Friend to the Stars #2: Matt Lucas


Matt Lucas expurged spurts of thick, gloopy comedy all over the face of the world in the form of Little Britain. This show cheekily milked the tits off eight or ten jokes for an astonishing fifteen series, two specials and an iPhone app featuring annoying micropayments for such classic soundboard clips as “I am the only gay in this village“, “Oo! I’m a LA-dy!” and probably some others I’ve forgotten about.

Matt Lucas had always been part of the cut and thrust of live comedy of course, – a far preferable choice of career than that proffered by a school guidance counsellor who advised him to go into being a large and smiley boiled egg.

The careers guidance counsellor was later fired- from a cannon,- but Matt decided on making people larf and larf and larf instead of just being bashed on the head with a spoon and having dippy soldiers drain away his vital brain yolk.

That’s a thing that’s called ambition.

And indeed he did make us laugh, as early character Bernard Cholmley Warner entertained crowds at the Edinburgh Festival, interspersed with appearances as ‘big baby’ George Dawes, dressed in a romper suit, on Reeves and Mortimer’s incomparable spoof game show Shooting Stars.

In case you don’t recall Matt’s turn as George Dawes, here he is.

Note audience chant.

In 1996, I had the privilege of working as Lighting Assistant on Bryon Fear‘s play The Shapeshift at the Edinburgh Festival.

One afternoon, a group of cast and crew were imbibing a few Scottish Ales in the bar of the Pleasance, when in walked Matt Lucas and what I imagine was Stewart Lee; only he didn’t look as bloated in those days- probably due to all the amphetamines he was doing back then.

Both stood at the bar, earnest and morose faces and conversation clearly about ticket sales. Or maybe they were just hungover.

How cheered up they would be, we thought, and possibly deeply touched, if we all just started singing “He’s a baby! He’s a baby! He’s a baby!” at Matt Lucas in honour of his peerless performances as George Dawes.

We’d have chanted something at Stewart Lee also only we weren’t a hundred percent it was actually him and, besides “What do you want- the moon on a stick?” didn’t seem to fit the mood.

So there we all were, chanting “He’s a baby! He’s a baby!”

One or two of us got up and did the Vic and Bob silly dance to welcome him.

And you know what Matt Lucas did?

He just sighed, shook his head, said something very much like “Fucking wankers!” before draining his pint quickly and walking out.

Stewart Lee surveyed us briefly, wondering whether to say something.

But instead he shook his head sadly and followed Matt Lucas out.

We thought it was quite good at the time.

But that was before the reviews for our own show came out.



PS: This is a horribly similar tale to the time I nearly met Jamie Oliver

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