Went to see Phil Nichol in Manchester this weekend. He was f#cking amazing. His act is so high energy you can't imagine it without witnessing him first hand. The climax of the show involves him taking off all his clothes and protesting for peace in Iraq. Brilliant. There's a logic to it which he outlines as he moves towards the end of the show, while telling a story of drugs and nonsense in Amsterdam.
The first time me and the lady saw him he was bouncing around the comedy stage in Glastonbury. That performance became, in my mind, the stuff of legend. He jumped after a bloke who was leaving the show, rugby tackled him to the ground and begged him not to leave "because I'll be real f#cking funny any minute now, sir". Later in the act he tried to stick his unsheathed winky in someone's face who had offered to suck it! Madness, total madness. But at the same time it's that raw f#cking energy that only live comedy can bring. You can't match it in any other context. Try anything like that anywhere else and people would be horrified.
The next time we saw him it was up at the Edingburgh festival; first in the play talk radio and secondly in his own right as a performer, the night he won the "if.comeddies"* award as it happens. Jolly good he was then too, although to be fair this performance in Manchester was better. Probably because he wasn't dealing with the confusion of the fact he'd just won one of the biggest awards in comedy. Certainly a shock to me and my lady. Not the sort of comedian you'd expect to get mainstream approval. He's too good.
I hope it doesn't ruin him.
Seriously, it's an odd pressure to have on you. We were in the stalls during the interval talking to a nice old couple who'd popped out to see some comedy and had got this legend talking about for example, how great the drug Ecstacy is. "He's a stag night comedian though isn't he," they were saying, "we heard about him on Radio 4 and knew he'd won the award so we thought he might be like Ross Nobel". They were nice enough and certainly weren't complaining but I don't think the night was going quite as they'd planned. They looked horrified when I told them the 'sucking the winky' story. Totally f#cking horrified.
*The new Perrier award.