Jasper Carrott: The Sands Centre, Carlisle, 1988
An Evening with Jasper Carrott and Alistair MacGowan: Richmond Theatre, Richmond, 2015
At the age of twelve in 1979, I discovered a book called A Little Zit on the Side by an unknown comedian to me at the time, one Jasper Carrott. His name had made me smile and his book made me laugh out loud – tiny chapters of bizarre autobiographical ramblings from the Birmingham comedian. The wonderful book led me onto one of his live albums which I bought in WHSmiths, Carlisle in 1981: Beat The Carrott – Jasper Carrott Live at The London Palladium. The album which I played over and over again featured such classic routines as The Nutter on The Bus and Insurance Claim Forms. I laughed so hard at the songs and delivery of this funny man’s words coming out of my old stereo speakers that I became a life-long fan but never thought I would ever get to see him live. That changed when the Sands Centre in Carlisle featured as a venue for his latest tour.
The sign of any great comedian is to research the place that you are playing. When I saw him in Carlisle in 1988, he has a field day with the audience describing familiar places and events in instantly recognisable and very funny detail.
Fast forward twenty seven years and I saw Carrott again at The Richmond Theatre in a double bill with Alistair MacGowan. MacGowan did the first hour and was brilliant as ever with the impersonations and the anticipation to see if the famous comedian appearing for the second half could still perform the old magic was exciting. The audience were not disappointed. At the age of seventy, he was as versatile and engaging as ever, bounding around the stage describing bizarre events in his advancing life. The stories and jokes were cutting and extremely funny and he even through in some favourite routines.
I feel blessed to have seen one of Britain’s funniest and best comedians performing twice live on stage.