TV Burp funnyman Harry Hill is returning to stand-up, with dates lined up at Birmingham’s New Alexandra Theatre in February 2013. Here, he tells us what to expect from Sausage Time.
Harry Hill has not done a live stand-up tour for six years. But the comedian is now back on the road – and it has been well worth the wait. He’s funnier than ever.
In Sausage Time, the floppy-collared comic returns with a show that dazzles on every level.
For instance, it pledges to give us absolute proof that God exists, provides a section exclusively for Tongans, furnishes us with a summary of Harry’s nan’s latest ailments, showcases the legendary Stouffer the Cat and proffers a debut solo stand-up spot to Harry’s son Gary, best known for his role as Alan Sugar in Harry Hill’s TV Burp.
We are also promised performances by the show band, The Harrys, and the expert whistler-of-chart-hits grandson Sam and an all-singing, all dancing finale. Oh, and a giant sausage. What’s not to like? One thing we should anticipate above all else is a wonderful sense of silliness.
“There’s never a serious agenda to my comedy,” says Harry. “I use a lot of slapstick and a lot of silly wordplay and puns. The show doesn’t have an overall theme. It’s just a load of silly stuff.” The comic has been doing warm-up shows and has relished the experience of performing live again. “I’ve loved it. It gives you such a buzz. Hearing laughter is such an exciting feeling.” Harry adds that, after the long-winded process of making TV shows, stand-up offers more freedom. “Stand-up is so immediate. You can have an idea in the morning and get a laugh for it in the evening. No-one else can tell you what to do, apart from the audience. The audience is the ultimate arbiter.”
The comedian, who has won multiple BAFTA and British Comedy Awards, goes on to reveal one of the major ideas that will run through Sausage Time. “I have a whole shtick about Broken Britain. It’s a mickey-take of Middle-England paranoia. I pick on someone in the audience and accuse them of putting their rubbish in their neighbour’s wheelie bin. I get really angry about it. Then I accuse someone else of throwing away a coffee cup without disposing of the grounds first. I extrapolate the consequences of their actions, which are that a baby ends up on a ventilator. By the end of the show, I’ve completely lost my rag!”
Harry outlines the thinking behind this section. “We’re paranoid about this country falling apart because it is, but there’s nothing we can do about it. It’s finally caught up with us. I’m not saying why. I’m just taking the mickey out of that overreaction. I get furious with the audience for their misdemeanours because there is something really funny about people getting angry over something so trivial.
“We’re obsessed with dividing up our rubbish and putting it in different bags. That’s so annoying. In one local borough, they distribute plastic bags for you to put your recycled rubbish into. Any system that relies on plastic bags for recycling is obviously flawed.” Harry says he felt a weight had been lifted when he quit TV Burp after 11 years.
“On our final show, we had a knitted character, Wagbo and Heather’s death on EastEnders, which was a complete gift for us. I thought, ‘It won’t get any better than this.’
“At the end of that last show, all the production team were crying, but I went back to my dressing room and felt like a weight had been lifted. The closest equivalent was when I gave up medicine. When I drove out of Ashford Hospital for the last time, I had this great feeling of euphoria. I still feel that – I’m not missing TV Burp in the slightest.”
* Sausage Time is on at the New Alexandra Theatre on February 26 and 27. Tickets are £31.