David Baddiel is a man of many parts.
Writer, comedian, family man, chart-topper, aetheist, and surgical dissector of issues like race, religion, identity and relationships, he has been making Britain laugh and think for 30 years.
And with Frank Skinner he was one of the people who made it feel good to be an English football fan in the 1990s.
Now he is coming to York with his new stand-up show, My Family: Not The Sitcom.
Grand Opera House, York
Mon Mar 19 2018
It is an unflinching, poignant, and very funny, look at his own eccentric family, featuring his late mother’s pride in her affair with a golf memorabilia salesman, and his father’s descent into a very foul-mouthed form of dementia.
We caught up with David and asked him about parenting, feminism and joking about dementia – and what advice he could offer beleaguered York City fans…
‘The show unlocks something in people’
It’s really no-holds barred. It talks about my mum’s affair with that she had with a golfing memorabilia salesman. It talks about my dad’s excessive commitment to swearing. Parenting as far as we understand it was not a word in their vocabulary. And the show is a celebration of that – a celebration of how badly they parented me.
I do talk towards the end of the show very much about what both my parents would think if my mum could come to the show because she wasn’t dead, or if my dad could come to the show and understand it if he didn’t have dementia. And it’s complicated.
The show is 90 per cent funny and sometimes cringey and shocking. But it’s also quite complicated about emotionally where it takes the audience.
I do think that once your parents have died or have lost their memory then it is up to the children to tell the story. I try to be as true as I can.
And at the same time I’m very convinced, particularly in my mother’s case, because she was very happy to tell people and was rather proud of this affair – and also just generally liked being in the spotlight – that she would have loved being in this show.
If you were worried all the time whilst telling those stories that all the other people who might ever have been in your life might sue you then I think it would be very complicated.
But no one’s really got offended by it – including my brothers and other people who knew my parents because it’s sort of a celebration.
[arve url=”https://youtu.be/brG5DVV2F9k” title=”David Baddiel Remembers His Mum’s Funniest Moments” /]
One person told me that for years when he was a kid he would go on holiday with his mum and dad and brothers and sisters – but there would always be this other bloke there. He was told at the time he was an uncle.
But in fact it was a bloke that they were having a menage a trois with for two weeks every year in Llandudno, or wherever they went. He said, ‘I’ve never told anyone this before’ – I thought it’s amazing you’re telling me, but it’s because the show creates a liberated atmosphere.
And you’re not laughing at anyone by doing that. What you’re laughing at to some extent is dementia. And that’s always our best response I think with things that are most awful in life.
One of the weird things about me is I am, I think, very masculine, very interested in what it means to be male – but without any doubt I am and have always been a feminist. I think the more secure you are in your maleness, the easier it is to be a feminist.
[arve url=”https://youtu.be/RJqimlFcJsM” title=”Baddiel & Skinner & Lightning Seeds – Three Lions” /]
But all I can say is, go and listen to Three Lions and replace the word ‘England’ with the word ‘York’. Because Three Lions is a song about knowing that things are probably going to be bad and hoping somehow that they might not, and there’ll be a return to the glory days.
But I don’t quite know what those are for York City…