Ad­ver­tiser Life Phil’s one to keep a watch­ful eye on

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Martin Mere - BY CHRISTY BYRNE christy.byrne@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @ByrneChristy

ONE of South­port Com­edy Fes­ti­val’s most thought-pro­vok­ing shows will be pro­vided by Phil Ni­chol, who will be play­ing the Vin­cent Ho­tel as part of his Your Wrong tour.

It will be the Cana­dian comic’s third ap­pear­ance at the fes­ti­val, and he has formed quite an affin­ity with the North West since he moved to th­ese shores.

He said: “I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to it. I’ve played in South­port quite a few times, to do the South­port Fes­ti­val.

“Bren­dan Ri­ley and Val are mates of mine for many, many years, and I re­ally like the vibe around the fes­ti­val and South­port in gen­eral.

“When I first moved to Bri­tain I lived in Bal­ham in south Lon­don with a guy whose nick­name was the Mind­less Drugs Hoover.

“He was a singer/song­writer from South­port, and he had a song that went to num­ber 11 in Aus­tralia called The Reefer Song.

“It was his ini­tials, his name was Matthew David Hay­den so he changed his name to Mind­less Drugs Hoover.

“I’ve done the fes­ti­val twice be­fore, and I’ve done some stuff in Formby.”

Phil’s first friends in Bri­tain were from the area, and he was able to fit in seam­lessly, thanks to shar­ing their unique sense of hu­mour.

“When I first moved over a lot of my friends were Scousers from South­port, so sort of adopted Scousers.

“I know it sounds like I’m blow­ing smoke but I’m not, be­cause of my ex­pe­ri­ence and know­ing my friends from that area of the world, from the North West between South­port and Liver­pool, then New­cas­tle and Glas­gow, are prob­a­bly my favourite places to play.

“I’m be­ing gen­uine. Even though I live in Lon­don, I was born just out­side Glas­gow so we share the same sense of hu­mour.

“One of the things that struck me about the North West is that they’ll take the p*** out of you to test you, and if you re­spond cor­rectly then you’re friends for life.

“Be­fore they even know you they’ll make fun of your hair or your shoes, and if you get the joke you’re in.

“If you go ‘what are you do­ing that for?’ they’ll still be po­lite to you – but they’ll recog­nise you’re not one of us.”

Phil com­ments on many things about the so­ci­ety we live in through­out his show, which fo­cuses on the con­stant anal­y­sis that he feels we are sub­jected to.

“My show is based around beliefs.

“I was born into a de­vout born-again Chris­tian fam­ily, the Brethren Assem­bly.

“My mother was a Quaker and my fa­ther was very strict, and I’ve ended up be­ing me.

“The show has a through­line of be­ing watched; I think hu­man be­ings have got re­ally self-aware be­cause we have phones, the in­ter­net, con­stant news ac­cess, peo­ple are re­ally picky about re­spond­ing to gram­mar mis­takes, so­cial er­rors are all height­ened and mag­ni­fied.

“I un­der­stand how this works be­cause I was raised with this sense of God, and I’ve cre­ated into the show a CCTV type thing watch­ing ev­ery move you make and I think it’s un­healthy.

“You re­alise that it’s you that’s do­ing it, we get trained to turn the CCTV cam­era on, I cer­tainly did with the way I was raised, so that I was watch­ing ev­ery­thing I did when I was grow­ing up.

“Kiss­ing girls and all that stuff, it all be­comes mag­ni­fied un­der this guilt, am I do­ing the right thing or the wrong thing, and so the show kind of re­volves around me mov­ing away from that and dis­cov­er­ing a more ra­tio­nal and log­i­cal view of the world.

“The world is ac­tu­ally re­ally in­de­scrib­able when you think about it.

“Not to be a hippy, but if we stood and looked at what’s all around you it would blow your mind so we put th­ese stop gaps in it, com­edy be­ing one, mu­sic, arts be­ing a way of ex­press­ing our­selves so we don’t de­stroy our heads.

“But it’s a funny show as well.

“There’s a lot of sto­ries about when I’ve done some­thing wrong, or when I thought I was right but it turned out wrong, or times when I did some­thing I knew was wrong but it turned out right, it’s all crazy sto­ries where I’m the heel of the story.”

The ma­jor sto­ry­line through­out the show is a deeply per­sonal one to Phil, where the con­clu­sion could have been tragic.

“The main story is how I moved away from what I see as the su­per­sti­tions and mythol­ogy of my par­ents.

“My brother had a se­vere ac­ci­dent, ended up in a coma and it looked like he wasn’t go­ing to sur­vive. It’s about how my par­ents’ beliefs and faith that there’s go­ing to be a mir­a­cle col­lide with my new-found ra­tio­nal hu­man­ist think­ing and that the best thing to do would be to put my brother out of his mis­ery.

“So the story kind of re­volves around my feel­ings dur­ing that time.

“It hap­pened 30 years ago. I’m not ex­ploit­ing his trauma for my comic ben­e­fit, I’m just us­ing it as an il­lus­tra­tion of how we can bury our shame.”

Phil added that he touches on one of the hard­est tasks a per­son can face – ad­mit­ting that they are wrong.

“It’s re­ally hard to ad­mit we’re wrong about stuff, or to hear that we’re wrong.

“The show is about cer­tainty and un­cer­tainty.

“I feel that peo­ple who are cer­tain are a lit­tle ar­ro­gant, you have to be quite ar­ro­gant to be­lieve that you are cer­tain about some­thing un­less it’s some­thing re­ally ba­sic like the sky is blue.

“Even things that are proven have to be re-proven.

“I’m re­ally sur­prised how it’s been play­ing to a mix of au­di­ences, like in Edinburgh a mas­sive stag do came and I thought ‘oh no, they’re go­ing to hate this, it’s too artsy-fartsy’ but at the end they came and shook my hand and said it was amaz­ing.”

Phil Ni­chol, Your Wrong! ap­pears at The Vin­cent Ho­tel, Lord Street, South­port, on Wed­nes­day, Oc­to­ber 17.

Tick­ets £13.50

Phil Ni­chol is ready for a night of thought­pro­vok­ing com­edy

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