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Friday 10th June 2005
Friday 10th June 2005

Friday 10th June 2005

I was lucky enough to see the comedian Chris Lynam perform in Chiswick tonight. He was already a mainstay of the comedy circuit the first time I tried to make a go of it, and though he's been away for a while, it is great to see him back, still confusing and delighting audiences with his strange, wonderful and stupid act.
There is certainly no-one else like him on circuit and he encompasses the madness and danger that must be ever present in comedy if it is to really do its job.
And it is a dangerous act. Not only does he destroy apples with a plank and let off fire extinguishers into people's faces and set fire to things (more of which later), he also very nearly caused me injury tonight when he took a shoe off the foot of a man in the front row and flung it in my direction. He later told me that the only person he has ever hit doing this(and accidentally of course) was the comedian Kit Hollerbach, who some might say would possibly deserve such a thing (not me, I think she's lovely), but the fact the shoe of judgement came so close to me gave me pause for thought to check I was living my life in the right way.
Chris is a performance artist and clown (in the proper sense of the word) and though his act can be slapstick and willfully ridiculous, it is also strangely beautiful. At one point he kills a carrier bag, which then proceeds to bleed and Lynam twists a red piece of material in the air and declares that this is art. The drunk people of Chiswick who had probably been expecting cock jokes and diatribes about how stupid George W Bush was were enchanted by this. It was amazing to see and only made me wish that there were more comedy clubs and more comedy audiences with the balls and the patience to book something this different (so kudos to Simon from ha bloody ha). It was old fashioned in the best sense of the word and a link to an exciting past that is no largely (and in the case of Malcom Hardee literally) dead. Go and see him if you get a chance. He was doing his stand up set tonight, which hasn't changed all that much in the last decade, but he also does a theatre show, which I missed at the Soho theatre, alas but which he is still touring. Check his website for details.
It is hard to resist an act which ends with a man taking off all his clothes, tucking his penis between his legs to make him look like he has no external genitalia, then sticking a firework up his bottom and setting fire to it, whilst making the audience sing "There's No Business Like Show Business". It says more about the world then the lifetime's work of a pompous satirist and moreover is something that a) is very funny and b) you do not see every day.
Also you fear that the venue is about to be set alight, so whilst you are laughing you are confronted by your own mortality. What could be better?
An absolute pleasure to meet this man properly (I was too rubbish to talk to him when we shared a bill in the early 1990s) and if he had hit me with that shoe I would have felt almost privileged.
I certainly wouldn't have been calling Claims Direct. But it says something of the world that we live in that this is probably something Chris would have to worry about these days. Not that he looks like he worries too much about anything. Thank God.

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