Manchester, Comedy Capital?

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  I’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 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 Cannibal’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….

James McBride

Manchester Free Press

 Whatever happened to alternative

comedy?Find out here.

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Manchester is the capital of English football.

Manchester is the capital of English football. It’s official! Throphies and titles abound. The backslapping begins in the board rooms as they justify the mind boggling sums of money they spend and vie eachother for a bigger piece of the pie.

Nostalga cannot help but raise it’s head reminding us of former glory days. The days when hotdogs were the staple diet on the terraces, not prawn sandwhiches and fine cheeses. Players with names you could pronounce.
Were things better when teams were not the all powerful money machines they are today.I don’t know, maybe you would like to give me your thoughts on that.
Football songs are normally ghatly things that are aimed at the lowest common denominatoer.
This beautiful Game by Bury Bob is the exception. The lyrics are on the nail and the music keeps your ears interested.
Maybe all you fellow Mancunions out there should take this as your anthem for the summer.
How live do you want it to be. It’s up to you.
Uncle Joe Bloggs