- Film & TV
- 21 Jan 22
Catch Bill Bailey’s live show EN ROUTE TO NORMAL at the 3Arena Dublin on April 29th and SSE Arena Belfast on April 30th, 2022.
Hero of 2021
Richard Radcliffe. He was on a 21-day hunger strike outside the Foreign Office in London to try and get his wife Nazanin released from prison in Iran. I went down to visit him and he was in incredibly good spirits for someone in his condition. It was so humbling. I just thought ‘this is what I would do if my loved one was in this situation’. You’d do anything in your power. He's such a dignified, determined and courageous person.
Villain of 2021
The Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, has got to be up there with the worst. Just in terms of shameless disregard for his own people, a shocking arrogance and a willingness to trash his own country. As if rubbishing the whole pandemic wasn’t bad enough, he’s now decided to destroy the Amazon rainforest. The exploitation and threats and killings of tribes...he’s a monster. He told his own people to stop ‘whining’ about Covid once. Unbelievable.
Best Personal Moment
Being able to do a few gigs over the summer was great. Latitude Festival was a highlight. Over the years, I’ve performed at it many times but I always thought that comedy was undervalued at big festivals. It’s hugely popular mainstream entertainment now. Latitude finally allowed me to perform on the Main Stage this year before the Kaiser Chiefs, Chemical Brothers and Wolf Alice, after much persuading. It was nerve-wracking, because no one knows who’s going to show up on a Sunday morning after a big night before. It was a risk but the whole 40,000-strong crowd came. That was quite a moment, walking out and seeing that. It felt like a vindication. People want comedy as much as they want music.
Favourite Movie/TV Show
Dune. It’s absolutely spectacular. All the actors are brilliant, and there’s genuinely epic cinematic moments. There’s such a sense of threat and otherworldliness about it. The soundtrack is from another universe, too. There’s throat singing - just unearthly yet ancient sounds. It feels like arthouse cinema on a massive scale. The ‘80s attempt at Dune was a commercial failure and very expensive flop, but I still enjoyed it. The special effects just weren’t facilitated until this year’s version.
I listen to a lot of traditional Norse music, like Wardruma. It’s very atmospheric. I love spending time in Scandinavia touring, so I’ve got great affection for that place. In terms of albums, probably Blue Weekend by Wolf Alice. I was on the Latitude bill before them and it’s brilliant music.
For anyone interested in the origins of the pandemic, there’s this brilliant book called Failures of State by George Arbuthnott and Jonathan Calvert. It’s basically a breakdown of the whole Covid-19 unfolding. How it started, suggestions from years before, scientists in Wuhan, how it spread: the whole story. It’s also a forensic look at the catastrophic failure of the UK government dealing with it. It’s not a comfortable beach read but it’s essential reading.
Best Thing You Saw Online
I loved all the ‘overheard’ conversation videos. The idea that someone is in the room next door talking to Boris Johnson, that’s just great. I got into watching Instagram Live videos in the last year because I’m fascinated by people jumping off stuff. It’s the same thing we did as kids but we didn’t film it. ‘Yeah, Adam’s gonna jump off the garage - brilliant’ (laughs). It’s just hilarious.
Your Hope For Next Year
That the arts can get fully back on its feet after taking such a beating. Getting back to performing, theatres getting back to full capacity, a return to artistic normality.
What Tickled Your Funny Bone?
Anything Bob Mortimer does on his phone. I love when he pretends to be this office-based corporate guy but he integrates it with nonsense. It’s really funny.
Catch Bill Bailey's EN ROUTE TO NORMAL tour when it lands at the 3Arena Dublin and SSE Arena Belfast this April. Tickets on sale here.
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