when he joined the Manchester City team

when he joined the Manchester City team

I just can’t understand why modern comedians rely on profanities to gain a laugh. Yes, I know that I am a lot older than I used to be, but I have never found the swear word a substitute for humour.

Lee Nelson came to the Eastbourne Royal Hippodrome Theatre recently, and was quite a funny man, despite the fact that he swore constantly. He is certainly popular, as there were almost five hundred present with a theatre that seats a maximum of 630.

His appearance had been publicised for the previous six months, and the mainly younger audience were queuing outside in the cold, so we took pity on them and ushered them to the stalls bar.

an unlikely X Factor finalist

an unlikely X Factor finalist

It is a strange custom these days, but theatres don’t tend to open their doors to the main theatre until half an hour before. Lee Nelson is a basic stand-up comedian, requiring no props, just himself prancing around the stage when accentuating a gag.

So no scenery, and no reason to arrive early to rehearse. Due on stage at 8pm, Lee arrived at the theatre anonymously at the stage door seventy minutes before. His real name is Simon Brodkin, and is famous for pulling off stunts against personalities.

Remember a comedian storming the stage and showering FIFA President Sepp Blatter with fake money? That was Brodkin/Nelson. He breached the Glastonbury stage security when Kanye West was performing, and has infiltrated Manchester City and the England squad. He failed in the latter.

he'll never learn

he’ll never learn

I was ushering on the front door, greeting patrons and ensuring they went to the correct seating area. However, two men were in a state of not a little agitation due to the late arrival of their four ladies, who were parking in the closest spot that transpired to be ten minutes walk away.

The problem was one of the ladies is due to have a baby in seven weeks time, so couldn’t be rushed. They were on the phone with progress, so Jayne the duty manager delayed the start by seven minutes so there would be no interruption for late arrivals.

Lee/ Simon is touring to sell out shows at medium sized UK theatres, and will not allow any late arrivals to disrupt the show. There are two points in the first half when he will allow, otherwise wait in the foyer.

Lee with his new best friend Sepp Blatter

Lee with his new best friend Sepp Blatter

No photography/recording, and apparently at Lowestoft theatre he climbed onto scaffolding to join the audience and confiscate a mobile phone. Some determination.

His Eastbourne performance was a solo appearance, with no support warm-up acts. Fifty minutes of the first half were spent with some quite funny material, reflective and personal, anecdotal, and interacting with the audience.

Lee Nelson’s latest tour is called ‘Suited and Booted’ and he is suitably smartly dressed. He likes to ask the audience where they come from, and as Eastbourne has a reputation of being inhabited by the older generation (it isn’t, the average age is 37, close to the national average), he targeted one particular audience member foolish enough to admit to being over 65. Jokes have a notorious habit of losing impact when in print, suffice to say that wheelchairs, lack of hair and senility were major topics for the butt of his humour.
Lee had done his homework, realising that Hampden Park is the area where the rougher element of Eastbourne live (they don’t really, some of my best friends come from Hampden Park) so he managed to target those sufficiently unwise to admit this was their postcode. Clothing, tattoos and diet, need I say more.

Strangely, what he didn’t do was berate people when they disappeared for frequent toilet breaks, disturbing the whole row if they were in the middle.

promotional photo

promotional photo

They roared with laughter, and the greatest interval queues were for toilets and the bar. That did a lively trade, so the second half included a lot of inebriated audience interaction. He seems to be well used to hecklers, encouraging insults and then putting down with professional ease.

There was him, his manager, and another bod, who I assume was the driver. No-one else, and we were informed that if there was any persistent drunken heckling, they would sort it out. They would physically eject the miscreant.

Mid-way during the second half I noticed a large puff of smoke emanating from mid way along row D, four rows from the front. Someone had a puff on an E cigarette! Lee/Simon never commented, and I stood alongside the rows’ end for quarter of an hour, but no repeat cloud.

spot the fake England player

spot the fake England player

He just went down so well. He had a final Q and A session, and has agreed to return next year. With a reception like that, he would be very welcome.

He came off stage, removed his microphone, ran down the corridor, and jumped into his waiting car before any audience member had even left their seat. No staying back for selfies and signings. With a reaction like that, he didn’t need to.

 

www.royalhippodrome.com   www.harrythewriter.com for more of Harry, www.harrythewalker.com for information about Harry’s guided walks, and www.harrythetalker.com to learn about Harry’s public speaking. You can always be Harry’s facebook friend, and Twitter he is @HarrythePope