Stuart Goldsmith on his comedy heroes
The kipper-juggling comic idolises Simon Munnery, Anthony Livingspace and Harry Hill
Simon Munnery is like a soothsayer, who peers into another dimension of comedy, and reports back to the real world. I wish I could spend five minutes seeing the universe from his extraordinary perspective, which I imagine is a bit like Photoshop but for reality instead of images. His anti-heckling flash-box, which sears the king of swearwords onto the retinas of his unwilling audience, is the single best idea anyone has ever had.
In 1999, after watching Anthony Livingspace’s act at the Fringe every day for a whole festival, I wrote my dissertation on this grubby, bald, Australian street-clown, who looks like he sleeps in his clothes. He’d throw fistfuls of sachets into the audience: ‘kids, you want sugar?’ to a mad scramble. Ten minutes later: ‘kids, you want more sugar?’ Up they all jump: ‘this time, you pay!’ He’s astonishingly inventive and anarchic, and absolutely fearless. In many ways, he’s the street-performing world’s Daniel Kitson, but with sink-plungers instead of heartbreak.
When I was 16, I saw Harry Hill in the Pleasance Courtyard. I wandered back and forth nearby for ages, trying to pluck up the courage to tell him how much he meant to me, and how he’d blown my comedy mind wide open. He gave me one of the sweetest, most utterly chivalrous jokes, when he signed an autograph to me: ‘Dear Stu, glad to finally meet you, Harry Hill’. What a gent.
The Stand, Edinburgh, Thu 31 Jan–Sun 3 Feb. Stuart Goldsmith’s podcast is comedianscomedian.com