An Audience with Harry Deansway
Baffled camaraderie from a debt-riddled comic
This article is from 2015.
The deal with Harry Deansway is that he’s a self-deprecating, self-sabotaging, deliberate shambles of a showman. So he fluffs his lines, interrupts himself, tries out new material for the first time, sings tunelessly, trips on his props, gets a no-show from his own parents, then proceeds to rattle off an embarrassing string of (apparently true life) disasters, all involving him. This includes the time he got dumped midway through his own show, put Jimmy Savile on the front cover of the comedy magazine he published and edited (The Fix), racked up £30,000 of debt: the list goes on.
But weirdly, it works. The crowd warm to his hapless schlemiel routine, and the shambolic format means they are often so confused about what’s actually going on, it creates baffled camaraderie in the room. The fact that Deansway has brought along several showbiz pals, planted in the crowd, also helps keep the momentum and laughter going.
Whether or not it’s advisable to encourage a man who’s already £30,000 in debt to continue a comedy career is another matter. The man in the audience who spontaneously thrusts a £20 note on him clearly thinks it is.
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