Alexei Sayle – Live

24 Oct

Brighton Comedy Festival: The Old Market: Friday, October 19 2012

Alexei Sayle’s wife reckons his first foray back into live comedy after a 16 year hiatus runs the risk of “diluting his legacy”. No chance.

He might be a fraction less manic and not as likely to veer off into loudmouth rants, but that’s more down to age and experience rather than a dip in quality or a lack of passion.

In fact, Sayle, now 60, wasted little time in showing he was as gutsy and forthright as ever, especially when he’d got the political class in his sights.

Alastair Campbell and John Prescott were branded war criminals who tried to absolve their sins on TV panel shows, Ed Miliband was brought down a peg or two for being sycophantic when they met, while a gloriously vivid description of a dream featuring him and Boris Johnson in the First World War trenches had a terminal ending for the mop-topped mayor, albeit not at the hands of the enemy.

Away from the topical tirades, he also looked back on the miners’ strike – “they only went back to work to stop me doing benefit gigs for them” – dissected his Jewish Communist upbringing and revealed why he always took a pop at Ben Elton.

Later, Sayle joked he was frequently rated as one of the all-time comedy greats because nobody had ever seen him live. But judging by the reaction here, his stock only rises in the eyes of those who have seen him in the flesh.

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