“Sad to say that Gregg Jevin, a man I just made up, has died”. This was the throwaway little joke that Michael Legge came up with a couple of weeks ago on Twitter. It was retweeted. Someone else paid their respects to Gregg. It was retweeted. Within an hour or two it was the top trending topic on Twitter. I tried to Storify it as it went on, but the tweets were coming in more than one every second. Something about Gregg had caught the public’s imagination and with Chris Addison, Peter Serafinowicz, Hugh Bonneville, Colin Baker, and others with a lot of followers joining in, this made a most unusual and entertaining morning. The Royal Albert Hall offered to put on a memorial show after Michael joked about the idea (unfortunately for a dreadful amount of money). Radio Times even tweeted about the changes to the TV schedule that night.
No one really knew Gregg. But suddenly everyone loved him. Though some people hated him. Songs were written. T-shirts were made. Newspaper articles were written. Proper newspapers too, none of your online blog stuff that doesn’t really count. The idea of a memorial show stuck in Michael’s head and soon it became a reality which happened last night at The Soho Theatre. Michael asked me how easy it was to project some tweets before the gig, so I came up with some of my favourite ones which are presented for you below.
Tony Law seemed to be running late but got here just in time to open the show. He’s a Canadian guy who has been around for some time and was speaking completely off the top of his head trying to come up with jokes about Sport Relief (which this show was raising money for – I should have mentioned it earlier)
He was as chaotic and brain frying as ever, and as well as Sport Relief he touched on all the bad people that are killed by cancer, so there was a slight frisson in the room but Tony ploughed on, pulling ideas from his unusual brain. He is performing his full show at Soho Theatre in April, so that’s one we have to go to.
|Barry from Watford|
I’ve heard a lot about Barry From Watford, but didn’t really know what to expect. Well, he was great. An odd older gentleman. He was both endearing and repulsive at the same time, Barry brought out his rather grotesque puppet who he was at great pains to point out was not an official Disney character.
Barry spoke of the ongoing battle of the possibility of a strip club opening in Watford High Street, but the council have told him that they definitely won’t be opening one.
Simon Evans was next, who started with one of Gregg’s favourite jokes about an Englishman, a Welshman and a Pakistani, ensuring a little tension in the room. Of course, the butt of the joke was the Welshman, but Simon was keen to point out that yes, it was racist, but not the bad kind. He told us he had the right to tell the joke as he had a little Welsh blood in him. But he was going to sue the transfusion service as he’d rather have tetanus…
Without any further ado Michael brought on The Trap. I’m a big fan of The Trap (but don’t tell Paul Litchfield). The Trap are 3/4 of Los Quattros Cvnts and feature Paul, Jeremy Limb and Dan Mersh. I had tweeted earlier hoping that they would do their Alphabetti Spaghetti sketch. It was sheer coincidence, but I like to think that my tweet caused them to choose that routine which was a sketch containing all the letters of the alphabet and nothing else.
After this Paul and Jeremy came on as The Two Nevilles, an old music hall style act complete with fezzes. When they boasted they finished their rather twee routine, they joked to Dan that they knew it so well they could do it backwards which Dan of course made them do, which brought a whole new dirtier meaning to the sketch which horrified both the Nevilles as it went on. The Trap are The Ronnies of today, and if you get a chance to see their shows, please take advantage of it.
|“Louise Mensch” aka Bridget Christie|
Michael came on to the stage for the serious bit that all charity shows have, and introduced Louise Mensch, the feminist Tory MP. I had seen Bridget do this terrifying character before at ACMS. Wearing the most grotesque costume which consisted of a military helmet and her child’s mask (which was too small for her to see out of properly) she ranted about her commitment to feminism.
She asked the young lad at the front to pick her “baby” up from the stage as she didn’t want to bend down in case he wig fell off. The poor boy! “Is this really happening?” “I’m in my own nightmare” were two memorable quotes. Bridget Christie is in the top 5 comedians I have ever seen and will take every chance I get to see her perform.
Moose Allain is someone that I’ve followed on Twitter for some time but don’t really know much about. He is good Twitter value, a funny writer, and creator of cutesy demanding robot son Archie Allain. He has never performed a show in public before, but Michael loves him so much he invited him to this show. He read out a letter he had written to Gregg, both “as a useful framing device and because I don’t need to learn my lines.”
Moose is a must-follow on Twitter so if you’re not following him already, go and do it now.
The Beatles were up next. It was quite fun to have a sing song, but perhaps a couple of songs would have been better rather than five!
Somewhat surprisingly, Ian Rankin had written an anecdote about Gregg which he had sent to Michael, which Michael read after the interval. I don’t think anyone expected this, but it turns out that Gregg and Rebus became best friends. Originally this was meant to be delivered by Peter Serafinowicz but unfortunately he couldn’t make it, however Michael did a sterling job!
After a slight technical hitch with the keyboard, Michael introduced Rachael Parris. She is very adorable and sweet, with an undercurrent of tragedy. She spoke about giving up drinking, well drinking alone, well drinking unbranded vodka at home, well she hasn’t given up drinking.
She started with a song with the refrain “There’s a little bit of sick in my mouth, and even more in my hair”, followed by a love song to Gregg to the tune of Hey Jude.
Next up was the fantastic Shappi Khorsandi, but she was unfortunately beaten to her routine about having an affair with Gregg by quite a few comedians before her! she spoke of the relationship and how he changed his number quite a lot and that she often left 10 or 15 voice mails on his phone. She plays the stalker very well! She says she now gets on with his wife very well, and visits her frequently in hospital!
Nick Doody followed Shappi and touched on death quite a lot. He was at his mother’s funeral and it was pointed out that he was singing along to the hymns and was asked if he was coming back to the fold. But of course he was singing along. It was a funeral…
Nick told us the worst thing he has ever said. It was recent, so he still seemed rather embarrassed about it. I won’t tell the joke as it will spoil it for you. And I’ve also forgotten.
He ended his set with quite a grotesque mime, which I don’t even dare to explain, but when some people gasped he did ask us if we realised there was no one there?
I’ve heard Nick on podcasts and followed him on Twitter for some time but this was the first chance I got to see him. He warmed up the crowd nicely just in time for the legendary Guns’N’Moses!
Guns’N’Moses are a “Rhythm ‘n’ Jews” band consisting of Dave Cohen and Al Murray. Rather than waste precious words, I’ll let the video below speak for them…
After a slight delay due to a costume change, a slightly dishevelled Pub Landlord arrived wearing a Santa hat. No one questioned it. I mean, you all know Al Murray so you know just how well he can interact with the crowd. Al promised us that he would go further than Jimmy Carr or Frankie Boyle and push the envelope of taste by singing the edgiest song that exists.
He spoke to the young lads at the front and gave them some cash from his own pocket to get beers. He then sent one of them back to get a beer for himself. After more chat with the crowd we were ready to sing the song – “Baa Baa Black Sheep”
The only complaint I would have is that it was all far too short. I’d happily watch Al for hours. Mitch Benn brought the gig to a close with another singalong song, “Goodbye Gregg Jevin” As Michael said afterwards, the joke is now over and let’s look forward to “the next stupid thing we all do”
After the show I hung out in the bar and got chatting with Lewis Schaffer, a friend of Heather’s. He does a free show every Tuesday and Wednesday at The Source Below, and I’ve heard many good things about him so I will try to get down there next week if I have recovered from The Alternative Comedy Memorial Society the night before.
Many thanks to Michael for organising this stupid night full of stupid stuff, and I wonder what stupid thing will happen next.
RIP Gregg Jevin.