I’ve always liked men who can make me laugh, and last night it was the turn of Bill Bailey to give it a try. And boy, did he succeed. The man is seriously funny – a mixture of stand-up, song, and a variety of instruments he plays himself. ‘Waterloo’ done in the style of ‘Rammstein’ was a definite highlight…
However, the thing I enjoyed most about the show was that he constantly tried to get the audience involved. And, credit where it’s due, the Latvians were delighted to oblige. It could have been Bill knocking the rather hideous Soviet-style architecture of Kongresu Nams as his opener, but the Latvians were on his side from the get-go. And I thought the repartee provided some rather interesting insights into the Latvian mindset and Latvia itself. See what you think:
BB: So I took the family on holiday to Norway. My god, it was cold. -22…
BB: (a bit taken aback) What, you don’t think that’s cold? How cold does it get here?
Jānis 1: -40!
BB: It can’t possibly get to -40!
Jānis 2: Nah, more like -30.
Jānis 3: Or -28.
This went back and forth for a while until Bill finally came to the conclusion that it probably doesn’t get below around +4, though he declined the invitation to come back again in winter.
On reality TV:
BB: So, what kind of reality TV shows do you have in Latvia? Something like Big Brother? Talent shows maybe?
Jānis 1: We have ‘Dancing with the Stars’!
BB: (looked traumatised)
Jānis 2: And ‘Singing Families’!
BB: (after he’d recovered from the initial horror of the concept, performed an entertaining imitation of grandpa being wheeled on stage and singing death metal)
Jānis 3: And ‘Choir Wars’!
BB: Is Latvia like some kind of death star for reality TV shows? The stuff nobody else wants, they send your way?
After that, he was afraid to ask for any more.
BB: What’s celebrity in Latvian?
BB: What? Slavenfjdklsfkjslks. That isn’t right, is it?
BB: No, no, don’t just tell me I’m right if I’m not. What is it?
In the end, he had to ask a girl in the front row three times what it was. I admired his perseverance.
BB: So, do you have many celebrities in Latvia?
Jānis: At least one.
BB: What? So you can only have one celebrity at a time? Give me the name of a celebrity.
BB: OK, what does she do?
Audience: She’s a singer.
BB: How did she get famous?
BB: What, nobody knows? She must have come from somewhere! What did she do?
Audience: She was on a talent show.
BB: Oh, so she won a talent show.
Jānis 2: No, she didn’t win.
BB: Oh, so she came second or third then?
Jānis 3: More like fifth or sixth.
BB: Right… What does she look like? Blonde hair, dark hair?
Audience: Blonde hair!
BB: Of course. Attractive?
(After a few lemon looks…)
BB: Ok, so she was attractive, now she isn’t. What does she look like then?
Jānis: A vagina.
I don’t know if anyone has ever seen Bill Bailey speechless before, but this might have been the closest he’s ever come.
Unfortunately for Vagina Boy, it turned out Candy was actually in the audience. We discovered this when Bill came back after the intermission and shared a tweet he’d just received from her.
BB: I’ve just received a tweet from Candy – with some rather interesting spelling. And it says that she is THE celebrity so I guess Latvia really can have only one at a time.
Bless her – at least she took it in good fun, even if she seems to have a bit of a fondness for the letter ‘a’.
All in all, I laughed from start to finish – and it was the audience that elevated the show from hilarious to side-splitting. I think Bill Bailey must have felt the same way, as it seemed like he didn’t want to leave the stage. Having declared it ‘one of the strangest shows he’s ever done’, he kept coming back for more.
But I do have a small confession to make. Bill, it was me who sneezed during your incredibly moving owl tribute. I’m terribly sorry and I promise it won’t happen again. I wish you and Candy the best of luck at the Eurovision next year. If you shave your beard and she grows one, I think you have a real shot.
To see Bill in action, click here.
To see Candy in action, click here.