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Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey rocking out.jpg
Bailey's Introduction to the Orchestra, in 2008
Birth name Mark Bailey[1]
Born 13 January 1965 (1965-01-13) (age 45)[2]
Bath, Somerset, England
Years active 1989 – present
Genres Surreal humour, Musical comedy, Storytelling
Spouse Kristin Bailey (1998-Present)

Bill Bailey (born Mark Bailey[1] 13 January[2] 1965, Bath, Somerset) is an English stand-up comedian, musician and actor. As well as his extensive stand-up work, Bailey is well known for his appearances on Have I Got News for You, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, QI and Black Books.

Bailey was listed by The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy in 2003, and in 2007 he was voted number seven on Channel 4's hundred greatest stand-ups.[3]


Personal life

Bailey spent the majority of his childhood in Keynsham, a town situated between Bath and Bristol in the West of England. His father was a general practitioner and his mother was a hospital ward sister. His maternal grandparents lived in an annexe, built on the side of the house by his maternal grandfather who was a stonemason and builder. Two rooms at the front of the family house were for his father's surgery.[4]

Bailey was educated at King Edward's School, an independent school in Bath [5] where he was initially an academic pupil winning most of the prizes. However, at about the age of 15 years, he started to become distracted from school work when he realised the thrill of performance as a member of a school band called Behind Closed Doors, which played mostly original work. He was the only pupil at his school to study A-level music and he passed with an A grade. He also claims to have been good at sport (captain of KES 2nd XI cricket team 1982), which often surprised his teachers. He would often combine the two by leading the singing on the long coach trip back from away rugby fixtures. It was here that he was given his nickname Bill by his music teacher, Ian Phipps, for being able to play the song "Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey" so well on the guitar.[4]

He started an English degree at Westfield College but left after a year. [6]

He spent his early years listening to Monty Python records, and rehearsing with a band called the "Famous Five",[7] who he himself confesses were very bad but still much better than him and who, unexpectedly, had only four members.[8] However, he is a classically trained musician and received an Associateship Diploma from the London College of Music as well as being made an honorary member of the Society of Crematorium Organists. Despite this, he has said that he always had the temptation to be silly with music, a trait that influences his stand-up shows.

Bailey often mythologises his early years in his stand-up. In his show Bewilderness, he claims to have attended Bovington Gurney School of Performing Arts and Owl Sanctuary. He talks about a succession of jobs he had before becoming a comedian, including lounge pianist, crematorium organist, door-to-door door-salesman and accompanist for a mind-reading dog. A clip of Bailey's appearance in the dog's routine was shown during his Room 101 appearance. He also is self-deprecating about his appearance, suggesting he is so hairy that he is part troll, or that his hair or beard is a small animal named Lionel whom he has trained to sit 'very very still.'

Bailey also talks about his role as a "Disenfranchised Owl" in an experimental Welsh theatre troupe (mentioned in an interview with Australian newspaper Post). Other acting roles included a part in a Workers' Revolutionary Party stage production called The Printers, which also featured Vanessa Redgrave and Frances de la Tour. His trivia page on IMDb also claims that he was awarded Best Actor in the 1986 Institut Français awards.

An avid Star Trek fan, he named his son (born 2003) after the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine character Dax and often refers to himself as a Klingon (once claiming during his "Part Troll" tour that his ear-mounted microphone made him resemble "a wizard in a call centre" and "a Klingon motivational speaker").

He currently lives in Hammersmith in London and supports Queens Park Rangers.[9]


Early stand-up

Bailey began touring the country with other comedians such as Mark Lamarr. In 1986 he formed a double act, the Rubber Bishops, with Toby Longworth (a former fellow pupil at King Edward's Bath) who was replaced in 1988 by Martin Stubbs. They achieved a certain amount of success on the club circuit, partly due to their rigorous schedule — sometimes as many as three or four gigs a night. It was here that Bailey began developing his own unique style, mixing in musical parodies with deconstructions of or variations on traditional jokes ("How many amoebas does it take to change a lightbulb? One, no two! No four! No eight...") - according to comedy folklore, after a reviewer once criticised his act for its lack of jokes, Bailey returned the following night, at Queen Margaret College, Edinburgh, to perform a set composed entirely of punchlines.

Stubbs later quit to pursue a more serious career, and in 1994 Bailey performed Rock at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with Sean Lock, a show about an aging rockstar and his roadie, script-edited by comedy writer Jim Miller. It was later serialised for the Mark Radcliffe show on BBC Radio 1. However, the show's attendances were not impressive and on one occasion the only person in the audience was comedian Dominic Holland. Bailey confessed in an interview with The Independent that he almost gave it up to do a telesales job.

He persevered, however, and went solo the next year with the one man show Bill Bailey's Cosmic Jam. The show was very well received and led to a recording at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London which was broadcast in 1996 on Channel 4 as a one-hour special called Bill Bailey Live. It was not until 2005 that this was released in DVD uncut and under its original title. It marked the first time that Bailey had been able to tie together his music and post-modern gags with the whimsical rambling style he is now known for.

After supporting Donna McPhail in 1995 and winning a Time Out award, he returned to Edinburgh in 1996 with a critically acclaimed show that was nominated for the Perrier Comedy Award. Amongst the other nominees was future Black Books co-star Dylan Moran, who narrowly beat him in the closest vote in the award's history.

Bailey won the Best Live Stand-Up award at the British Comedy Awards, 1999.


Though he didn't win the Perrier in 1996, the nomination was enough to get him noticed, and in 1998 the BBC gave him his own television show, Is It Bill Bailey?

This was not Bailey's first foray into television. His debut was on the children's TV show Motormouth in the late 1980s, playing piano for a mind-reading dog.The trick went hilariously wrong, and Bailey reminisced about the experience on the BBC show Room 101 with Paul Merton in 2000. In 1991, he was appearing in stand-up shows such as The Happening, Packing Them In, The Stand Up Show, and The Comedy Store. He also appeared as captain on two panel games, an ITV music quiz pilot called Pop Dogs, and the poorly received Channel 4 sci-fi quiz show, Space Cadets. However Is it Bill Bailey? was the first time he had written and presented his own show.

With his star on the rise and gaining public recognition, over the next few years, Bailey made well received guest appearances on shows such as Have I Got News For You, World Cup Comedy, Room 101, Des O'Connor Tonight, Coast to Coast and three episodes of off-beat Channel 4 sitcom Spaced, in which he played comic-shop manager Bilbo Bagshot.

In 1998, Dylan Moran approached him with the pilot script for Black Books, a Channel 4 sitcom about a grumpy bookshop owner, his put-upon assistant, and their neurotic female friend. It was commissioned in 2000, and Bailey took the part of the assistant Manny Bianco, with Moran playing the owner Bernard, and Tamsin Greig the friend, Fran. Three series of six episodes were made, building up a large cult fanbase, providing the public awareness on which Bailey would build a successful national tour in 2001.

When Sean Hughes left his long-term role as a team captain on Never Mind the Buzzcocks in 2002, Bailey became his successor. His style quickly blended into the show, possibly helped by his background in music. He soon developed a rapport of sorts with host Mark Lamarr, who continually teased him about his looks and his pre-occupation with woodland animals. It was announced on the 18th of September 2008 that Bill would be leaving the series and be replaced by a series of guest captains including Jack Dee and Dermot O'Leary. [10] Whilst touring in 2009, Bailey joked that his main reason for leaving the show was a lack of desire to continue humming Britney Spears' Toxic to little known figures in the indie music scene.

Bailey has appeared frequently on the intellectual panel game QI since it began in 2003, appearing alongside host Stephen Fry and regular panellist Alan Davies. Other television appearances include a cameo role in Alan Davies' drama series Jonathan Creek as failing street magician Kenny Starkiss and obsessed guitar teacher in the "Holiday" episode of Sean Lock's Fifteen Storeys High. He later appeared with Lock again as a guest on his show TV Heaven, Telly Hell. He has also appeared twice on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross.

Bailey also presented Wild Thing I Love You which began on Channel 4 on 15 October 2006. The series focuses on the protection of Britain's wild animals, and has included rehoming badgers, owls, and water voles.

Bailey has most recently appeared in the second series of the E4 teenage "dramedy" Skins playing Maxxie's Dad, Walter Oliver. In episode 1, Walter struggles with his son's desire to be a dancer, instead wishing him to become a builder, which is what he himself does for a living. Walter is married to Jackie, played by Fiona Allen.

Bailey appeared on the first episode of Grand Designs Live on 4 May 2008, helping Kevin McCloud build his eco-friendly home. In 2009 Bailey appeared in the BBC show "Hustle" as the Character "Cyclops", a side-line character. In the Autumn of 2009 Bailey will be presenting, Bill Bailey's Big Bird Watch.[11]

International tours

Bailey in concert, 2007 Photo: Brian Marks

In 2001, Bailey began touring the globe with Bewilderness, which became a huge success. A recording of a performance in Swansea was released on DVD the same year, and the show was broadcast on Channel 4 that Christmas. A modified version of it also proved successful in America, and in 2002 Bill released a CD of a recording at the WestBeth Theatre in New York. The show contained all his trademarks, popular music parodies (such as Unisex Chip Shop, a Billy Bragg tribute which he actually performed with Billy Bragg at the 2005 Glastonbury Festival), "three men in a pub" jokes (including one in the style of Geoffrey Chaucer) and deconstructions of television themes such as Countdown and The Magic Roundabout. A 'Bewilderness' CD was sold outside gigs, which was actually just a mixture of studio recordings of songs and monologues Bill had performed in the past - it was later released in shops as Bill Bailey: The Ultimate Collection... Ever!. That same year he also presented a Channel 4 countdown, Top Ten Prog Rock.

Bailey premiered his show Part Troll at the 2003 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. A critical and commercial success, he then transferred it to the West End where tickets sold out in under 24 hours, and new dates had to be added. Since then he has toured it all over the UK as well as in America, Australia and New Zealand. The show marked the first time Bailey had really tackled political material, as he expanded on subjects such as the war on Iraq, which he had only touched upon before in his Bewilderness New York show. He also talks extensively on drugs, at one point asking the audience to name different ways of baking cannabis. A DVD was released in 2004.

2005 finally saw the release of his 1995 show Bill Bailey's Cosmic Jam. The 2-disc set also contained a director's cut of Bewilderness, which featured a routine on Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time not seen in the original version.

Bailey performed at show at the 2006 Edinburgh Festival Fringe entitled "Steampunk". It looked set to become the fastest selling fringe show ever (The previous record holder also being Bailey in The Odd Couple in 2005.) But a ticketing mix-up forced the last 10% of tickets to be Purchased in person from the venue rather than pre-booked, meaning the venue filled at a slower overall rate than it should have.

Bailey appeared at the Beautiful Days festival in August 2007. The UK leg of the Tinselworm tour enjoyed 3 sell-out nights at the MEN Arena in Manchester, Europe's largest indoor arena, and culminated with a sell-out performance at Wembley Arena.

Early in 2007, a petition was started to express fans' wishes to see him cast as a dwarf in the 2010 film The Hobbit, after his stand-up routine mentioned auditioning for Gimli in The Lord of the Rings. The petition reached its goal in the early days of January, and was sent to the producers. It was hoped that as the Tinselworm tour took him to Wellington in New Zealand where the film is in pre-production, that he would be able to audition.[12].

Other appearances

In 2000 he had a small role in British comedy film Saving Grace, and also voiced the sperm whale in 2005's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie.

In 2002, Bailey provided the voice for a BMW Mini advertising campaign, as well as writing and performing a series of British Airways adverts in which, through the use of music, he took a humorous look at several locations around the world.

Bailey has also performed dramatic roles in two Edinburgh Festival Fringe shows, both directed by Guy Masterson. He played Juror #4 in a 2003 version of Twelve Angry Men featuring comedians in the roles of the jurors and also co-starred as Oscar in a 2005 production of The Odd Couple alongside Alan Davies.

Radio appearances include two episodes each of Chain Reaction, The 99p Challenge, I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, and three episodes of Just a Minute, as well as presenting Good Vibrations: The History of the Theremin, co-hosting the first series of The Museum Of Curiosity and appearing on Loose Ends.

In 2005, he appeared in Birmingham, as an act for "Jasper Carrott's Rock with Laughter". He appeared alongside performers such as Bonnie Tyler, Jasper Carrott, Lenny Henry, Bobby Davro and the Lord of the Dance troupe.

Bill Bailey was due to appear in Shaun of the Dead, but in the commentary included with the DVD Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright said that he was not in the film because he was busy with other commitments at the time. He did however have two minor roles as the desk sergeant twins in Pegg and Wright's 2007 film Hot Fuzz.

Bill Bailey hosting So You Think You're Funny.

In February 2007 Bailey organised, produced and starred in a West End show called Pinter's People, a collection of sketches by playwright Harold Pinter. The show also starred Kevin Eldon, Sally Phillips and Geraldine McNulty.

In March 2007, Bill Bailey appeared at the International Human Beatbox Convention at the South Bank Centre in London, introducing Shlomo to the stage for the climax of the concert, as well as showing off his own beatboxing.

On 4 May 2007, he appeared as the guest presenter of BBC One's Have I Got News for You and again on the 9 May 2008.

In July 2007, Bill Bailey narrated a series of animated reading books for dyslexic children called 'Nessy Tales'.

On 9 June 2008 Bailey was the guest on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs[4] and, later the same day, appeared in the first episode of an adaptation of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists on the same station.

Also in June Bill made a guest appearance on the Australian show 'Rove Live' and whilst in a questionnaire to win $20 in 20 seconds, answered the question; "Who would you turn gay for?" by replying; "The pope"

In September, he was one of the hosts of the So You Think You're Funny comedy gala at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.[13]

On 12 November 2008, Bill was one of the performers of "We Are Most Amused", a special comedy performance to celebrate the 60th birthday of Prince Charles.


Bailey is a talented pianist and guitarist. His stand-up routines often feature music from genres such as jazz, rock (most notably prog rock from the early seventies), drum'n'bass, rave and classical, usually for comic value. Favourite instruments include the keyboard, guitar, theremin, kazoo and bongos. He also mentioned in an interview that he has achieved Grade 6 Clarinet. He was also part of punk band Beergut 100,[14] which he founded in 1995 with comedy writer Jim Miller and also featured Martin Trenaman and Phil Whelans, with Kevin Eldon as lead singer.[15] The band performed at the 2006 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.[16] Trenaman and Welans had previously appeared in Cosmic Jam under the name "The Stan Ellis Experiment", and Trenaman and Eldon later featured with John Moloney in the Kraftwerk homage "Das Hokey Kokey" on the Part Troll tour. Bill claims that he and the three other performers are a Kraftwerk tribute band called Augenblick. To mark the final gig of the Part Troll tour on 1 January 2005 the band reappeared on stage after the "Das Hokey Kokey" joke to play an hour-long encore of music.

In February 2007, Bill appeared on two occasions with the BBC Concert Orchestra and Anne Dudley in a show entitled Cosmic Shindig. Performed in The Colosseum in Watford on 24 February and in the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 26 February, the show contained orchestrally accompanied versions of many of Bill's previously performed songs, an exploration of the instruments of the orchestra and a number of new pieces of music. The Queen Elizabeth Hall performance was aired on BBC Radio 3 on 16 March 2007 as a part of Comic Relief 2007.

Bill had planned to put himself forward as Britain's Eurovision entry in 2008, as a result of several fan petitions encouraging him to do so.[17]

In October 2008 he performed Bill Bailey's Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall with the BBC Concert Orchestra, conducted by Anne Dudley.[18]

In November 2009 he was a guest on Private Passions, the biographical music discussion programme on BBC Radio 3.[19]


As of September 2008, Bailey is working on a film project about the explorer and naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, in the form of an Indonesian travelogue.[20] Bailey said in an interview that Wallace had been "airbrushed out of history", and that he feels a "real affinity" with him.

Selected works


  • Cosmic Jam (1995)
  • Bewilderness (2001)
  • Part Troll (2004)
  • Steampunk (2006)
  • Tinselworm (2008)
  • Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra (2009)


  • Bewilderness (12 November, 2001)
  • Part Troll (22 November, 2004)
  • Cosmic Jam (7 November, 2005)
  • Bill Bailey - The Classic Collection (27 November, 2006) (Boxset featuring Bewilderness, Part Troll and Cosmic Jam)
  • Tinselworm (10 November, 2008)
  • Bill Bailey - The Collector's Edition (10 November, 2008) (Boxset featuring Bewilderness, Part Troll, Cosmic Jam and Tinselworm)
  • Bill Bailey's Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra (23 November, 2009)
  • Bill Bailey - The Inevitable Boxset (23 November, 2009) (Boxset featuring Bewilderness, Part Troll, Cosmic Jam, Tinselworm and Bill Bailey's Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra)


  • The Many Moods of Bill Bailey (A song book which collects 9 of Bill's most popular songs from the period of 1995-2005. Including instructions from Bill himself (which ventures into how they were created) and pictures) (2007)



  1. ^ a b "Bill Bailey". screenonline. 
  2. ^ a b "@BillBailey". Twitter. "@BillBailey". Twitter. "@BillBailey". Twitter. 
  3. ^ "Channel 4's 100 Greatest Stand Ups". 
  4. ^ a b c "Desert Island Discs featuring Bill Bailey". Desert Island Discs. BBC. Radio 4. 2008-06-08.
  5. ^ "Comedy Map of Britain". News Events & Diary. King Edward's School, Bath. 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-02. 
  6. ^ "People are obsessed by how I look", The Independent, 21 November 2008.
  7. ^ "Episode 1 - West London to the West Country". The Comedy Map of Britain. BBC 2. 2007-01-27.
  8. ^ "Bill Bailey - About Bill". 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Bill Baileys Big Bird Watch
  12. ^ "All That Glitters". Wired, Croydon's listings magazine. Retrieved 2007-12-31. 
  13. ^ Gilded Balloon - So You Think You're Funny
  14. ^ Simon Neville (2006). "Looking back at a week of Fringe madness". Retrieved 2007-01-02. 
  15. ^ Natbat (2006). "Kevin Eldon Interview". Retrieved 2007-01-02. 
  16. ^ "The essential guide to Edinburgh". Special report Edinburgh 2006. Guardian Unlimited. 2006.,,1826826,00.html. Retrieved 2007-01-02. 
  17. ^ Eurovision (Latest News)
  18. ^ "Bill Bailey's Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra". Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  19. ^ BBC Radio 3
  20. ^ "How Bill got his groove". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2008-09-15. 
  21. ^ "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy", IMDB

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Bill Bailey (born Mark Bailey in 1964) is a British musician and comedian.



Cosmic Jam (tour 1995, DVD 2005, 2006)

  • What I'd like to do now - well, what I'd like to do now is grow my beard very long, weave it into my pubes and strum it like a harp.
  • I'm quite lucky, because I've got a small, decorative concrete pig.
  • But our country's equivalent of gritty reality is more like "Look out Sarge, he's got a shooter!"
  • Aldous Huxley famously took mescaline and wrote about the experience in The Doors of Perception. Actually, I don't think that was the first thing he wrote: the first thing he wrote was probably 'my brain is melting' four thousand times, but it was the book that the critics latched on to.
  • And just as he said that a feminist jumped out of a manhole - just jumped up and oh, and she didn't like that. That she didn't like that.
  • Who photographs kebabs?
  • Three blokes go into a pub. Well, I say three; could be four or five. Could be nine or ten, doesn't matter. Could have been fifteen, twenty - fifty. Round it up. Hundred. Let's go mad, eh - two-fifty. Tell you what, double it up - five hundred. Thousand! Oh, I've gone mad! Two thousand! Five thousand! (adopting auctioneer persona) Anyone? Five thousand, six thou, six thousand, ten thousand! Small town in Hertfordshire goes into a pub! Fifteen thousand blokes! Alright, let's go - population of Rotterdam. The Hague. Whole of Northern Holland. Mainland U.K. Let's go all the way to the top - Europe, alright? Whole of Europe goes - I say Europe. Could be Eurasia. Not the band, obviously, that's just two of them. Alright, continents - North America! Plus South America! Plus Antartica - that's just eight blokes in a weather station. Not a good example. Alright, make it a lot simpler, all the blokes on the planet go into the pub, right? And the first bloke goes up to the bar and he says "I'll get these in." What an idiot.

Is It Bill Bailey? (TV, 1998)

  • Three blokes go into a pub. Something happens. The outcome was hilarious!
    Episode 1, 1:36
  • I am a confectionary-based existentialist.
  • Toughest job I ever had: selling doors, door to door.
  • Nostalgia: How long's that been around?
  • A lot of people say there's a fine line between genius and insanity. I don't think there's a fine line, I actually think there's a yawning gulf. You see some poor bugger scuffling up the road with balloons tied to his ears, he's not going home to invent a rocket, is he?

Bewilderness (DVD, 2001)

Note: Chapters and running times refer to the 2005 'director's cut' of Bewilderness enclosed with Cosmic Jam.

  • BB: I'm actually from the West Country...
    (solitary cheer from audience)
    BB: Hypnotized, or actually? What are you doing here?
    Audience member: I had to come.
    BB: What do you mean you had to come here? What, you were on some dark purpose?
    Ch. 4, 07:38
  • Arbroath; it was the scariest heckle I ever had. Arbroath, I don't know if you've ever been - very very cold throughout the year, and I was pacing up and down, primarily to keep warm really, I was freezing. And this chilling voice came from the back of the room, it just said "Stand still"... (mimes holding a rifle)
    Ch. 4, 08:18
  • The Chaucer Pubbe Gagge

Three fellowes wenten into a pubbe, And gleefullye their handes did rubbe, In expectatione of revelrie, For 'twas the houre known as happye. Greate botelles of wine did they quaffe, And hadde a reallye good laffe. 'Til drunkennesse held full dominione, For 'twas two for the price of one. Yet after wine and meade and sac, Man must have a massive snack, Great pasties from Cornwalle! Scottishe eggs round like a balle! Great hammes, quaile, ducke and geese! They suck'd the bones and drank the grease! (One fellowe stood all pale and wan, For he was vegetarianne) Yet man knoweth that gluttonie, Stoketh the fyre of lecherie, Upon three young wenches round and slye, The fellowes cast a wanton eye. One did approach, with drunkene winke: "'Ello darlin', you fancy a drink?", Soon they caught them on their knee, 'Twas like some grotesque puppettrie! Such was the lewdness and debaucherie - 'Twas like a sketch by Dick Emery! (Except that Dick Emery is not yet borne - So such comparisonne may not be drawn). But then the fellowes began to pale, For quail are not the friende of ale! And in their bellyes much confusione! From their throats vile extrusione! Stinking foule corruptionne! Came spewinge forth from droolinge lippes, The fetide stenche did fille the pubbe, 'Twas the very arse of Beelzebubbe! Thrown they were, from the Horne And Trumpette, In the street, no coyne, no strumpet. Homeward bounde, must quicklie go, To that ende - a donkey stole! Their handes all with vomit greased, (The donkey was not pleased, And threw them into a ditche of shite!) They all agreed: "What a brillant night!"

  • The national [Welsh] dish, cheese on toast, that's fantastic. "That's no bother". "We're having a big ambassadorial reception." "All right, I'll get the grill on shall I? You want a bit of chutney on it?" "No, don't go mad Rhodri, it's only Fiji." I think though that it has actually hampered Wales's cultural diversity, because if you think of the other national dishes, like Ireland - Irish stew, bubbling away for hours on end, during which time poems are written, plays are written, fine linen is crafted, the whimsy is spun; Scotland, you have haggis, many many days it takes to pulverise the eyes, lips and all the toes, every [part] of the animal, the hooves, the shirt, the trousers, the abbatoir worker's laundry, everything goes in there, and it's bubbling away for days on end under the ground in the lung of a small burrowing animal, during which time electric light is invented, penicillin, a fine legal structure, those little things you lick, press down and they ping back up, 'Oh, I forgot about them, oh yeah'; England, roast beef, roasting away for days on end, during which time poor, defenceless countries around the world are brought under the relentless yoke of imperial oppression; Wales, cheese on toast, "Right...oh, it's ready. Shit."
    Ch. 9, 17:43
  • I'm English, and as such I crave disappointment. That's why I buy Kinder Surprise. Horrible chocolate; nasty little toy: a double-whammy of disillusionment! Sometimes I eat the toy out of sheer despair. I call them the Eggs Of Numbing Inevitability. And when I buy them, I always ask for them in the third person: "Bill Bailey would like the Eggs Of Numbing Inevitability." I did that the other day and it answered me back, and he said to me: "No, I am Bill Bailey. You are not Bill Bailey, you are just a mere doppelgänger. I am the true Bill Bailey, in another dimension." And I went, "Oh, I hadn't planned on that." Then I thought the only way to solve this, I have to run at my doppelgänger, then we will be fused forever. So I ran full-tilt at it, and just before I got there I realised it was the highly polished side of the cheese counter.
    Ch. 12, 21:57
  • I'm amazed by how compliant people are in this country. They go into service stations - 'cathedrals of despair', as I call them - where baseball-capped ghouls of the night lord it over their congealed bean kingdoms, their fried-bread twilights, their neon demi-mondes, tempting you to enter to become them, undead. "Ooh, beans on toast, £18.95, very reasonable. Oh no, I'm not going to complain. They probably pump them up from London in special tubes." God, £18.95? If that was the price, for my money, each bean would have to be carried over in a heron's beak and laid on an orchid and then placed on a very rare train set and carried all the way to my table on the train set and then pinged off by a tiny little rare vole and it rolls onto a beautiful silk leaf and I eat it with a Fabergé egg. Then you'd get your money's worth.
    Ch. 16, 26:40
  • At parties, sometimes, for a laugh, I introduce myself - people say 'What do you do?' and I say 'I'm Aled Jones, its all gone wrong for me. No, look, I've still got it! (drunken bawl) I'M WALKING THROUGH THE AIIIIIIR, HAAAAAAHAHAHA.'
    Ch. 19, 32:55
  • There is one language I can't understand, because it's from another planet, another dimension - that is the language of dentists. They speak in some kind of code, it's quite disturbing and sinister. They'll talk to you perfectly normally. You'll be sitting there like that [[simulates someone sitting on a dentists' couch with some kind of dental equipment in mouth) and they'll look down at you. 'Everything alright?' 'Yes, thank you very much'. Then, they'll turn to their assistant, and it all changes then, doesn't it? 'Jane. Some four. Some nine over the two. Mix me up some kraal (mimes antlers) over the ma-ma-ma-ma (does something strange with hands) Cheese. Go. Im. Shh. Nuhnuhnuhnuhnuh.' (in chair, frightened expression) 'What?' 'Seek out the chalky dust of the love-salmon' (in chair, confused expression) 'What?' Well, obviously, they can't refer to the instruments as they appear to us, otherwise we'd be out of the chair in a trice, wouldn't we? 'Jane, The Claw.' (in chair, terrified expression) 'Hand me The Colonel! The Punisher! The Talons of Saloth Sar!' Just to let them know I'm onto them I always freak them out right back - they look down and say 'Everything alright?' and I look up and I say (in chair, psychotic voice) 'The pheasant has no agenda'.
    Ch. 23, 51:53
  • BB: Are there any men in?
    (no response)
    BB: Any women?
    Female voices: Yes!
    BB: Ah, you see, there's this crisis in masculine identity at the moment. Women, totally at home with their sexuality. 'I am woman, wo-man, I, wo-MAN.' Men 'Er.. (awkward expression) Someone else'll shout out, I'll be alright'. Alright, is there any blokes in?
    Masculine voices: Yeah!
    BB: You see, there's a term that men feel more comfortable with. Bloke, blokey bloke bloke. It's a kind of friendly term. 'Oh, he's a bloke, lovely bloke, nice bloke, blokey bloke. I'm a bloke, you're a bloke, wahey!' It doesn't impose any unnecessary demands on us as men. 'Bloke', that's just basically 'carry stuff, don't get in the way'. 'Man', that's all kinds of other things, isn't it? That's nobility, gallantry, wisdom... that conjures up some image of a bloke in a cardigan with a pipe saying 'Cover up those table legs, mother, they're inflaming my sexual ardour'.
    Ch. 24, 53:21
  • This is a song inspired by the work of Phil Collins; the nasty, whining little git.
    Ch. 36, 1:18:46
  • When I was a child, I was terrified by this. (plays theme from The Magic Roundabout) It was very sinister, wasn't it? It just went on and on, like Dante's seventh circle of Hell. I recently found out there was a secret middle section deemed unsuitable for small children. There's about four hours of this, then it all starts to go a bit weird.
    (plays discordant music)
    (Booming echoing voice) I am Zebedee, lord of the woods! Bow down snail, I have dominion!
    Ch. 38, 1:24:37

Bewilderness: New York (audio CD, 2002)

  • Marijuana? It's harmless really, unless you fashion it into a club and beat somebody over the head with it.
    'Beards' (track 12) 5:29
  • It's not a beard, it's an animal I've trained to sit very still.

Part Troll (2004)

  • Three blokes go into a pub. One of them is a little bit stupid, and the whole scene unfolds with a tedious inevitability.
  • My first job was selling doors, door to door. That's a tough job innit? Ding Dong. Can I interest you in a- oh shit you've got one already haven't you? Well never mind...
  • But we won't have any genetically modified food, oooh no, we won't have any GM. Which is a shame, I think we've missed a trick there. We could develop wheat with the properties of catch whatever it is that's forming those crop circles! But then the spaceship would have to have the corresponding Velcro so it's a bit of a long shot!
  • (responding to scattered audience applause) Ah, lovely: the ripple, the ripple there. That's nearly the Zen clap of acceptance there, wasn't it?
  • I'm a vegetarian. I'm not strict; I eat fish, and duck. Well, they're nearly fish, aren't they? They're semi-submerged a lot of the time, they spend a lot of time in the water, they're virtually fish, really. And pigs, cows, sheep, anything that lives near water, I'm not strict. I'm sort of like a post-modern vegetarian. I eat meat ironically.
  • You're absolutely right, Hitler was a vegetarian. It's very unseemly to think so, but there he was. Just goes to show, vegetarianism, not always a good thing. Can in some extreme cases lead to genocide.
  • Talking of white supremacist violent types, I was in America recently...
  • I can't ever remember ever seeing any charity porn, though. "Farmyard Frolics 3: A portion of this goes to a women's literacy programme in Eritrea".
  • There’s this one celebrity, Rosie O’Donnell, a talk show host, and she said this: “I don’t know anything about Afghanistan, but I know it’s full of terrorists, speaking as a mother.” So what is this "speaking as a mother" then? Is that a euphemism for "talking out of my arse"? "Suspending rational thought for a moment"? As a rational human being, Al-Qaeda are a loose association of psychopathic zealots who could be rounded up with a sustained police investigation. But speaking as a parent, they’re all eight foot tall, they’ve got lasers under their moustaches, a huge eye in their foreheads and the only way to kill them is to NUKE every country that hasn’t sent us a Christmas card in the the last 20 years!! Speaking as a mother.
  • There's more evil in the charts than in an Al-Qaeda suggestion box.
  • (After asking the audience about their negative experiences with Marijuana)
    BB: So, what form did these experiences take?
    Audience Member: Swimming with dolphins! (mentioned earlier on the show)
    BB: (misunderstands) Dolby? What, you hear everything with a slightly reduced hiss? (As Audience Member) I like to hear the world in Dolby, it's fantastic! Mind you, it means that no snake will I ever hear. And I said that in a very strange way. (As Yoda) No snake will I ever hear, mmm! (Normally) Never put Dolby on snake detectors, that's what we must remember.
  • Anyway, beards and drugs leads me neatly to the Taliban; were they really that backward, or were they the finest minds of the fourteenth century? Nobody seems to know or care. That ideology was never going to work, was it? It was just cobbled together from different beliefs. The anti-intellectualism of the Khmer Rouge, the religious persecution of the Nazis, the enforced beard-wearing from the world of folk music, and the segregation and humiliation of women from the world of golf.
  • (as George W. Bush) I will tame evil, I will get the evil ones, We must find the evil ones. We must get evil, we must laminate evil, we must wear it round our necks at the backstage party in paradise!
  • I'm English, and as such I crave disappointment. I actively seek it out.
  • The reason we'd stopped was that the buffet car was on fire, that was the reason we stopped. One of the giant biscuits spontaneously combusted out of boredom. Whoever was charged with making the announcement momentarily lost all sense of procedure and we got this tantalizing glimpse into the chaos on the trains, and all we could hear was (bangs on microphone) "Gary, it's burning, what we gonna do?!"
  • God save our gracious Queen: Why would we invoke a non-specific deity to bail out these unelected spongers?
  • Three blind mice walk into a pub. But they are unaware of their surroundings, so to derive humour from it would be exploitative.
  • You get somebody to explain the Trinity to you, they'll say "Well God, he's God, and Jesus is God as well, and the Holy Spirit is...(mumbles indistinctly)". "What?" "He's the fecund spirit of the Lord who impregnates Mary, then gets a bit up himself and is reduced to light clerical duties?" Let's examine that in joke form: three male divine natures go into a cosmic essence, giving and receiving love, but not in a gay bishop way, to which the whole of Islam goes "Wha?"; Hinduism: "Nah!"; or Buddhism: "Ssh!".
  • Talking of tough gigs, I saw a very tough gig in New York, it was Whitney Houston. She was doing this open-air gig in New York. It was in the winter, and it was like minus eight degrees, in Lincoln Plaza. She was meant to be on at three, there were about three-thousand people there. Ten past three, no sign of Whitney. Half past three, crowd getting a bit grumpy, a bit restless. Eventually, four o'clock, Whitney sashays onto the stage in a fur coat. She comes up to the microphone, she says "I just want to say I love every single one of you." And this huge black guy next to me says "Sing bitch!". Tough crowd.
  • (Singing as U2, in Irish accent) Hello! Some old Celtic bollocks!
  • You remind me of the Siberian hunting spider, which adopts a highly convincing limp in three of its eight legs in order to attract its main prey the so-called Samaritan squirrel, which takes pity on the spider, and then the spider jumps on it and injects the paralysing venom, and the squirrel remains bafflingly philosophical about the whole thing. Not to be confused with the Ukrainian hunting spider, which actually has got a limp and is, as such, completely harmless and a little bit bitter about the whole thing.

Tinselworm (2008)

  • Hey, ASDA, I ain't gonna be your bitch!
  • (Imitating a Belarus citizen commenting on their national flag) Stupid National Anthem....Look at this flag; Two bears fighting over a pineapple. What kind of message does that send to the world? "Come to Belarus, where wild animals will steal your fruit"
  • Without the beat in the background, Jazz basically sounds like an armadillo was let loose on the keyboard
  • BB: So, who here has a guinea pig?
    Various Audience Members cheer
    BB: What kind of guinea pig?
    Muffled suggestions from audience members
    BB: Nah, you're not serious about it! (Imitates guniea pig owners) "I dunno, some brown thing...". So what breed?
    Audience Member: Crested!
    BB: (misunderstands) A what? A crusty...a crusty guinea pig? (Imitates owner) I think you should take it to the vet as soon as possible! "Gah, it's crusting over again, it's crusting up Captain!!" (understands) Ah, crested? What you have there is a newt I think, madam! Some bloke in a pub sold you that! (as man in pub) "Yeah, that's a crested guinea pig, they're lovely, them..."
  • (Commenting on band The Killers' lyrics from the song 'All These Things I've Done') Deep down, it really is just a meaningless lyric, isn't it? [Sings] "I got soul, but I'm not a soldier". I mean, you may as well be saying "I got ham, but I'm not a hamster"
  • (On bizzare Conspiracy Theories)
    - Countries are actually closer than you think...Pilots just fly aeroplanes around longer to make you THINK they're far away
    - There are tiny cameras in ham...They're called 'Hameras'
  • It's the augmented fourth, or diminished fifth, depending on your outlook on life..."
  • I know that to be a true fact because I read it in Heat magazine
  • (Quoting his three year old son on a James Blunt song) "Daddy, turn it off, it's spoiling my brain"
  • I feel sorry for James Blunt, he has to wake up every morning and think 'Oh my God, I'm James Blunt, what have I done?'
  • (On being prepped for a gig supported by the bank, UBS) She told me not to mention Nazi Gold, and of course if you tell a comedian not to do something, they'll immediately go and do it. So I went out on stage and said "N-N-Nazi GOOOOOLD"
  • Juxtaposition, you can't handle the juxtaposition!

The Museum of Curiosity (BBC Radio 4, 2008)

At the end of an episode broadcast on Wednesday, 5th March, he (ostensibly) misquoted Bertrand Russell as having said that, "Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you something something something", (with the last three words fading out).

  • The actual quote attributed to Russell is, "Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you have tried to make it precise."


  • They will take us
    And they'll make us
    Human slaves! In an Insect Nation!

(Insect Nation)

  • Where did we all go wrong?
    The insects used to be our brothers.
    Along came pesticide
    And on that day our friendship died
    And pouring boiling water down ants nests couldn't have helped.

(Insect Nation)

  • Beautiful ladies in danger. Danger all around the world. But I will protect them, because I am Chris de Burgh!
    Beautiful ladies in emergency situations.
    Beautiful ladies are lovely but sometimes they don't take care
    They're too busy with their makeup and combing their lovely hair
    To take basic safety precautions
    But I will protect them I will save the pretty ones
    With their smiles and their beautiful eyes
    But let the ugly ones die
    I have no place for them in my new world order
    I won't waste my seed on hideous trolls
    Kill kill kill kill kill the trolls
    hunt them down there shall be no clemency
    Kill kill kill kill kill the trolls
    Look under the bridges that's where they hide
    That's where they hide
    And beauty shall be my bride.


  • C'est lui, dans la nuit- Docteur Qui
    Il voyage dans le Tardis. Le boite de telephone. Fantastique d'espace!
    L'interieur est beaucoup plus grand que l'exterieur
    Et ca, c'est le mystere de Docteur Qui
    L'enemie, il s'appele Davros, le capitain des Daleks
    Il est demi-Dalek et demi-homme- incroyable!
    Il veut controller le monde, toujours controller le monde
    Il se leve le matin, il veut controller le monde!
    Apres le petit-dejeuner, il veut controller le monde!
    Mais ilne controllait le monde jamais! Ce n'est pas tres realistique
    Avec les Daleks, le Docteur est superieur.
    Exterminez-vous! Exterminez-vous encore! Ah, zutalors!
    Le docteur gagne, il rit 'Ha, ha, ha- j'ai gagne parce que je suis Docteur Qui

(Translation: It's him, in the night- Doctor Who.
He travels in the Tardis, the telephone box. Fantastic space!
The interior is much larger than the exterior
And that is the mystery of Doctor Who
The enemy, he's called Davros, the captain of the Daleks.
He's half-Dalek, half-man- incredible!
He wants to control the world, always control the world
He wakes up in the morning, he wants to control the world
After breakfast, he wants to control the world!
But he will never control the world- it's not very realistic.
With Daleks, the Doctor a superior.
Exterminate! Exterminate again! Oh, no!
The doctor wins, he laughs 'Ha ha ha- I won because I am Doctor Who

(Dr. Qui?)

  • You picked me up from school
    You attended all my sporting functions
    You bought me a car
    Gave me use of a credit card
    But how can I feel pain,
    How can I feel pain,
    How can I feel pain
    When you're being so supportive?

( On the self-pitying whine of modern rock. Part Troll (2004))

  • "I texted you on a Monday,
    But you did not get my text 'till the Tuesday,
    Because of a network problem.
    I texted you on a Wednesday,
    But I did not know that you'd called
    Because your SIM card was not correctly installed.
    Oh no no no.
    You texted me on a Thursday
    To say that you would meet me at the Shopping Centre
    And i texted you back and said
    "Where should i meet you?"
    And you said Dixons
    But i did not know which Dixons you meant
    Was it the one inside the door
    Or was it the one further up by Currys
    These are my worries.
    You texted me on a Monday
    To tell me it was over
    But i did not understand
    Because you used Predictive Text
    And it was Jrrg gruuh nnmmg guu hmmg doo doo doo".

( On the shallowness of contemporary rock music. Part Troll (2004))

  • I was alone, my heart was cold, it was a stone, My soul was lonely like a stone there was no moss. And when I danced, I danced alone, But then I did not dance, because I was alone, so I did not dance. I shuffled through life invisible to all the happy couples Who would mock me with their merry laughter - ha ha ha. The only sound I heard in my lonely silent world was the rusty hammer of my heart, nailing at the hatred in my soul... But then you came... And my life was turned upside down. You showed me the beauty of the things that I had never seen, like a snowflake that melts on the eyelash of a startled deer. Or the painting of the dog that wears a deerstalker and smokes a pipe that made you laugh so heartily, but I had previously thought was rubbish. Or the duck that lands so clumsily on a frozen pond in Winter, but the intoxicating power of our love transforms this simple act into an anthropomorphic drama. Where Mr Duck's embarrassed and the other ducks are laughing. Quack, quack, quack. And then you left. And I died a thousand deaths and I will die a thousand more. And I thought you were an angel but you turned out to be a whore. And everything has turned to dust, everything is infected with a plague - Why did you have to sleep with Craig? 'Oh, he's so sensitive, he's got a tattoo' Yeah, carving your name with a compass in my forehead was not enough for you! The snowflake on the eye of the deer has turned to pus that oozes from an open wound... The deer now blinded stumbles into a ravine. The duck lies shredded in a pancake, soaking in the hoisin of your lies. The dog has moved from the pipe to 60 cigarettes a day and coughs his away life in the cold neon research lab of your betrayal. Of your betrayal.

("Love Song", Part Troll (2004))

  • Man streckt die linke Arm ein, die linke Arm aus
    Eis, aus, ein, aus
    Man schütteln alles rund
    Man macht das Hokey-Kokey und man dreht sich herum
    Das ist die ganze Sache
    Ja, das Hokey-Kokey
    Ja, das Hokey-Kokey
    Ja, das Hokey-Kokey
    Knien gebogen, Armen gestreckt
    Ra, ra, ra

("Das Hokey-Kokey", Part Troll (2004) (presented as a "lesser-known, lesser-performed" Kraftwerk track))

  • I stole some pins from the noticeboard
    And pressed them into my hand
    And they spelled 'why?'
    Why did they spell 'why'?
    Because there weren't enough pins for 'oblivion'.
    • ("The Song Written From The Perspective Of A Young Man Who Works At Starbucks and Self-Harms", Tinselworm (2007))

Camilla lights a candle, starts to turn around, 'Charles, what is it, baby? You seem kinda down.' He said, it don't seem fair, and it just ain't much fun, When your mama's got two birthdays, And you only got one! You got that Royal Birthday blues, That lack-of-an-official-birthday-blues,

Phillip takes a drink o' wine, And tells it like it was, 'This is what you have to do my boy, and here's the thing, because.... One day you're gonna rule the world, but you're gonna have to hang around... 'Coz you're mama's not goin' anywhere, She ain't givin' up that crown!' You got that Royal birthday blues, They gonna creep up on you just like that. Yeah, you really been paying your royal due,

Well, in and out and up and down, That's the way the money goes, and whether the pound will finally stop... Nobody really knows!

One thing that you don't want, that what really ain't that funny... Is when your...face even ain't on the money! We got badgers and lizards and hedgehogs and squirrels and even Darwin too, They've even got one elegant Scottish Hebrew, But the one thing that ain't on the money, that definitely ain't on the money.... Isn't it strange that you ain't even on the change, It doesn't make sense that your not on the pence, I never found you on the pound! Not even on a lottery ticket or a subway token or anything around there, or anything around there, now. There ain't nothin' on the money, you ain't definitely on the money, The one thing that ain't one the YOU!!

  • (Song for Prince Charles, performed with Robin Williams on We Are Most Amused (2008))


  • [Re:Claims Direct] No win, no fee, no basis in reality. Just a room above a minicab office in Acton and a steady stream of greedy simpletons whose delusion is only matched by their clumsiness.

(Comic Aid, 22 February 2005)

  • I was like you once, Tim. Blonde hair, scraggly beard, child-like ears. Full of beans and spunk. I once punched a bloke out for saying Hawk the Slayer was rubbish... but that's not the point, Tim. The point is, I was defending the fantasy genre with terminal intensity when what I should have said is "Dad, you're right. But let's give Krull a try and we'll discuss it later."

(Spaced (as Bilbo Bagshot))

  • God, I'm in the same studio as de Burgh! He may have stood right where I'm standing now... and just thought his mad thoughts. Like "I am brilliant."

(The Ultimate Collection (2003))

  • The scotch egg is such a Scottish food. It's as though a great Scottish chef said "I need a tasty snack. Let's take an egg... and wrap it in meat! Makes it a bit harder".

(Never Mind The Buzzcocks)

  • (after Phil Jupittus had insulted Michael Jackson, and David Gest had said 'be nice!') Aw, be nice to the baby-dangling freak.

(Never Mind The Buzzcocks)

  • It's like a mohican on your pancreas, man!

(Never Mind The Buzzcocks)

  • Or, as I call it, a Cheesel, it's a Weasel with a Cheese finish.

(Never Mind The Buzzcocks)

  • This shed does not contain me.

(Game from DVD version of Bewilderness)


  • The hedgehog is sacred.

(From I'm Sorry I haven't A Clue)

External links

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Simple English

Bill Bailey
File:Bill Bailey rocking
Born Mark Bailey
January 13, 1965 (1965-01-13) (age 46)
Bath, Somerset, England
Years active 1989-present
Spouse Kristin (1998-present)

Bill Bailey (born Mark Bailey[1] 13 January 1965, Bath, Somerset) is an English stand-up comedian, musician and actor. He often plays music in his comedy shows. Bailey is well known for being on television programmes like Have I Got News for You, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, QI and Black Books.

In 2003, a newspaper called The Observer said that Bailey was "one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy". In 2007 he was voted number seven on Channel 4's "Hundred Greatest Stand-ups".


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