From those distant days of radio, to the flat screens of the present day, Manchester has had more than it’s fare share of comedy giants.
In the mainstream world it was probably one of the most controversial comedians of the seventies and eighties, Bernard Manning. He managed to be totally un PC and get away with it for 30 years…which I suppose is a sad reflection on the society we live in, rather than Bernard’s refusal to be governed by other people’s values. This however does not negate the offense that was generated by what he said on stage and the stere-types that he propagated.
In more recent times comedy seems to have lost it’s ability to be controversial and most of the comedians I see on TV are too middle of the road and happy to have their regular slot on some pre scripted pretend game show. No one seems to be taking chances anymore. Hopefully there is a big upsurge of young talent working the clubs as I write who will prove me wrong in years to come.
I laugh at things I think maybe I shouldn’t be laughing at. From seeing someone really doing a prat fall in the street to hearing a dirty joke that was just a little too explicit. I don’t like knock knock jokes or those ones that the guy in the pub reels off. I enjoy original thought,and people who choose subject matter that is “out of the box” rather than “off the shelf”.
Don’t get me wrong I loved Peter Kay when he first started and think that there is a lot of Mr Kay we haven’t seen yet…but looked at as comic material…his routines are just reworkings of comedians from the 50’s like Al Read or later on Les Dawson and even Mike Harding the ”Do You remember format.” It’s easy to make people laugh using this format, because you know what buttons to press. But, lets face it …it isn’t original.
The backlash in the seventies generated many interesting acts from the likes of Alexi Sale to Jack Deeand eventually Eddie Izzard, who though they had completely different delivery styles, all managed to talk about subjects that other comics didn’t touch on.
As I said earlier this originality seems to be in short supply at the moment as those rebels now ‘are’ the establishment, so they and their clones are the ones that the media shove in our faces. Recently Iâ€™ve noticed a rash of “Family Comedians” who I wish would just go back to the holiday camps they cut their teeth in and stay there.
One comedy writer I have come across on the net is a stream of conscientiousness comedian called Bury Bob. His material is videoed by his side kick who goes under the name of Uncle Joe Bloggs and a whole family history is being built behind the Bob personna .
From what I understand Bury Bob is an ex ..you name it he’s abused it…olic and also schizophrenic…..not a great combination you might think….but art comes out of suffering and this guy has certainly paid his dues by the sound of it.
The premise is that the many characters that have been arriving on his website over the last few months are all merely different facets of his schizoid personality.
I was genuinely shocked at times by some of the things he says, but by the end of each piece I found myself questioning why I was shocked.
The subject matter ranges from the ramblings of Bury Bob himself…current subject his army days…
“I was in Helmand province for three years and never saw a jar of mayonnaise”……to Kenny the Cannibalâ€™s recipe page.
His other characters currently on show include Terry Bull ,confident and personal life coach to the Q list celebs that fill our photo press.
Psycho Bob is another member of his collection of personal daemons and is a ‘sit down’ comedian who takes ten minutes to tell a one line jjoke…a sort of extremely stoned Ronnie Corbet.
One of my favourites is DJBNB , a hospital radio DJ who perhaps doesn’t have the right amount of empathy for the job.
The site is very entertaining not just for the video content but for the text and visual gags that are placed on every page.
There is even some music and a YourTube page where you can send the weird stuff you find on the net. There’s also a free download page that you get access to when you register, where you can download the songs for free as well as some things by other artists including the very talented and very beautiful “Nymphet”. I don’t know how they know her.
Behind it all there is a strong moral message usually saying exactly the opposite of what the words portray.
The really amazing thing is that everything you see was shot live without rehearsal or script. There are some cuts in the videos and I emailed Bob to ask what was in these….I got a reply from Uncle Joe who appears to be the arbitrator and spokesman. He told me that usually Bob needed a break at that point or said something in the flow that they later thought was too offensive or to cheap a laugh or they had just cracked up themselves.
Bob’s heroes are legion…a bit like his daemons….and include Ross Noble, Bill Hicks, George Carlin,John Cooper Clarke as well as the greats that were around while he was growing up like Morcambe and Wise and Tommy Cooper. He’s certainly no comedy snob.
So if you are looking for something fresh, funny,truly alternative and intellectually stimulating all at the same time get over to Bury Bob’s site but leave your preconceptions and your own prejudices at the door….
Manchester Free Press
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