You often read tales of the late Robin Williams turning up at comedy clubs, going on and sucking all energy and laughs out of an audience. Well I hadn’t witnessed that first hand until last night as Brian Blessed took over Richard's podcast. Many find Blessed an annoying bore – I am so not one of them.
Of course he came on and yelled “GORDON’S ALIVE!!!!”. Of course he swore more in the first 30 seconds than the whole of the Goodfellas script. Of course he told stories you had heard before but with such enthusiasm and energy it was like it were for the first time.
His tales, whether tall or true took in Picasso, General Zhukov, Paul Robeson, Peter O Toole, John Gielgud, randy gorillas, Patrick Stewart, Huw Weldon, going to Mars, Everest, nudity, all manner of bodily functions and parts. The man in in his eighties but seemed incapable of sitting still, preferring to act out his adventures. I think Richard may have got four questions asked in 90 minutes which Brian’s publicist later told him was more than anyone else so far on the book tour. He was more than happy to sit back with the rest of us and listen to Brian hold forth on all manner of subjects, tangents being taken and dropped at an alarming rate.
His passionate zest for life and his belief in the invention and goodness of humans was my abiding memory. When he spoke softly and earnestly about his hope in eh future generations to explore, to go further than the human race has gone before it was truly inspiring and you sensed his disappointment that he would not be there to experience it first hand.
But of course he ended with an impressive rendition of Pavarotti singing ‘ O Sole Mio’ - the audience are helpless putty in his hands, rising to give the man a standing ovation
Ken Dodd died on the day of taping this podcast and the phrases “one off/last of his generation unique talent” were used and the same will be used for Brian when he leaves us. But as the man himself said “Death! I don’t believe in it – Death, go shove it up your arse”.
Oh Pippa Evans was the guest after that and was very funny and Rich actually got to ask her some questions which she answered