Posted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 4:52 pm Post subject: Kevin Bridges
Kevin Bridges- The best since Billy Connolly?
22 November 2010
FRIDAY night, and half a dozen good friends head up to Glasgow intent on a memorable evening – the kind that will take well into the following week to piece together, and only after the connection between the kebab stain on the best shirt, the inky blue wrist-stamp for the naff pub and the string of texts from "Alison" becomes apparent. But, unknown to the others, one of them is already tiring of the regular stramash at just 17. He thinks he's having a reverse drowning experience, and starting to see his future flash in front of him. It's not what he wants.
"I didn't really fit in with where my mates were going," recalls Kevin Bridges, "Most of them were doing apprenticeships and everything seemed predestined. You worked away, doing your degree, then you got a job and you carried on going out every Friday night until you settled down and got married. I began to hate that scene of living just for the weekend, just for the crap nightclub."
Now we flash forward six years. Geographically it doesn't seem like Bridges has moved on very much as he tells the assembled company: "Glasgow! It's Friday night, it's fuckin' pay day, here we go!" But these are his first words to the 10,000 who've packed the SECC for the recording of the first DVD in the incredible career of Britain's hottest young comedian. The pals? Oh, he hasn't forgotten about them: Stevie Boy, Tony, George and the other electricians and brickies in his gang were all rewarded with tickets for the show and they'll probably get the DVD for Christmas as well. Falling into the trap of thinking that every Glasgow boy is a stand-up in the making, I ask if they're as funny as him. "Er … naw," he says with conviction and, of course, perfect comic timing.
Bridges – who turned 24 last week, seems older but quips that this is what a young man in Scotland looks like – has now got the career he wants: making people laugh. For his observations on the west of Scotland experience he's hailed as the best Scottish stand-up since Billy Connolly. His comedy has already taken him to 18 countries and early in the new year he'll combine working the clubs of New York and Boston with a South American adventure. Machu Picchu? To be honest, he's more excited about Argentinian football matches. Right now, though, he's in Glasgow in his Diego Maradona T-shirt, having just got back from another gig on his biggest UK tour thus far.
"Farnham. I'd never heard of it before last night. One of those satnav-resistant wee places. It was a good show but small, only 700 people. That's still amazing, though: 700 coming out to see me. Everyone I asked seemed to be an accountant." Bridges wonders what very southern crowds get from his comedy. He's good at funny voices, including bemused English ones, real and mechanical, like the automated guy employed by Odeon who can't compute his movie choice, but says he's making an effort to speak slower. "And that must be working to an extent because when I get back to Glasgow, folk say: "Saw yooz on TV the other night, talking like a gayboy."
This is a fascinating, exciting time for Bridges. Home for him until now has been his mum and dad's but he's just bought his own flat. For his next tour it's a safe bet the likes of Farnham will have fallen off the map, its accountants forced to do the maths and conclude they've become too small. In conversation – only a handful of major sit-down interviews to date – he's still working out what he wants to say ("I hate the word 'pastiche' … do I mean 'esoteric'?"). What will he be like in 12 months' time – and more importantly, what will the act be like?
Will he still walk on stage like a ned? Will his black Slaters suit still hang on him, as in the old gag, as if he's "the accused"? Enhancing this image some more, when he sticks out his arms to acclaim the crowd's roar, will it still seem like he's complying with polis who're about to frisk him? When he's guesting on clever parlour games like Have I Got New For You? will he still be the only one who does a footballer's wave? And when he cracks a funny will he still let slip his little schoolboy snigger? Oh we hope so.
"Do you know what's the most amazing thing?" he says, settling down in a Merchant City pub with a Coke. "Seeing my old teachers in the front row at one of my shows. Guys who – well, they didn't expel me, but I was asked to leave school. And there they are paying good money to see a slightly more polished version of the patter with which I used to disrupt their lessons." Bridges, a Clydebank boy, went to St Mary's Primary and St Columba's High, following big brother John, ten years older. "Same mum and dad. Folk always wonder. Typical of this day and age, but sad isn't it? John works for the Clydesdale Bank. He's got the classic lifestyle – living for the weekends – that I wanted to avoid. But he's totally content."
He says he's been looking back over his life for this chat, to try and work out where the comedy came from, but cannot come up with an unhappy childhood anecdote. Dad Andy used to work in the shipyards as a night-porter. "Then when he was teaching creative writing, these daft wee poems, he contracted rheumatoid arthritis. The funny thing was his class were all rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, so he must have caught it off them." Mum Patricia is a home help and he says of his parents: "They were always brand new when I was growing up and never argued – well obviously they did but they weren't alcoholics or anything."
The family are always telling him he's inherited Granda Tommy's mantle as the family entertainer. "I didn't know him, he died when I was four, but Mum gets awfully weepy about seeing him in me." Bridges gives the impression he's not a sentimental man – "I'm not on stage for my own self-gratification; it's my job," he'll say when asked what it's like to make a packed hall hoot with laughter – but especially for his mum, in the scene-setting footage on the DVD when he's driving round notable Glasgow locations, he includes a shot of his grandfather's graveyard.
En route to the SECC he enjoys notable Glasgow delicacies; chips and Irn-Bru. I make the mistake, as we discuss the Scottish working-class existence's potential for comedy, featuring in his gags about fried food and deep-fried violence, of using the word "exploit". He says: "I don't think I do that. It would be very easy for me to be all Scottish parochial and talk about 'bawbags' and 'daubers' but I don't." He's protective of Scotland, even finding the pride in Glasgow Airport getting its own terrorist outrage.
Typically, Bridges will be scornful of "Welcome to Glasgow" billboards showing "Nathan, sales assistant, and his friend Josh" as representative of the city now. He thinks visitors might be disappointed not to be greeted by "Wee Mental Davy, apprentice joiner, father of six, with the kids all dressed up for Granny's 30th". He strives for authenticity. "As long as it's true, as long as you're being you," he says. "I can't help where I come from."
We talk about his show-stealing TV appearances, such as the story (perfectly true) told on Would I Lie To You? about him unwittingly purchasing a horse in Bulgaria. Hilarious though this was, I felt he was mildly patronised by Rob Brydon and David Mitchell for not being quite as sophisticated as them. He doesn't think he was but admits he must be careful not to become "the panel show guy". Having turned down the chance to replace Peter Kay in a beer commercial he doesn't seem to want to become "the advert guy" either. "I know where I'm going with this whole thing," he says.
Analysing his young life some more, and having quickly moved on to beer, Bridges admits to demolishing the Wendy House at nursery and crying most days at primary school. "I was a home boy, shy and nervous." Was he a mummy's boy? "No, not that. I just hated having to be someplace. It took me ages to relax, not until secondary school, where I just mucked about. I wasn't obnoxious, just daft. I remember Mum and Dad coming back from parents' evenings and saying; 'The teachers think you're a funny guy but you need to behave.' I was like: 'What, they really think I'm funny?' I suppose the non-conformism has always been there."
The two time-honoured working-class escapes are through football and pop music. Neither of them was open to Bridges and, for a young man, he's surprisingly dismissive of both worlds. "I used to support Celtic home and away. There's half my audience gone in one sentence. But eventually I saw football for what it is. Celtic are this massive global corporation operating out of this really poor area. There's a lot of talk about the 'Celtic family' which is patronising and also hypocritical when single mums have to fork out for three new replica shirts every year. I just got disillusioned with the whole thing."
He's just as scathing of "knobs in Converse and skinny jeans" and the pop-star look he knows he'll never achieve. He makes fun of his carrying-a-bit physique in the act where he describes the ordeal of trying to purchase 36ins waist jeans, maybe 38ins, from a store staffed by "an indie-band freak-show who say 'Chillax' all the time and display the kind of energy and enthusiasm that oozes from folk who've not been punched in the face". He's self-deprecating, for sure, but there's resentfulness, too, which makes such riffing extra-funny. It was a band, though, who inspired in him the belief he could do something different, be someone.
"I was 17 and at a house-party and while everyone else was getting pissed in the other room me and Jordy were watching an Oasis DVD. Jordy's my brother's pal so at 27 he was watching Liam Gallagher, then 21, and getting all nostalgic for being that age. I thought: 'I've got four years until I'm what he deems young, plenty of time to f**k this comedy lark up. I'm gonnae go for it.'"
The party was technically an "empty", the quaint custom of teenagers whose parents are away having the house invaded. "They don't so much 'have' a party, they get one." Bridges has a wonderful routine comparing and contrasting Easter hols "empties" in Clydebank with how US high-school spring-break frivolities are depicted by Hollywood. Did he dream up the skit that night while watching Oasis and planning his future? "Not quite, but that conversation was pretty deep ... for an empty. I'm quite a deep thinker, I suppose. That probably goes back to when I was a wee worrier."
At that point he was at Stow College – "Undergraduates' motto: 'Too thick for uni, too arrogant for a call-centre'" – studying psychology. He wrote to The Stand, the Glasgow comedy club, asking for a gig. "I turned up in my best Puma T-shirt, Levi's and scrubbed-up Timberlands with a wee chain round my neck. I just looked like an apprentice." But he got asked back the following week. "I'm not bigging myself up but from the start I felt like I belonged in comedy."
For a year he managed to keep the stand-up a secret from his mates, Stevie Boy and the rest. "It was my secret world where I was meeting new friends and I liked to escape there. I had to make up excuses: an uncle's 40th, babysitting. The guys started to get suspicious – 'Hey, are you doing comedy?'; I always said no – and it was a sad day when they were finally able to out me."
Since he was the one, every Friday, who hated nightclubs – "I know why now: it was because no one could hear my jokes" – it comes as little surprise to learn that Bridges wasn't much of a ladykiller. "I never had a serious girlfriend until I was 21." Then she went to uni in Australia and when she got back he was a TV star, a regular on Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow who was telling chat host Jonathan Ross a lovely story about his dad getting all proud and emotional as he drove him home from that first gig. "Susan and I split up at the start of the year but now I don't know if that was the right thing."
His life has been transformed. With just one proper relationship to his name, he now finds himself surrounded by women gagging for a man with a GSOH. "Comics aren't like musicians who can drag groupies to a VIP party someplace swanky," he explains. "They have to head round to the bar after a gig and, standing there like the priest after the service, they can seem quite desperate – all they can offer is the local Holiday Inn Express, room 125, non-smoking. But there's action if you want it. Sometimes I think: 'You're way too stunning to be talking to me.' My mates think I'm daft for worrying about that but I do. In the morning you're always always mortified because you have to get off to the next gig."
Lest we wonder which "mates" he's talking about here, it's not Michael (McIntyre), Rob (Brydon) and David (Mitchell) but the original gang. Kevin Bridges loves his life right now, and for its bonkers contrasts as much as anything. One night, in the company of some of the funniest men in Britain, he can be sipping fine wine in the green room after another turn on TV. But the next he'll be back on his home patch sharing the classic 10p crisps combo of Bikers, Space Raiders and Johnny's Onion Rings and the banter will be just as good.
This is material for his act but he tries not to forget that for those he left behind, it's real life. "A couple of the guys have just become victims of the recession – bumped off so their employers don't have to pay them a man's wage. That's really tough. And if I'd done what they did, my apprenticeship would have finished about now so more than likely that would have happened to me. I'm a dead lucky bugger."
not sure if this is ok to post, but he is a regular visitor to my restaurant, and is a top top guy, very humble and down to earth, and even though it must be really annoying to be disturbed by other diners, is always very polite. What a guy!
photo by Phil Wilkinson Interview: Kevin Bridges, comedian
29 January 2012
HIS comedy career is on a sharp upward trajectory, so why is Kevin Bridges still plagued by insecurity and neuroses? Later this year Kevin Bridges will perform to more than 120,000 people in Scotland as part of a colossal UK stand-up tour, yet his appearance and demeanour, as he sits and talks in BBC Scotland’s headquarters by the Clyde, suggest not comedy royalty but rather a journeyman plasterer or, perhaps, a student at one of Glasgow’s less rarefied colleges. In his blue jeans and white trainers, in his apology for being slightly late, in his constant assertion of Ordinary Blokeness, he strives for a level of banality that he never quite achieves. For Bridges – if one only takes the trouble to peer beneath the hooded top – is actually fascinating, complex and more than a little neurotic. He is, in fact, Hoodie Allen.
“Sometimes I just create worries in my head,” he is saying. “Or sometimes I just feel overwhelming sympathy for people that I don’t even know and I start to make up stories. You know, like you see an old guy in a pub and he’s sitting on his own with a bowl of soup? I think that’s tragic. I start to think maybe the guy’s wife has died and this is all he’s got left – just his wee day oot to the pub, and I start to get really ...”
He trails off, as if he has a lump in his throat. “I know that sounds a bit mad. This is like a therapy session.” What is causing him to experience such strong emotions? “I don’t know. Catholic guilt, maybe that’s it. Growing up Catholic? Who knows?” Is that it? Something about his Catholic upbringing? “No, I think that’s too easy to say. I just overthink things a wee bit too much.”
That’s classic Bridges. He will proffer a statement about himself, a theory almost, then retract it immediately, as if to say it was just a joke all along. He seems reluctant to commit to self-analysis, yet you get the sense that he does think about these things – his drives and dark places – and would, on some level, like to talk them through at length. He’s on the psychiatrist’s couch but keeping one foot on the floor.
You can see that in his new BBC1 series What’s the Story?, in which he explores the roots of his material by taking the cameras to meet his parents, his oldest friends and so on. In one scene, prompted by on-stage musings on psychology, he visits a therapist and – though the tone of the series is intended to be gently humorous – comes across as anxious and panicky, uneasy with the idea of confronting himself. “Do you think you’re OK?” he is asked at one point. “Borderline,” is his reply.
Bridges is 25 and has been a professional comedian since the age of 17. He grew up in Clydebank but moved to Glasgow last year. He was asked to leave school in fifth year after – he confesses somewhat reluctantly – he failed to sit two of his Highers, preferring instead to travel to Seville and watch his beloved Celtic in the Uefa Cup final. “So the school said, ‘Look, you’re a bright guy, but if you’re not going to show up for exams what’s the point?’ And that’s when I had to go out into the real world with my three Highers. Too thick for uni, too proud for a call centre.”
His big break was a 2009 appearance on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, since when his career has been on a steep upward trajectory. His live DVD outsold the latest by Billy Connolly. In one day, last November, he sold 45,000 tickets for forthcoming stand-up dates. It would be difficult to overstate his popularity. But has he been able to enjoy the experience? “Oh aye, I enjoy it, but there’s still that thing at the back of your head that somebody’s going to go, ‘Right, that’s you, your time’s up.’ Maybe that’s a working-class thing.”
He gives an example of what he means. “I went into this designer shop and bought a jacket for, like, 280 quid. Then I started to think, ‘My mum’s a home help and that’s a week’s wages.’ I went back into the shop and I was returning it. The guy looked at the receipt and it was only 17 minutes after I’d bought it. So I was going, ‘Oh aye, I tried it on again and it didn’t fit.’ I was starting to go a bit red. I just wanted to get the money back so I could go. The guy ended up giving me store credit and I sold the vouchers to my pal for £200.
“You know you get R&B stars that make a bit of money and success and they’ll go and buy hunners of motors? I could never imagine being like that. As soon as I had bought the jacket I thought, ‘What am I doing? I’m a comedian, I’m supposed to be the underdog, I shouldn’t be dressed like this' – 17 minutes it lasted. I had 17 minutes of glamour. A 17-minute celebrity. The guy in the shop was probably saying, ‘That Kevin Bridges was in today and he was fucking weird.’” Does he not feel he deserves the success? “No, I think I definitely deserve ..." He trails off. “I don’t really see it as success. I just work.”
It would be wrong to portray Bridges as living some kind of hairshirt-and-gruel existence. His success has its fairy tale elements. He has recently returned from a trip to Spain to watch Barcelona play Real Madrid, and was able to introduce his father to Sir Alex Ferguson following his performance at a dinner to celebrate Fergie’s 25th anniversary at Manchester United. However, generally, Bridges’ rejection of conspicuous consumption and his embrace of work do seem meaningful.
His father Andy used to work in the shipyards as a night porter, but rheumatoid arthritis has meant he has been on incapacity benefit for several years. Bridges grew up in a council house, which his parents bought about ten years ago. They were by no means affluent, he recalls, but neither did he feel poor. That said, he remembers the feeling of shame that came with being eligible for free school meals. He and his pal Tony would sell their dinner tickets for 50p and, come Friday, would have enough for a bottle of cider each. “That was the economics of the school. That was how it worked.”
His father’s ill health and refusal to sit idle, but instead to involve himself in creative writing and other projects, were, for Bridges, an important motivation behind his own strong work ethic. “I always respected him,” he says. “I think he does get frustrated. It’s that pride thing that he got told he couldn’t work but he doesn’t want to just sit on his arse. There’s that frustration that he always felt held back, and I see that as an inspiration.”
Andy was with him when he gave his first ever live performance – at the Stand comedy club in Glasgow in 2004. “I was under 18 so I had to have a guardian, an adult with me, at all times. Then I started getting offered gigs outside Glasgow and I needed a lift. I mind it was my dad, my mum, my Uncle George and my Auntie Maureen and me in the car. My family were always 50 per cent of the audience. At these low-level gigs, most of the comics bring the audience with them. So the other comics on the bill would have girlfriends with them or whatever, and I’d have my mum and dad, my auntie and uncle, and there would be maybe two punters. I remember asking my mum, ‘Is it all right if I say fuck on stage?’”
At first, his parents saw the comedy as a hobby. Bridges had started going to college – first doing business admin at the Food Tech and then social sciences at Stow, as well as stacking shelves in the Co-op at the weekends – but he had little interest in further education. “I used to buy an all-day ticket, pretend I was going to college and just sit on a bus for four hours, going up and back, up and back, making notes, and that’s how I wrote most of my stuff.”
Live comedy was an obsession. It all goes back to Frank Skinner, whom Bridges interviews for the BBC series. Reading Skinner’s autobiography was like looking in a mirror. Skinner’s working-class background reflected his own situation, which had – until then – felt limiting. “I used to think that to do stand-up you’d need to go to some sort of school and get qualifications or you’d need to come from some kind of theatrical background. I just didn’t think it was possible. I knew I was quite funny with pals, but that’s just my pals.” Skinner’s memoir taught him otherwise. “I realised that I didn’t have to audition or send in some sort of CV, I could just walk on a stage and go for it.”
One night, at the age of 16, awake and worrying at 3am, he sent an e-mail to the Stand asking if he could have one of its open-mic spots. “I had been advised to leave school. I was doing what I knew was a bullshit college course. I didn’t know what else to do. Then I had a moment – an ‘I’m gonnae be somebody’ moment – and sent it.”
A month later, while he was in the grips of Pro Evolution Soccer on the PlayStation, he got a call from the comedy club to say he could have the spot. It was a turning point. The spot went well and he kept it up, performing wherever and whenever he could. Eventually he started getting paid, and was able to pack in his shelf-stacking job. More than the money, though, which was modest at first, was the sense that here was a world where, finally, he fitted in. He had always struggled with that. At primary school, he had cried every day – “I was a nervous wreck; really shy” – which he puts down to simply not wanting to be there; he would have preferred to be at home, where he was able to relax.
At secondary school – St Columba’s High – he made good friends, but there was still a feeling that he could not quite be himself. He was, for example, a great reader, but the idea of talking openly about books was unimaginable; such an admission would have been met with incredulity and disdain, at least until he discovered Irvine Welsh – a hero, in part, for the way he, like Bridges, expresses himself in Scots vernacular – and was able to pass his novels along to pals. “I don’t mean I was a lonely person growing up, but I never really, truly related,” says Bridges. “Dance music, nightclubs, hanging about the park – that was boring to me. If the music was too loud, I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t be funny. In a nightclub, I’m redundant. So there was a longing to escape that. It was only when I tried stand-up that I felt, ‘This is me.’ That night back from the Stand, that first gig, it was me and my dad together, and after years of messing about and being told I was too daft for school, I was going, ‘I’ve found where I’m supposed to be.’"
He still has the same social group – the guys with whom he grew up and who are still his team-mates for seven-a-sides on a Saturday. On Sunday nights, when his Clydebank pals stay in, Bridges will often go for a pint with friends from the world of stand-up, among them Frankie Boyle and Greg McHugh. “But I’ve known them for eight years. They aren’t pals I’ve met through the world of showbiz. They’re work colleagues."
Bridges enjoyed the anonymity of the stage in those early days. He could be anyone. “There wasn’t that Clydebank small-town attitude of, ‘Aw, his Da’ was funny as well; his Da’ was funnier than him.’ “I remember when I first started, I never told any of my mates because I was worried they would show up at the gigs and then all my fellow comics would go, ‘These guys are all mental.’ I used to worry that they’d look at me and hear my accent and think I was a ned. I hate that word, but I worried that’s what they would see me as. It’s only now that they’ve merged. Frankie knows all my pals.”
For what other reasons did he not want his friends to know about the comedy? “It was a personal thing. I don’t mean it was an escape. I don’t want to start talking like a rapper that escaped the Bronx. It was just a personal thing. It was me and my dad. I thought, ‘If I tell anybody, this’ll ruin it.’ I liked the idea that I had a wee place to go. But eventually I ran out of excuses for what I was doing at the weekends. I ran out of uncles that were turning 40. I lasted about a year.”
Bridges is more at ease because he seems to have reconciled himself to the idea that stand-up is work. A proper paying job. His pals were serving apprenticeships – as electricians and joiners – and so, in his early years, was he. He is determined, therefore, now he has learned his trade and makes a good living at it, to maintain high standards. So even though he can sell out the arenas with seeming ease, that doesn’t mean his performances should be anything less than sharp. To this end, he is returning to the clubs for a few months of low-key gigs ahead of the big tour. “The comedy circuit is the proper spit ’n’ sawdust boxing gym where you get toughened up.”
The craft of comedy is important to him but there is also an element of self-preservation in his pursuit of excellence. “The first tour went well so I’ve got a second tour. But if the second tour’s shite I won’t get a third tour. And then where do I go? Back to Stow College. So that’s the fear ...”
It’s a strong word, fear. Is it fear of failure that is driving him? “Aye, but I think everybody’s got that, though.” Do they? Maybe, but it seems especially acute in Bridges. There is an interesting tension about his career just now. His work is rooted in Scottish working-class experience; his humour is typical of that milieu – coarse, quick, warm, dark, daft, vivid, a touch sentimental and taking a proprietary pride in the bampots and bawbags for whom the west is famous.
Success threatens to insulate him from that world, but he is aware of the threat and is determined to remain the person and comic that, right now, has Scotland entranced. Certainly, his ego doesn’t seem to be running away with him. Quite the opposite. “I’m only a comedian,” he says. “I’m there to make people laugh, the same as in school or work when I was the funny guy, the joker. “People come to see me as a night out. I would be dangerously close to insanity if I thought differently.” He laughs. “It’s good to stay close to people that know you just as a dick.” n
• Kevin Bridges – What’s The Story, 8 February, BBC1, 10.45pm. He tours the UK from September to December www.kevinbridges.co.uk
Kevin Bridges: How I learnt to be a stand-up comedian He used to be too terrified to take to the stage. Now he’s making millions laugh every week...
8th February 2012
The first time I ever stood on stage I had just been sick. I remember making myself ill to get the day off primary school on the morning of my debut in a play about my hometown of Clydebank during the Depression. My mum and dad told me to stop being silly and to not over-react to a little bit of fun. The story, the characters, the script made no sense to me. The only line I can remember was the one that earned me my first laugh from a paying audience, “What do you mean you wonder... sure it’ll be steak, as usual” – a reply to my impoverished and malnourished classmate’s crestfallen enquiry of, “I wonder what’ll be for dinner tonight.”
Before high school I was a nervous, anxiety-ridden and overwhelmingly shy wee guy. The thought of even going to school in the morning had me in tears and trying to run away from teachers. So the idea of standing on a stage in front of a few hundred adults and fellow schoolchildren to deliver lines genuinely terrified me.
The first person I ever spoke to about stand-up was my brother John, when I was 14. John is ten years older than me, so I can only imagine how irritating a 14-year-old frustrated, creative little brother must have been. I was bored in my room one night and went in to annoy him, telling him I’d written some comedy routines.
He wasn’t interested. I remember him throwing a trainer at me – tough crowd. I went away and wrote myself a little script and returned to his room for my performance. I started by saying, “Good evening, good to be here” in a deliberately rigid – this is how comedians talk – delivery. He started laughing, very much at me rather than with me. I punched him in the knee, in response to which John gave me my first-ever bit of feed- back – if you want to make it in comedy, assaulting people for laughing could prove to be a setback.
Aged 17, I performed stand-up for real, my anger management issues resolved, this time in a comedy club. I arrived with my dad, having been told I’d only be allowed on the premises if I was accompanied by an adult. The bar staff had a printed email saying that there was an under-ager performing and under no circumstances was he allowed to consume alcohol in the venue. I had no script, really, so I used this as my opening line, “I just got sold a pint at the bar, so get it up ye.” “Get it up ye” being a Scottish version of “In your face” or a Nelson Muntz-style “Ha ha!” It got a laugh and led me into a whole routine about being 17, being old enough to have sex but too young to buy porn. “You can no doubt tell by looking at me that I don’t get my fair share of the action – I’m not even allowed to watch the topless darts,” being one of my early crowd-pleasers.
My entire set was jokes about being a 17-year- old but then I turned 18 and I was snookered – should have seen it coming. Since then my joke writing has evolved, but I always try and keep the raw, real-life edge to my material, with most of my routines firmly based on my experiences – which in many ways remain the best joke.
Crimewatch - “I saw a sign that said, ‘Have you seen this man?’ So I phoned up and said, ‘Naw...’” “Naw” being no. This joke was just me and my mate watching Crimewatch. We heard the “Police would to like to know if anyone has seen this man...” witness appeal and he flippantly said, “No.” It was just a throwaway, half-listening to the TV, half- trying to stop his dog rip his couch apart remark — but about a year later, at a gig in Dublin, it came into my head before the show and I used it as an opening line — and it got a massive laugh.
I had to stand and wait on the audience to stop laughing before I went on and I think the long pause just made it funnier. I had so much time to think on the spot, so I added the line, “Tell them nothing. I might be a few things but I’m not a grass.”
Heckler crosses line at Kevin Bridges gig
8 June 2012
SCOTTISH comedy giant Kevin Bridges didn’t see the funny side at a gig in the Webster Memorial Theatre this week. The comedian, who was in Arbroath testing out new material for his next tour on Monday and Tuesday, was threatened by a member of the audience at the second appearance.
Graeme Gersok who was in the audience described what happened: “I think there might have been a bit of banter, obviously comedic, he was trying to get people into the mood. It just came out of the blue. It was more like verbal abuse. He offered him outside. You couldn’t quote what he said, it was pretty bad.” Gary Cavanagh, from Auchmithie, who also witnessed the incident said: “Kevin was just having a bit of banter with the audience. The audience were telling this guy to shut up, he was just off the wall. People were shouting at him to get out. He started slagging off people in the audience, shouting derogatory terms about people’s mothers. Kevin Bridges was trying to calm it all down and get things under control. After about 10 minutes the guy left and everybody cheered.”
According to Graeme the man was apparently prevented from returning to his seat by theatre staff. He added: “He certainly ruined it for Kevin Bridges first of all, and also the people who paid £20 for a ticket. You could physically see it in him, his shoulders dropped. He didn’t have a wee laugh at his own jokes like he normally does. You could see he didn’t want to be there, it was such a shame.” According to Gary, although everyone was relieved, there was no recovering the atmosphere after that. He said: “He was still very funny he did the best he could given the circumstances, but you could tell it had hit him for six.”
After publishing the initial story on our website at www.arbroathherald.co.uk we received this comment from reader ‘smokie jo’. It read: “He was a complete embarrassment – totally spoilt what should have been a brilliant night. I felt sorry for Kevin Bridges who has no doubt gone away from Arbroath with absolutely no intention of returning. The guy should be named and shamed and be banned from the Webster.”
A spokesperson for Angus Council said: “During a performance by Kevin Bridges on Tuesday evening at the Webster Theatre, two members of the audience used unacceptable and threatening language towards the comedian. The situation was monitored by front of house and backstage management who took the decision at an early stage to ask the two men to leave the premises, which they did, accompanied by the other two people in their group. We are very disappointed that two people caused this disturbance, which temporarily spoiled the evening’s enjoyment for the rest of the audience. Kevin Bridges played at the Webster Theatre for two sold-out performances and was very well received by those who attended.”
Both Kevin Bridges and his representatives, Off The Kerb Productions, were contacted, but had not replied by the time we went to press. The Herald also contacted Tayside Police and at the time of going to press the incident had not been reported.
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