By Andrew Murphy
Paul Foot does not have fans. Paul Foot has connoisseurs. In fact, Paul Foot is Life President of the Guild of Paul Foot Connoisseurs.
If you like the unconventional, you might like to join the Guild. If you’d like to laugh for half an hour whilst Foot explains to you that the show has not yet started, you might also like to think about joining the Guild.
When Paul Foot does humour, it really is humour unlike any you may have experienced previously.
‘The field of complete nonsense’
As we enter the Private Widdle Social Club and the Widdleonia Light Orchestra begin to play (Widdleonia being a tiny, eastern European country, measuring no more than 7 x 5 metres), we know only to expect the unexpected.
“At the moment, I’m very interested in working within the field of complete nonsense,” says Foot. “It’s completely impenetrable to analysis or any kind of understanding.”
If you were to see Foot at the Bloomsbury Theatre on December 16, for example, you will see him “speaking not even in the English language, but in a nonsense language which is affected by a horse.”
Rubber chicken and an inflatable hammer
Paul is not Widdleonian himself. He was in fact born in England and, like you and I, he studied at an English university. However, he disposed of his Oxbridge degree in Mathematics (boring!) in favour of the limelight, and he’s not looked back, baby!
“It’s like a previous life,” he explains. “I thought it would be more interesting to do show business than to do mathematics, and I was right. It’s quite fun now, my life. I mess about a lot.”
In 1998, the last time Paul visited Kingston University, he remembers audience members throwing a rubber chicken and an inflatable hammer at him on stage.
“If there is a lecturer at Kingston University who threw a plastic hammer at me 13 years ago, then look at me now,” he gloats.
“I’m living the show business lifestyle whereas you’re a lecturer at Kingston University who’s about to get the sack due to a sexual scandal involving a waitress from Sunderland.”
While studying at Oxford, Paul may have had three course meals of quail and partridge cooked for him, but he has since become quite creative in the kitchen, and would like to share his recipes with us.
“I was thinking of bringing out my own programme where I just make my own recipes, but they’re all rubbish. They’re really awful, and they all go wrong.
Then at the end of the programme people taste it and everyone’s just vomiting and you can just hear everyone being sick as the credits roll.”
Paul Foot is a comedian, a chef and a show businessman, but above all an extremely interesting human being.
A man with whom you may discuss news agendas, cryptic crosswords, showbiz nods, socks which match your tie and the functionality of your living room.
And as he gives us a lift to Trafalgar in the Nissan, eating processed cheese and showing us the sights along the way, you realise that there really are very few real comedians who don’t need jokes to be funny.
Paul Foot’s alternative Christmas dinner for those who may not be able to afford a turkey.
1 baby carrot
1 Brussel sprout
2 raspberry shoelaces
Take your sparrow and insert the baby carrot up inside the sparrow to keep it moist
Roast the sparrow
Boil the Brussel sprout
Place the Brussel sprout inside the beak of the sparrow
Wrap the raspberry shoelaces around the legs of the sparrow to create tiny stockings and suspenders
Stick the marshmallows to the sparrow to create breasts.
Enjoy. Merry Christmas.
See the full interview below