Wit and wis­dom of fun­ny­man Kev

Lo­cal boy made good has learned some les­sons

Evening Times - - TIMESOUT DAILY - BY BRIAN BEACOM Show­biz Writer

THE KEVIN Bridges who sips black cof­fee while sit­ting on a nice leather sofa in a swish Glas­gow ho­tel (not far from his £2m home in Glas­gow’s West End) doesn’t look too dif­fer­ent from the young man who took to the com­edy cir­cuit as a 17-year-old – ex­cept quite a bit slim­mer, with a bet­ter hair­cut. Oh, and more ex­pen­sive train­ers.

But what’s in­side his ex­pen­sively bar­bered head? When riches of Croe­sus ar­rives at the doors of en­ter­tain­ers in Ed­die Sto­bart-sized loads (Bridges grossed al­most £8m for the last run of Glas­gow gigs alone) com­mon sense in­vari­ably leaps out the win­dow. Be­fore you know it, the Columbian danc­ing dust has taken hold and the next thing you know they’re fill­ing in forms for the Colorado re­hab clinic and scrub­bing out toi­lets with Lind­say Lo­han.

What keeps him grounded, away from the op­por­tunis­tic plat­inum blondes and the urge to flash the Plat­inum Amex? What keeps him away from the Chiltern Fire Sta­tion and hav­ing self­ies taken with Nick Grimshaw and Car­o­line Flack? Con­ver­sa­tion re­veals a great deal; in­deed the an­swers could well be Kev’s Ten Com­mand­ments for those who may find them­selves el­e­vated be­yond ex­pec­ta­tion.

The first is Thou shalt not by a house up the road from El­ton. Bridges chooses to live in Glas­gow (no Fer­raris in the drive­way) in a nice, yet mixed in­come area. And when he strolls its streets he doesn’t take on the aura of the care­fully-cloaked, head-down, move­fast Frankie Boyle, whose move­ments sug­gest Un­em­ployed Ter­ror­ist Bomber. No, Bridges walks the dog in his shorts (the dog isn’t wear­ing the shorts) to the shops, at a reg­u­lar pace. As an or­di­nary per­son would. “I’ve never been an ex­tro­vert,” he says on the sub­ject of recog­ni­tion. “I’ve never chased the lime­light. I was some­one who was chucked out of school for be­ing funny so I fig­ured I’d try and do some­thing pos­i­tive with that. But then one day you re­alise you’re on the telly and start to panic about walk­ing down the street.”

But he deals with it. Shorts on. Dug on lead. The price for liv­ing in a city where he’s a com­edy hero is worth pay­ing. “Oh aye, the pos­i­tives out­weigh the neg­a­tives, although at times I just want to go into the post of­fice and not be recog­nised be­cause at the times the pub­lic feel an own­er­ship.” He adds with a chuckle; “Six de­grees of sep­a­ra­tion? In Glas­gow it’s far less. I’ve got un­cles and cousins I never knew I had. But most peo­ple are nice. And at the same time, I don’t want to move to Lon­don. My fam­ily and friends are here and it would be re­ally sad to leave them be­hind.”

But how does he cope be­ing more minted than a Polo fac­tory? Se­cond Com­mand­ment; Thou shalt not be­come Gary Bar­low. “I have a so­cial­ist out­look yet I be­lieve peo­ple should earn and try to be pros­per­ous. Aye, I’ll get crit­i­cism for be­ing a mil­lion­aire but I’m happy to pay 46 per cent tax in Scot­land.” A sip of cof­fee fu­els a lit­tle anger. “I look at the likes of Gary Bar­low on Chil­dren In Need ask­ing the pub­lic to send in money and find out he has his money in off-shore ac­counts. To be hon­est, I re­ally don’t know how he can sleep at nights.”

Third Com­mand­ment; Hon­our Thy Ma and Da. Bridges bought his par­ents a home in Cly­de­bank said to be worth al­most £900,000. He is spec­tac­u­larly gen­er­ous to fam­ily and friend. But does it be­come wear­ing when asked for a lend of fifty quid, or 5000 quid? “A lot,” he says with a wry smile. “It’s a bit sad. You try and be good to peo­ple and they ask you for a cer­tain amount and (when they get it) never men­tion it again. So what do you do? I’m do­ing 19 nights at the Hy­dro so how can I pos­si­bly go chas­ing them up? But then you learn. The money has been well spent in a sense be­cause you know not to trust that per­son again. There’s never a next time.”

Re­cently, Bridges walked off stage be­cause he was be­ing heck­led. Now, there are crit­ics who will say ‘Just keep go­ing – that’s what you get the big bucks for, Kevin.’ But it’s not that sim­ple. Bridges doesn’t tell gags.

He crafts del­i­cate, clev­erly wo­ven tales. When the heck­ling starts he’s in­ter­nal knit­ting is ripped. And you wouldn’t go to a the­atre and heckle An­thony Sher dur­ing a so­lil­o­quy.

This sen­si­tiv­ity in­vokes the next epis­tle; Thou shalt avoid Twit­ter storms like the plague. Bridges doesn’t look at so­cial me­dia dur­ing his con­cert runs in case it in­ter­feres with his head space. “One neg­a­tive com­ment could de­rail me. And if I’m happy with the show I don’t need to read all the pos­i­tives.”

Bridges is clearly an in­ter­na­tional-class wor­rier. The next Kevin Com­mand­ment re­veals how this works in his favour. Work harder than a Snow White dwarf to get the right ma­te­rial. “There are times when I worry that I’ll never think of any­thing funny ever again,” he ad­mits. “I feel it a lot. It’s like writer’s block. You try so hard but noth­ing comes. And I don’t use other writ­ers – that’s why I only tour ev­ery few years.”

When he gets ideas he throws them down on notepads, train tick­ets. Bits of scrap. “I will bounce ideas of peo­ple.” Who? “My girl­friend.” He grins; “It drives her a bit mad, be­cause we can be walk­ing through the park, and I’ll tell her it, but she’s get­ting it at the raw stage.” He grins: “When you give some­one an idea and they say it’s rub­bish, some­times it gives you a twisted drive. I just think ‘I’m go­ing to show you. I’m go­ing to make this funny’.’’

•Kevi■ Bridges, TheBranmd New Tour – Live is out now on DVD and Dig­i­tal Down­load. He will be sign­ing copies of the DVD at hmv, Ar­gyle Street, Glas­gow, De­cem­ber 14 at 6pm.

Kevin Bridges wows the au­di­ence with his stand-up rou­tine

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