John Bishop Live
Since bursting onto the comedy scene back in 2000,
comedian John Bishop has gone from strength to strength- Reaching the
finals in the long running ‘So you think you’re funny’ television show
and winning a whole slew of awards. More recently he won over audiences
with his show, ‘Live at the Apollo,’ and appeared on the BBC’s ratings
juggernaut Top Gear, where he competed as a star in a reasonably priced
car and knocked Tom Cruise off the top of the leader board. (And let’s
face it- that can’t do a bloke’s popularity any harm).
‘Elvis has left the building’ is Bishop’s first DVD
release, and showcases his performance to a packed Empire theatre in
After no time at all, it’s clear that Bishop is a
one-eyed Liverpudlian football fanatic- before he takes to the stage, we
are shown a video of him donning Liverpool FC colours and running onto
the pitch at Anfield stadium. Don’t worry if you’re as clueless as I was
at this point, because it all makes perfect sense later on.
First impressions are that you’re going to have to be
someone who knows about football (soccer) and British celebrities to
enjoy this show. For Australian viewers at least, that margin might be
fairly slim. But stick with it and you will be pleasantly surprised.
Through the course of the show, John relates a series of
narratives, on a variety of different topics: these range from dealing
with teenage boys and their Xboxes, turning 40 and needing to deal with
such insidious problems as ‘back fat’ and ear hair, and the less
wholesome attractions of the internet. While it is sometimes crude,
Bishop’s style of delivery is instantly endearing. He slowly articulates
each point, sometimes repeating himself, to add to the overall effect.
If you don’t burst out laughing at every joke, you’ll certainly shake
your head and smile. Even when a joke falls short of the mark, as they
sometimes do, Bishop’s charming persona and optimism are enough to carry
the scenes of John’s live show- Some incidental footage of John and the
crew as they are setting up at the Empire theatre.
John’s tour diary- Some more camcorder footage of John on the road,
performing at a variety of venues across Britain. It’s worth the watch
because it shows you how the absurdity of life as a travelling comedian
can lend itself to spontaneous jokes (leopard-skin wallpaper?)
Porthcawl Elvis festival documentary- Easily the pick of the special
features, this doco describes how a seaside town in Wales becomes a
mecca for Elvis impersonators during the festival. It features quite
lengthy interviews with the festival organisers and performers, making
it worth the watch.
While the alludes to British celebrities and football
stars might sail over the heads of Australian viewers, the Dadsy, daggy
humour at the heart of the show has universal appeal. It leaves you
walking away feeling glad and uplifted, and as John says himself at the
end of the DVD’s final special feature, “You cannot ask for more than