The All New Alexei Sayle Tour: The Palladium, London, 1998
Alexei Sayle: The Stand Comedy Club, Edinburgh, 2013
Alexei Sayle: Talking Comedy: Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, 2015
Alexei Sayle: Soho Theatre, London, 2017
Alexei Sayle: Imaginary Sandwich Bar (Work in Progress): Museum of Comedy, London, 2018
Alexei Sayle: Imaginary Sandwich Bar (Work in Progress): Museum of Comedy, London, 2023

Alexei Sayle was a pivotal figure in the major comedy movement of the eighties and the very first compere of the infamous Comedy Store in London.  Unfortunately, I did not see him perform there but I have managed to see him on regular occasions when he returned to stand-up comedy after a period of seventeen years.  Apart from a tour in 1998 where I saw him play the world’s greatest variety theatre, the London Palladium, he resumed his stand-up work when I saw him again in 2013 at the Edinburgh Fringe.

After initially appearing nervous at the start of the show, Sayle got into his stride and collected his rage and aggression whilst he delivered an hour of bad-tempered but often fantastic comedy to an adoring crowd.  I remembered roaring and cheering giving him a standing ovation at the end of the performance and he was clearly taken aback.  It was as though he had never been away.

I saw him again at the Fringe in 2015 being interviewed by Dr Oliver Double, a lecturer in stand-up comedy as part of a Talking Comedy season.  In 2017, Sayle was back again this time appearing at the Soho Theatre giving his very amusing and savage take on the current state of British comedy.  After the show, Sayle appeared at the bar where I was sitting. I shook his hand and told him I was a big fan since he had started out.  He pulled a daft grin and walked away.

I saw the brilliant Sayle perform a work-in-progress show at the Museum of Comedy in London in March 2018.  The new show Imaginary Sandwich Bar saw the comedian deliver a work-in-progress mixture of stand-up, philosophy and intelligent points of view in front of a packed audience.  He was unconstrained when dispensing humour and after all these years, he still he has a very abrasive attitude in his delivery of certain subjects that annoy him.  The ranting Scouse banter was as funny, intelligent and clever as ever.

When I saw Sayle again at the Museum of Comedy in March 2023, he did a question-and-answer session with comedian Talal Karkouti for the Imaginary Sandwich Bar work-in-progress.  Further to my recent visit to the Stand-Up Comedy Archive at the University of Kent where he had donated original scripts from The Young Ones television series, he had drawn cartoons on the scripts.  Taking questions from the audience, sitting in the front row, I asked him did the cartoons aspire his ideas for the routine in The Young Ones or were you just bored?  He answered that he had been studied at Chelsea College of Art, hence he could draw the cartoons and was probably just bored!

Beloved by the audience and it was great to see the comedy legend perform again on stage.


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