Mark Thomas. Though the Guardian takes issue with the lack of ‘awareness raising’ in the sets I think that’s bollocks – everyone got an attractive brochure detailing the reasons behind the legal action, and the line-up wasn’t so spectacularly famous that people might have wandered in who didn’t know the reasons behind it. (I knew about the gig cos it got plugged in the Grauniad after all; they probably only advertised in tomes only woolly headed liberals read.)
Despite the only really ‘stellar’ name being Russell Brand (and to be honest? Not as funny as some of the others), it was a brilliant line-up – Ed Byrne, Mark Thomas, Mark Steel (I love Mark Steel! If you’ve never seen the Mark Steel Lectures, get thee BBC4 immediately), Josie Long (she’s so sweet), Robin Ince, Stewart Lee, Simon Amstell, Jo Caulfield (never mind dear, I’m sure nobody minded that you weren’t funny), Omid Djalili, Bill Bailey (BILL BAILEY!) and the psychotically brilliant Phil Nichol.
Who the fuck…? You may be asking. It turns out we’ve seen him before, at a filming of a random comedy show for Paramount back in February, when he did a song about rohypnol which, sadly, doesn’t appear to have made it onto YouTube. What has made it, is the song he did last night – it seems it’s something of a Phil Nichol classic:
All day I’ve been singing that, in the style of Billy Bragg. (Look out for the Nirvana section. Oh so, so funny.)
It all got me to thinking (I sound like I’m about to drift off into a Scrubs voice over) about my ultimate comedy gig, if time and death were no object. It’s tough. Probably tougher than coming up with my ultimate music festival. I think, I think, it would look something like this… [cue the wibbly wobbly lines and fade into dream sequence]
Billy Connolly circa 1984
Rob Newman and David Baddiel circa 1993 (but would possibly only work if I was transported back to being 15 years old again)
I’ve probably forgotten some. It was tough deciding that Ed Byrne, Jeremy Hardy, Frankie Boyle and others didn’t make the cut. Or on the other hand there may be some omissions simply because I think they’re shit.