Bill Bailey the legendary part troll, part musician and all round comedy genius is bringing his 2016 tour ‘Limboland’ to the Peterborough Arena on Saturday June 4.
This will be the first major comedy show the Arena has put on and is wonderful news for comedy fans who won’t have to travel out of the city to see him like they’ve had to do in the past. Let’s get this gig sold out, and give Bill the welcome to Peterborough he deserves!
So what’s Limboland all about ? Well According to Bill who spoke ahead of the tour – “It’s about not living up to our own expectations. We have a vaulted idea of what we imagined we’d achieve and then we realise the reality is somewhat different. The show explores the gap between the two.”
After some time away from the live arena working on other projects, Bill is very happy to be back on stage. He underlines what a buzz he gets from performing stand-up. “I always get a surge of adrenaline before a show. It really gets the heart pumping in a way that a TV recording doesn’t.
“A TV recording can be stopped and you can go again until it’s funny. Producers say, ‘We’ll cut that bit out.’ You can’t do that with stand-up.”
He adds that, “I love the fact that every gig is different because every audience is different. I get great energy off the audience. It’s like catching a wave when you’re surfing. You think, ‘I’m not going to fall off the board, and it’s going to be great!’”
Another indication of Bill’s popularity is the terrific loyalty he generates in his legions of fans. He enjoys a superb rapport with his followers. “They really respond to the show,” beams Bill, who had six highly successful years as a team captain on BBC2’s much loved pop quiz, Never Mind the Buzzcocks.
“They say to me, ‘We didn’t feel the show was dumbing down in any way. It respected our intelligence as an audience.’ That’s very important to me. I never underestimate an audience. If you challenge them, they’ll respond.”
Bill, who has also starred in the hit C4 sitcom Black Books, as well as his own widely-adored TV shows, Is It Bill Bailey? and Bill Bailey Live, continues that, “If you’re a half-decent comedian, you should be able to get laughs every time.
“But if at the same time you can slip in a bit of something else – a historical appraisal of how different musical modes reflect different cultures, say – as well as keeping it funny, then audiences react very favourably. The first priority is to make them laugh, but the second priority is to make them think.”
For example, in ‘Limboland’, Bill invites us to contemplate what it means to be English. “The idea of English-ness now has a stigma attached to it,” the comedian observes. “I want to say, ‘No, I’m proud of my English-ness’. We have good qualities that get lost in the mix of nationalism.”
Music also plays a huge role in the brilliance of Bill’s act. It adds an element to the show that very few other stand-ups possess. For instance, he performs a stunning Reggae version of the Downton Abbey theme tune that once heard will never be forgotten.
The performer, who had great success with his BBC2 show and live tour of Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra, muses that, “I’ve found a way of incorporating music into my show. I love playing different instruments. Acts where everything comes together can be transcendent. They are greater than the sum of their parts. Music can take things to a higher level.”
Bill is always busy. As well as his thriving comedy career, this very keen wildlife enthusiast has a flourishing sideline presenting natural history programmes, such as Wild Thing, I Think I Love You, Bill Bailey’s Birdwatching Bonanza, Baboons with Bill Bailey, and Bill Bailey’s Jungle Hero.
To underscore his natural history credentials, Bill was recently given an Honorary Doctorate by the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia for his outstanding contribution to the environment on a global scale.
But will all this activity ever get too much for him? Would this sublime stand-up ever think about retiring from comedy? “I don’t think I’ll ever retire,” Bill concludes. “As l long as I can still stand up and play instruments, I’ll carry on.”
To book tickets for his summer gig at Peterborough Arena visit www.peterborougharena.com/events/bill-bailey-limboland-june-2016/