Tag Archives: Comedy

Marber’s ‘The Ice Cream Man’

Many years ago (’91-’92?), I recorded a some comedy and music benefit gig off the telly. I think it was hosted by Jools “Be there or be ungroovy fuckers” Holland, at the Hackney Empire. It was a benefit for AIDS research or something, and it was very funny. I watched and rewatched it, and one of the acts which stuck in my head to an extreme degree was this parody of a “Jazz Man” in a plaid suit whom I now realise (or at least think) was Patrick Marber, in his early stand-up days before The Day Today and playwright success.

In fact it stuck in my head to such an extent that I still find myself running through some of the text in my head, complete with probably-now-inaccurate recollections of the words, actions, and look of the piece.

I’ve searched online for clips or even mentions, with no immediate luck. So just to get it out of my head, here is what I recall. Maybe it will pull some searches in, like that matters.

Curtain up.

Marber enters the stage, and approaches the microphone. He is wearing a garish plaid suit and a newsboy cap. He walks to the microphone and mutters distractedly into it as if to say, “Yeah I’m here”. He then launches into a rhyming comic beat poem/monologue about being a jazz musician and how to be cool. (The following parts may be out of order, wrong, and all that stuff. Soz.)]

He says something about going into the lavatory before the performance to have a …

“… think about what to say and play.
And as I completed my little wazz,
It occurred to me I’d play you some Jazz.”

“It was the dude Oscar Wilde who used to say
That, ‘a wag about town should face every day
With one pair of briefs,
And three handkerchiefs.’
“Saying, ‘One just for show, (indicates silk square in breast pocket)
One in which to blow, (indicates regular handkerchief in inside pocket)
And one final hankie, (shows unpleasantly congealed tissue)
To mop up the winky-wanky.’
The wit of Oscar Wilde.”

“If you wanna play jazz you gotta wear a suit,
Don’t buy your suit
From a car boot sale,
Or from Anthony Quayle,
Crystal Gayle,
Brian the Snail,
Or Burtons.”

“If you want to play jazz you’ve got to have a slick name,
Not a Tom, Harry or Dick name.
Be cool! That’s the word.
Be like Charlie Parker – they called him ‘Bird’.
Be like Dizzy Gillespie – they called him… ‘Dizzy’.
George Mellie – ‘Fat Pus-bucket’.”

He then talks about how cool he is, and when you see him play his horn…

“…y’all gonna see why I am
The Ice Cream Man.”

He pulls out a small brightly colored plastic toy trumpet. The audience laughs.

“Do not mock the horn of The Ice Cream Man! Or should I say, the cornet?”

He plays the toy trumpet, by pressing the button things along the top. The toy trumpet makes a little bell “ting” sound each time a button is pressed. His cheeks-puffed playing style makes him sweat. He reaches into his pocket, and mops his forehead with a handkerchief, before realizing with disgust that he is using the congealed toss-rag revealed earlier.

He goes back to playing the trumpet, and completes the little bell tune that it plays. He bows and exits.

Curtain down.

Now I’m pretty certain there was a lot more to it than that. But that’s all that I can remember, which you may think is already too much. Still, it’s out there now. Marber, if you’re listening, please tell me I didn’t make this up.

I Got Your Tagline Right Here!

Tonight on Radio 4, in the 6.30 comedy slot, The Hudson and Pepperdine Show spews forth. It may be quite funny, but I won’t be listening after hearing the desperate ad spot over breakfast today. The two female perpetrators bicker about trying to find a tagline for their show, but keep using other advert taglines like “Every Little Helps” and so on, and the whole thing is so funny that I rinsed my cereal bowl, brushed my teeth and went to work.

But I want to help, being the charmer that I am, so here’s some suggestions.

  • The low-rent French and Saunders
  • The even-lower-rent Mel and Sue, if that’s possible
  • Not in the least funny
  • How the fuck did this get commissioned?
  • Your license fee in action
  • So funny, you may well self-harm as an excuse to leave the room

Oh by the way, I also won’t be listening because I’m off straight after work to help Esther and Bill celebrate their engagement! Congratulations guys, looking forward to a good Pre-Nup Sup.

Linda Smith, Panel Game Debutante

I was doing my usual Sunday evening pottering last night, which involves stalking the corridors and chambers of Petty-Stewart Towers my flat, picking things up, putting them down somewhere else, ostensibly to get ready for the working week ahead, but still somehow leaving myself with a mad rush in the morning, desperately cramming bits of paper and electronics in my pockets as I dash for the train.

While doing so, I heard the, ahem, dulcet tones of Linda Smith yipping and mewling from the withdrawing room. Now this is not so unusual, because Radio 4 tends to be on all the time in the kitchen, and let’s face it, if there’s a panel game of any kind on Radio 4, Linda Smith will be on it.

F*cking Quote F*cking Unquote devised and inflicted by F*cking Nigel F*cking Rees, for example, or Just A Bleeding Minute, you name it, she’s on it. She clearly sleeps under the desk in the Radio 4 Panel Game Studio, emerging only to appear in the News Quiz or whatever, alongside those other denizens of Panel Game Purgatory, Andy “I wrote a series once” Hamilton, Jeremy “If the kids are united” Hardy and Paul “Not as funny as Tony Hancock” Merton.

But no. This came from the TV. A quick glance (and Mairi) told me it was the new show Mock The Week, which it appears is a game where members of the panel compete with each other to be as smug as possible, while referring to front-page news stories in a cursory fashion.

And there she was. Sandwiched between Hugh Dennis and Rory Bremner (what an image), both positive beacons of self-satisfied glee at being able to present pub-level satire on national TV as if it was in any way shape or form dangerous, biting, or cutting-edge. And while I knew this already, I was once again shocked at how much Linda Smith looks exactly like she sounds.

The Radio 4 Panel Game Studio now has cameras in it, and Hattie Hayridge’s lawyers are battering the door down.