Stand-Up Comedy by Bill Bailey


   

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This section is for stand-up comedy by Bill Bailey. By default the stand-up sets are presented starting with those ranking highest on the laugh-o-meter, but you can also sort them by year, title or IMDB rating.

About Bill

( wikipedia | imdb )
Bill Bailey is the finest, ultimate achievement of British civilization.

Bill Bailey

He is also Eddie Izzard's lost brother. Bill is not only an outstanding performer and a brilliant humorist, he is a superb musician who marries laughs with tunes with such skill as I had not seen again since laughing at a circus act as a six-year-old. When such a genius comes along, I say give him a nice house, give him everything he needs so he can keep making jewels for the rest of us, and spare him bad relationships that would distract him from his work. Of course for some comedians discomfort and bad relationships are inspirations, but let's face it, they operate in a different atmosphere. Long live Bill.

Bill Bailey is said to have been born on Monday 13 January 1964, which would make him 54 years, 1 months and 12 days old (if this date is accurate and he is alive today).


Stand-Up Comedy by Bill Bailey sorted by Laugh-o-meter (descending)


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Bill Bailey was credited as writer and actor in the following stand-up comedy set.
At the time, he would have been about 40 years old.
Bill Bailey: Part Troll posterBill Bailey: Part Troll
      2004 | U.K. | Laughs: 9.1 (Laugh Out Loud) | imdb: 8.4
      

After discovering Bill in Cosmic Jam, we braced ourselves for disappointment when, the following afternoon, we started watching this show, produced seventeen years after the first. Indeed, few are the comedians who keep producing fresh material, and fewer still those who improve as the decades go by. You try it sometime. It must be a really hard job. But to our surprise and delight, this show was even better than the first. Perhaps not on all counts, as it was different, and thankfully so; for instance, there were fewer of these wild surreal drifts. But the show made us laugh harder, and on this site that's all that matters.

Part Troll confirms that Bill is the best thing to come out of the UK since Dark Side of the Moon. (Last viewed: September 2013)

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Bill Bailey was credited as writer and actor in the following stand-up comedy set.
At the time, he would have been about 33 years old.
Bill Bailey: Live Cosmic JamBill Bailey: Cosmic Jam (a.k.a Live)
      1997 | U.K. | Laughs: 8.3 | imdb: 7.8
      

I first encountered Bill as the character Manny in the (very funny) TV series Black Books, but it was only when I discovered him in stand-up (sixteen years after this set was recorded) that I realized what a genius this man is. With his easy relaxed style (the product not of sloppiness but of virtuosity), he had me laughing right away. It was only ten minutes into the show that I noticed striking parallels with the style of Eddie Izzard—in gesture, yes, but more importantly in the surreal, perhaps sometimes ad-libbed nature of his stories. About halfway into the set, Bill started using his guitar and piano for backup. I am normally not a fan of the musical comedy genre, but Bill carried it to perfection, and the laughter continued. On a cleverness rating the show would rank higher, but some shows that are not as clever do pull more laughs overall.

After this, I am hooked. I'll be looking for more of Bill's shows. (Last viewed: September 2013)

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Bill Bailey was credited as writer and actor in the following stand-up comedy set.
At the time, he would have been about 44 years old.
Bill Bailey: Tinselworm posterBill Bailey: Tinselworm
      2008 | U.K. | Laughs: 7.0 | imdb: 7.3
      

This is my least favorite Bill Bailey show so far, though Bill's standards are so high that the set is still very good in the context of contemporary stand-up comedy. In the first place, doing a good stand-up show at Wembley must be a challenge. The venue is so large and impersonal that comedians must find it hard to "feel" the audience. I've seen a few stand-up shows shot there: none were excellent.

If you haven't seen much of Bill Bailey yet, I suggest you start with one of his earlier shows, which were filmed in more intimate settings.

A good portion of the material in Tinselworm was recycled; another portion was new but not quite as crisp as usual. Yet there were some very funny bits, and bits of Bill's trademark dazzling brilliance that I just love regardless of whether I find them comical.

I was impressed by a segment where Bill tackles the idea that our beings are all made of different fragments—perhaps a psychologist would call that some kind of Gestalt line of thinking. What impressed me was that I'd never seen that idea pursued so aggressively or successfully in popular culture. That alone earns a "hats off" for Bill: he doesn't treat his audience as a pack of morons.

Despite the show's real shortcomings, there is a lot to like, and true fans won't want to miss out on the good bits. (Last viewed: December 2013)

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Bill Bailey was credited as writer and actor in the following stand-up comedy set.
At the time, he would have been about 46 years old.
Bill Bailey: Dandelion Mind posterBill Bailey: Dandelion Mind
      2010 | U.K. | Laughs: 6.5 | imdb: 7.7
      

This show is not Bill's best but it has its good moments. To nitpick: one bit involving the public is particularly repetitive; there are many musical numbers, not all of which are inspired; there are many references to celebrities, which makes the show less universal, and prone to faster to aging. (Last viewed: November 2015)

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Bill Bailey was credited as writer and actor in the following stand-up comedy set.
At the time, he would have been about 49 years old.
Bill Bailey: Qualmpeddler posterBill Bailey: Qualmpeddler
      2013 | U.K. | Laughs: 5.1 (Watch Once) | imdb: 7.6
      

In the first part of the set, Bill makes many references to public figures—a comedic device I rarely like, as it makes the material instantly dated as well as culture-dependent. How many U.S. viewers keep up with U.K. politics and social affairs?

But it's a long set, and it has some very good bits. Overall it felt like watching "real Bill Bailey" (as opposed to a weaker, diluted version of his former self), and I enjoyed the experience. (Last viewed: June 2017)

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Bill Bailey was credited as writer and actor in the following stand-up comedy set.
At the time, he would have been about 40 years old.
Bill Bailey: Bewilderness posterBill Bailey: Bewilderness
      2004 | U.K. | Laughs: 5.0 (Watch Once) | imdb: 8.1
      

This show could have been subtitled "a relaxed evening with comedian Bill Bailey, who has recorded some of the funniest performances in stand-up history". It was indeed a pleasant evening, and there were laughs, but it was not the high-octane mixture of Part Troll or Cosmic Jam. Throughout the show, Bill referred to the aloofness of his Welsh audience, and one can wonder whether that aloofness rubbed off on Bill—but surely that wouldn't have influenced the material itself. We were glad to watch this show but probably won't watch it again. (Last viewed: October 2013)

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Bill Bailey was credited as writer and actor in the following stand-up comedy set.
At the time, he would have been about 45 years old.
Bill Bailey's Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra posterBill Bailey's Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra
      2009 | U.K. | Laughs: 2.5 (Light-Hearted) | imdb: 7.7
      

This is not a traditional stand-up set, but rather a humorous musical tour (with some elements of stand-up) with the full support of the BBC concert orchestra. Those who are familiar with Bill's material will recognize many of his humorous songs, whose recycling is not always enhanced by the orchestral backing. The funniest part was the very end of the show, when Bill and the orchestra compete for who will play the final measures.

For those who are familiar with Bill's earlier material there is not much else to laugh at—but there is lots to smile at, and this is still a fun and worthwhile performance. If nothing else, the idea of having Bill (the epitome of "casual" in past days) in charge of an orchestra in full pomp—and in a grandiose setting—is a delicious premise, and the contrast created thus is the only humor this show needs. (Last viewed: January 2014)

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Bill is one of the few people who has titles in all three categories of laughDB
: comedy movies, stand-up comedy and TV comedy series. This page is about stand-up, but you can also visit these pages:
comedy movies involving Bill Bailey
tv comedy series involving Bill Bailey




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