From China to Aylesbury as comic Bill Bailey brings his larks to the theatre

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey

A conversation with Bill Bailey takes in many different angles.

Speaking to us ahead of his show coming to Aylesbury’s Waterside Theatre (a venue he said he has never performed at before) on Wednesday and Thursday May 30 and 31, our chat takes in everything from the ubiquitous nature of mobile phones, the impact that YouTube has had on stand up comedy and performing in the Far East.

Bill Bailey

Bill Bailey

This is the second leg of his tour entitled Larks in Transit based on the Dickensian definition of larks, and is a show which has already travelled.

Bill said: “The show has gone to Australia, China, Vietnam and Thailand after the first leg of the UK tour, before coming back to this country.

“It’s a little more autobiographical than previous shows but lots of stories and jokes.”

But he says there is a huge appetite for comedy in the Far East even if you have to be careful with the subjects they talked about.

Bill said: “There is a lot of censorship especially somewhere like China where president Xi Jinping who has declared himself in charge. You are asked to avoid subjects like Tianamen Square, Taiwan and Tibet. It will get a reaction on the night but it has an impact.

“It’s not so much a censorship for me as I will go there, do the gig and swan off somewhere else. But for the owners of the club who have hosted the gig, you might read that their licence hasn’t been renewed.”

But Bill says despite this, comedy doesn’t suffer in an environment like this.

He said: “What you can do is make allegories towards it. You can point out situations which are similar and let people draw their own conclusions.”

He also says that he very rarely has to adapt his act depending on the venue.

Bill said: “Ever since YouTube was launched, there is a huge wealth of comedy material out there, and there is a great demand for English speaking comedy all over the world.

“People have become a lot more savvy about their comedy tastes.

“There is not even much variance between the gigs within the United Kingdom. People will tend to travel quite far. I did a gig in Swansea and there was a couple who had travelled in from Amsterdam for it.”

He has even promised some new songs for his show including taking an every day object and turning it into a song.

Bill said: “Mobile phones have become so ubiquitous, I am talking on one now but it is my alarm in the morning and has notes on it.

“It is the sounds of phones so there is a song in there attempting to reclaim the sounds that a mobile phone makes for a little bit of light relief.

“There is also a new take on some nursery rhymes so there is a version of Old McDonald’s Farm if it was sung in a Blues story.”

We have most recently seen Bill in the sitcom In The Long Run on Sky One alongside Idris Elba and has nothing but praise for his co-star.

Bill said: “It is quite a brave move for Idris I think to put something that was autobiographical and all about his family and the relationship he had with his dad.

“But it was a very sweet heart warming story set against the backdrop of the mid 80s and casual racism.

“It was also great because we don’t have enough of those different voices on British television. It was a lovely series.”

Tickets can be booked by visiting www.atgtickets.com/venues/aylesbury-waterside-theatre. He also appears at Wycombe Swan on June 15 and 16. Visit www.wycombeswan.co.uk for further information or to book.