Bill Bailey vs The Latvians

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:

On weather:

BB: So I took the family on holiday to Norway. My god, it was cold. -22…

Latvians: Pfft.

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.

On pronunciation:

BB: What’s celebrity in Latvian?

Audience: Slavenība!

BB: What? Slavenfjdklsfkjslks. That isn’t right, is it?

Audience: Meh.

BB: No, no, don’t just tell me I’m right if I’m not. What is it?

Audience: Slavenība!

BB: Slav…

In the end, he had to ask a girl in the front row three times what it was. I admired his perseverance.

On celebrity: 

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.

Audience: Candy.

BB: OK, what does she do?

Audience: She’s a singer.

BB: How did she get famous?

Audience: (silence)

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?

Men: YES!

Women: NO!

(After a few lemon looks…)

Men: NO! 

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.

Is this what Latvian men think a vagina looks like?

Is this what Latvian men think a vagina looks like?

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. 

The tweet: hahaha niace shoaw ;)))) im the celebrity too!

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.


About BerLinda

Adjusting to life in Germany, after living in Latvia for four years. Should be easy, right?
This entry was posted in Humor, Humour, Latvia, Latvian people, Riga and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

101 Responses to Bill Bailey vs The Latvians

  1. Hi there Expat Eye! I got your post from Anna@gohomeandaway. Hilarious post about Bill Bailey and Latvia. Bill came to Berlin last week too. Enormously funny man. I would have loved to be at Latvia. Sounds like a show-stopper too! Here’s what I wrote about it, if that’s alright:

  2. Local says:

    You do know that @LieneCandy twitter is a parody/fake, right…?

  3. 1WriteWay says:

    Anyone with the name Bill Bailey has to be funny (no relation, I’m sure). I am disappointed that you weren’t pointed out as THE celebrity … geez, before you, I’d never heard of Latvia (well, not much anyway) 🙂

  4. Anna says:

    I applaud Candy’s ability to laugh at herself, how un-Latvian of her!
    I should see if there are any western comedians coming to Russia any time soon, but I am not sure we’re in the best geopolitical environment right now for joke-making…

  5. barbedwords says:

    Very funny, sounds like a great night. Just clicked on the Bill Bailey tour link to discover he was in Rome LAST NIGHT!! That’s what I get for not keeping up to date on my blog reading…

  6. Good morning says:

    If I may voice my opinion (which no-one asked for but which I saw fit to go right ahead and voice anyway), after extensive reading of your blog, your biggest strength (amongst others, worry not) is just this. Dialogue. The complete dialogue. Unchanged. Exactly as it occurred. One thing is hearing it. Another, infinitely more amusing, is reading it.

    P.S. – Please don’t listen to anyone who ever tells you to try and come up with a wider variety of names for your characters. No. The numbers are just fine. Thanks for the laughter.

  7. Emmi says:

    oh man…. please Lind please send some youtube links on choir wars and singing families… allthough Im not suprized they have such shows in Latvia apparently there everyone loves to sing.

  8. Washed up porn star maybe, but she doesn’t look like a vagina to me.

  9. mmarinaa says:

    This entry was fantastic! And then it just kept giving with the links! Candy’s video was supremely trippy. She was talking to herself at that meeting part, right? Or am I just assuming all blonde people are the same people? I literally could not tell. If you’ve seen one vagina, you’ve seen them all, you know?

    • Expat Eye says:

      Sadly, that’s probably true 😉
      And yes, all blonde people are the same people – I’ve always known that – here’s to us brunette ladies! 🙂

  10. linnetmoss says:

    All this talk about vaginas is boring. Could we please get back to the giant penises?

  11. It’s definitely a skill.

    I wonder how he rehearses it? Can we hear from anyone whose ever say next to him on a bus, for example?

  12. Helen says:

    I loved this post! Bill Bailey is so funny, he’s probably still in shock from his trip to Latvia and Candy the Vagina. Doubt that was the answer he was expecting!!

  13. June says:

    There’s nothing like a good comedian for a side-splitting belly laugh. I like Candy’s dress – wonder how it would look on a non-celeb…

  14. expatlingo says:

    Choir Wars! Ha!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Yeah, BB thought it was much more exciting than it actually is – two choirs sing and then beat the crap out of each other with sticks. It is like that – just without the sticks and beatings 😉

  15. Aussa Lorens says:

    Candy Vagina, I just can’t…

  16. lizard100 says:

    I reckon you search engine terms are going haywire based on this pay alone! And then there’s the comments!

  17. lizard100 says:

    Brilliant! He was in Holland too but no one told me! Meh!

  18. Mārtiņš says:

    Linda, you hurt my feelings. You call Kongresu Nams hideous architecture.
    You can call Gaismas pils (the new library), Triangula bastions, Stockmann hideous.
    But that place, the park around it, canal, faculty of Biology, Jūras Pārvalde (called Ainava, Milk restaurant then) childhood memories. And it’s our history anyway which including architecture. There are people who think that changing regime, architecture, monuments, all the heritage must be burned to the ground but I disagree with it. Old Riga, churches – left overs from Germans… The park where grandma took me for a walk and my sister in pram. A part of me. I should take you on an excursion one day to show hidden (not hideous!) Riga. It’s diverse.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Are you asking me out? 😉
      I’d never thought it was an attractive building, but when he said it, I looked around again, and just thought wow, it really is bad. But then, I don’t have any memories there – apart from seeing Dylan Moran as well 🙂 The park, canal, etc – the rest of that area is beautiful. Just that building is a bit, well, not nice? 😉

      • Loronzo says:

        About asking out – yeah, it might be true. But I’ll be selfish in mentioning my motives – I haven’t spoken with a person whose mother tongue is English for a quite while. Of course, any person is not good enough.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ha, well at least you’re honest!

      • Mārtiņs says:

        Sorry, I’m Mārtiņš. “Loronzo” just appeared.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Yeah, I can see your email address 😉 Is Loronzo like ‘Bad Martins’? 😉

      • Mārtiņs says:

        About asking out.
        I might. I just have to mention my motives – I haven’t spoken with a person whose mother tongue is English for a quite while. And something inside of me tells me I need it. Of course, anyone is not good enough.

        P.S. Sorry if I’m typing twice. Something technically.

      • Mārtiņs says:

        I wanted to learn Italian. Subscribed to an Italian webpage. When registrering I was Martin, but after a while I’ve got a subscprition with a header “gentile Martin Loronzo”.
        I wrote that they’ve mistaken. The surname was corrected. But then again they changed it back to Loronzo.
        Thus, I started to like my new nickname.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ha ha! Loronzo is kind of sexy!

    • Expat Eye says:

      And I don’t remember saying anything about Stockmann or Triangula Bastions (I don’t even know what that is)… did I? It’s been 140+ posts so maybe I’ve forgotten!

      • Loronzo says:

        No, you haven’t noticed them. It’s my opinion – they’re disgusting. Stockmann in particular. And the new library – bizarre, reminding crematorium or electric power station. Actually, the above mentioned usually surpass it.
        So I’m just encouraging to agree or share an opinion.

      • Expat Eye says:

        I can appreciate the symbolism of the library, I just think it’s a design ‘fail’ 😉

      • Mārtiņs says:

        No, it’s just me, encouraging to mention and/or share an opinion about them.
        To me Stockmann is a dreadful building, a box. And a national library reminds of crematoria or electric power station. Yet, usually they surpass it.

  19. nancytex2013 says:

    If you squint a bit and turn your head sideways, I can see where Janis may have mistaken Candy for a vagina.

  20. lafemmet says:

    Sounds like a good show! I think I would have to be in a big city to see something of quality. Small towns have advantages, but good shows are few and far between. IT is the same in the U.S. great post.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Thank you! Yes, I think the big cities (or at least, capital cities) are where it’s at in this respect! I do miss the theatre though – there’s a Shakespeare season on here at the moment but Hamlet was sold out when I went to book. Oh well!

  21. CatLady says:

    Candy. Sounds like a stripper’s name.

  22. Those choir shows ain’t always bad either…

  23. You are THE celebrity, surely…?!

  24. Not Jānis says:

    Hate to disappoint you but it was Candy’s fake account on Twitter that replied to Bailey. Still funny (or ‘fanny’ as the real Candy might spell) though.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Aw, shame! Why do people go to the effort of setting up fake twitter accounts? Am I just technologically-retarded or is that cool now?

      • Not Jānis says:

        At some point the real Candy deleted her account, so someone decided to fill the void.
        Mostly not cool, but there was an account for Latvian Catholic Bishop a while ago, which was quite funny (sort of like Elizabeth Windsor’s account is sometimes hilarious).

      • Expat Eye says:

        I’m hardly ever on Twitter – I ‘tweet’ if I put up a new post, then get freaked out by all the new tweets and get off it again 😉 How does anyone keep up with all that crap!

    • CatLady says:

      Hahahahahahahaaaa !!! “Fanny”. What’s the obsession in Latvia with giving themselves English names? Not the best choices, either (ie you hear “Aisha” you think “black girl”, you hear “Candy” you think “Soho strip club”, etc.).

  25. Owen Barker says:

    See Latvia isn’t that bad….lol


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