Recorded at the Brixton Academy in June 1999, this Comic Relief video featured some of the best British stand-ups of all time. And Lenny Henry. The highlight was obviously Hattie Hayridge, but some other comics deserve a special mention.
It’s easy to be biased, but Hattie really is one of the best acts. She only gets a few minutes, but those minutes are memorable. She tells a great joke about tampons – “Instructions are written in 12 different languages, all meaning “insert into the vagina”. That could be a phrase book for an 18-30 holiday.” Another fantastic act is David Baddiel, who essential just looks at a Victorian document about recent deaths, and sneers at it. It’s terribly funny stuff. Lee and Herring are also on fine form, with Rich giving his opinions on heroin and sex with owls. Simon Day does an excellent Billy Bleach routine (also seen on The Fast Show Live video), and Sean Lock is at his whimsical best.
There are some lower points, however. The following people are shite: Ali G, Lenny Henry, Junior Simpson. Established lovely people such as Rowan Atkinson and Tim McInnerny didn’t use very good material, although the strength of their performances carried them. Sketches from Goodness Gracious Me, The League Of Gentlemen and Smack The Pony are performed, but somehow the evening didn’t suit sketch humour. Besides, we’ve seen the sketches dozens of times, and only The League managed to utilise the live element to add humour, with a few handily placed ‘fuck’ utterances.
However, the video is well worth tracking down. It would be a shame to miss out on some of these performances, particularly as nobody wants to give Lee and Herring, Hattie Hayridge, Simon Day and Sean Lock their own videos at the moment. You’ll have to search the bargain buckets – but it’s worth your while.