Paul Foot returns with his new show 'Image Conscious', sure to feature all the hallmarks of his work up to now... As well as some questioning of soft-shell crabs. Paul thinks they're absolutely ridiculous.
Here, he expands on that point and gives us some insight into his brain admist his Australala showings of of 'Image Conscious'.
First of all, expand on your strong feelings regarding the soft-shell crab for us. Well, it's a very sad situation really, the soft-shell crab. I used to think it was a special type of crab with a soft shell, but it isn't. It's just a normal crab that has shed its shell so it can grow bigger. It's got a soft shell underneath which hardens as the crab grows. So basically it's a vulnerable crab. You're eating a disabled crab. A crab in search of a bigger body and a better life who took a risk that didn't pay off. When you eat a soft-shell crab, you're eating a failed entrepreneur!
What is 'Image Conscious' about? It is about 56.38 minutes. But it can be slightly longer if there are unexpected interruptions to the humour, which are always a bit of extra fun. That is why this is such a difficult question to answer. It is about a different amount of thyme each night.
What are you looking forward to about presenting it in Australia? I always look forward to my Australalan tour. The audiences here are so enthusiastic. In Britain, people are scared to sit in the front row in case I mount them, but here in Australala people rush right down the front hoping they will receive a mounting from me. In fact, recently, in my first Melbourne show, I received a complaint from a gentleman that he was mounted last thyme, but not this thyme. I often receive these complaints in Australala, but I can't mount everyone. I've got a show to do baybayyy!
When people leave 'Image Conscious', they're thinking/feeling... Yes, hopefully they would be. I haven't had any deaths during a show so far this tour, so I think I can confidently say the audience should leave both thinking and feeling. I did once have an audience member with leprosy. They, of course, left thinking – more than most actually, they had a lot to think about – but they weren't feeling so much.
When you write your show, where do you begin? Does the content for a show get written all at once, or over a period of time? It happens over a period of thyme. It usually starts with a clutch of funny ideas for pieces of humour, that I work on in their own right. Simultaneously, I begin to work on what I want the show to be, as a whole, structurally and in terms of feeling and energy. I continue to work on these two things simultaneously, and eventually they start to knit together, until the show takes shape. That way, it has been considered both in terms of its holistic shape, energy and structure, and in terms of simple, funny ideas that work comedically in their own right.
What is your favourite thing about being 'one of the world's comedians'? I am allowed to be silly for 98.9 per cent of my life. The only thyme when I am not allowed to be silly is when I am making an important business decision with my businessman's hat on – which, incidentally, is a plastic tiara with a picture of Princess Diana on it – or when I am down the Skoda dealer asking about what's wrong with my friggin' carburettor.
Why do you call your fans connoisseurs? Because they are not fans of me, they are connoisseurs of my humour. They are not interested in me, personally. If I were knocked down by a bus they wouldn't care at all, apart from insomuch as that would mean the end of the humour, which, naturally, would devastate them.
What are you a connoisseur of? Besides comedy. I would call myself a connoisseur of classical music, with a small 'c' that is. I also am a connoisseur of the Baroque and Romantic periods too. I don't really give a flying frig about the Medieval period though. Absolute Charlatans, the lot of them. But JS Bach, Rachmaninov, Sibelius, Elgar, Borodin, Berlioz. I know all about them. Also Ella Fitzgerald. I actually first got into showbusiness with the intention of getting to know Ella, but unfortunately she died shortly after I joined the showbusiness world. I just carried on though, I didn't know what else to do. Also, murder mysteries! Especially the ones where a rich old Lord gets killed and literally everyone in the household has a motive, but it turns out it was the gardener who was actually his illegitimate son. His name is something like Silas Montague and he poisoned his distant father with the extract of a rare plant put discreetly into his evening port.
What's next for Paul Foot? Well, in a very real sense, I don't know. I mean, does anyone really know what's next? I imagine just oblivion. Even the top bishops have to admit they have no idea what comes next. I suppose that's the one thing that unites all people on earth – we don't know what's next because none of us have died before.
Paul Foot plays State Theatre Centre Of Western Australia on 10 May.