“Do we need comedy? Strict winner Bill Bailey’s pandemic career doubts before swinging back (his hips)


It has been a surprisingly busy year for Bill Bailey, given that comedy shows and festivals are emerging from the pandemic and at one point even questioning his future as a performer.

But the fully explainable popular comedian’s feet barely touched – or waltzed – the ground with the release of a new book, the lobbying and victory, for a spot on the main stage at the Latitude festival and, of course, his Strictly Come Dancing victory with his partner Oti Mabuse, which brightened up an entire country during a very dark time.

Read more:What are the former Strictly Come Dancing winners doing now?

Bill’s comedy class is silly, hilarious, unique, and his hurdy-gurdy style belies the total talent of a guy who, before Strictly, many considered a funny, long-haired man with a penchant for nature.

He’s coming to Cardiff Motorpoint on December 15th and this show, En Route To Normal, will undoubtedly cover all of the above and more.

But he admits he considered missing the C word altogether at some point.

“I thought about it for a while [not addressing Covid] maybe I don’t mention it at all, “he said, weaving aloud his plan behind the topic of the new show.” I’m just going to talk or write songs to the music and we’ll go on. another tangent, I’m ‘I’ll have written an entire song about a fictional Sherpa that came from the East End, so let’s do it.

“But then, it would be strange not to mention a unique event in a century. Of course, it was tragic in many ways and it was devastating, but it is also something that we have experienced, those who l ‘went through and it’s a bit of history that’s sparked all kinds of weird behaviors and weird situations – the way we communicate and work, maybe it’s permanently changed things in some ways. So would be weird not to mention it and I have to strike a balance between the two, really.

“I’m rooting it in my own experience, I’m talking about my experience of being locked out and being in quarantine and the weirdness as well as the precariousness of the job. How it all stops without warning and you catch yourself thinking that maybe you should do something else. ‘Who needs comedy? We need drivers, delivery drivers no comedy, we don’t need the arts, maybe we don’t need everything that !

“There was a real existentialist crisis of doubt.

Watch when Bill was crowned Strictly Champion:

Video upload

Video unavailable

But the raw truth, 2020 and beyond was a time when we needed comedians like Bill, maybe more than ever. A feeling proven by the 30,000 people who showed up at 11am on Sunday morning at the Latitude Festival. Bill, rightly, argued that the place of comedy and stand-up in popular culture today should be on the main stage instead of the comedy tent.

“The atmosphere. It was amazing, it was electric, people wanted to come, wanted to see me, wanted to laugh. And it was completely an overwhelming experience. And as I walked from the back of the stage to the up front, I thought ‘maybe I should have done a little gig in a pub first’. “

Bill talks about the importance of a shared experience at a comedy gig and that’s what he missed, but he also said the new show would definitely see some pretty dance moves. As the winner of Strictly Come Dancing 2020, that would be fair, I said.

“The dance was… I mean, who knew that?” he’s laughing. “I had no idea I was going to be able to do this. But somehow it captured a moment, I think it was a time when people needed a little fun and a little bit of sparkle and it really lifted people’s spirits. And it definitely brought people together, in my family too. We’re all scattered across the country and everyone was getting together and having a great time. message or video call – we’ve all been riding this wave together. “

His show, he says, will contain dancing and although he found dancing on television quite intimidating at first, he fell in love with it and found himself inadvertently dancing at some shows during the summer. .

Bill lifting the Strictly trophy in 2020 with professional dance partner Oti Mabuse

“I understand a little better about it and the type of physics, the basics and what Oti taught me and so I love doing it,” he added.

After all the talk of dancing and acting, I asked the inevitable question of how he felt about returning to Wales for his new tour, a country close to his heart having spent many childhood summers here.

“Wales is in the country of my youth,” said Bill fondly. “My mum was Welsh and her dad was from Saundersfoot. And so, you know, we had family and parents there and when I was a kid the whole family would pack the car, we would drive to the south of the Wales. So when I was a little kid my mom and dad always said ‘who’s the first to see the Severn Bridge?’

You can see Bill’s En Route to Normal Tour in Cardiff on December 15 and January 12, 2022. Tickets can be found here.