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The Bishop And The Bond
Channelling the grief he has experienced over the long illness and death of his father into comedy helped Des Bishop cope with the loss of a loved one. Now he has written movingly about his dad, a New Yorker who turned his back on showbusiness – having auditioned for the role of James Bond – to support his family. But alongside the affection there is also a deep ambivalence to be found in his memoir.
Olaf Tyaransen, 14 Dec 2011
“I thought about not putting it in, but the only reason I wasn’t gonna put it in was I was concerned about somebody like the Mail or the Herald doing like one of this things that’s not even a bad article – but the headline insinuates this horrific thing. So I was worried about giving them a bit of fuel. But first of all, that hasn’t happened, and second of all, who gives a fuck? I’m comfortable enough to know that the shit I did when I was 17 has nothing to do with what I’ve done today.”
Although he quit using drink and drugs at the age of 19, Des still considers himself a recovering addict. Comedy can be a notoriously hedonistic profession. Has he ever been tempted to hit the bottle again?
“Nah, no no, I mean I had my struggles for the first few months then but I was heavily involved in fellowship and all that stuff and it was a huge part of my life particularly in the first few years. Now it’s just so far removed from my life it doesn’t even come into the equation. But I’m pretty sociable, I’m still very close with a lot of my buddies from college, particularly nowadays guys that still drink and some of them still smoke weed.”
It can be difficult to be around people who are drinking and drugging when you’ve quit.
“Yeah, it was earlier, it’s not so much now because you get in your 30s and your buddies don’t booze it up as much,” he says. “Besides, I like when they get a bit loose with a few drinks. And still to this day, this might not be a popular sentiment but I still like when people are fuckin’ high when they’re dancing. I like the energy. I hate the fact that people don’t take as much drugs in nightclubs anymore, in the sense that I wish it wasn’t the drugs that fuelled it but I miss the culture.
“I’m not saying everyone should take drugs, but I do miss the focus. There was this focus on dancing and you just don’t have that nowadays.”
What gets you high nowadays?
“Well a good dance gets me high, but on a fuckin’ rare day. Silent disco once or twice got me going. I love... pussy.” He laughs uproariously. “Pussy is still a weakness, man! Well, I mean I’m single so I still… you know.”