IAN HART: Rollercoaster ride with a master of stand-up

Ian Hart
Ian Hart

Ever had one of those nights where you’re not really expecting much but you end up with something for the all-time memory bank?

“Are you up for watching Danny Baker at Worthing?” texted my mate Levvo a few weeks ago.

Like most of my generation, I’d followed the career of Danny Baker over the years.

Recently, while on a couple of holidays, enjoyed the first two volumes of his autobiography.

Then the fates almost conspired against us last Thursday. The day of the gig at Worthing’s Pavilion Theatre, Levvo fell foul of Southern Rail and arrived at Worthing railway station ten minutes before curtain up.

Then, with a near sell-out, parking was an issue, causing an ever-so-slightly late arrival for the show.

Having seen the likes of Bernard Manning, Jim Davidson, Chubby Brown and Jimmy Jones at the same venue, I took my seat looking forward to a pleasant evening.

What followed was one of the most enjoyable and entertaining nights I’ve ever had at that particular venue.

On the 50th anniversary of the Jimi Hendrix Experience playing the same venue, Baker treated to the audience to a near three-hour rollercoaster ride of anecdotes, stories and observations from his life.

Not a traditional ‘joke’ among them, but still countless laugh-out-loud moments.

In 2015, I was lucky to see Bette Midler at the O2. Despite then nearing her 70th birthday, I left the arena in the knowledge that I’d seen one of the greatest entertainers showbusiness has ever produced at the top of her game.

Last Thursday, I’m of the opinion I watched one of the greatest exponents of ‘stand up’ – ironically, as previously stated, without any gags – I’ve ever seen.

It was a true masterclass and, as Baker told us at the end of the night, he’d only scratched the surface, so potential for a return date in the near future.

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