Bill Bailey: ‘Why can’t I find a decent coffee in Spain?’

Bill Bailey: 'Why can't I find a decent coffee in Spain?'
Photos by Andy Hollingworth
Bill Bailey, musician extraordinaire and stand-up comedy is bringing his live show Larks In Transit to Spain.

Ahead of gigs planned in Madrid, Barcelona and Torremolinos, the comic made famous for his role in sitcom Black Books spoke exclusively to The Local about the Spanish leg of his European tour.

His Spanish dates come in the wake of a tour first around Britain and then other parts of Europe

“The show I’m bringing to Spain , Larks in Transit, is particularly well travelled, and has just been well received all round Norway, Iceland, Sweden , Denmark and Belgium so it’s perhaps my most international show yet,” explains Bailey. 

British comedy can draw big crowds in Spain, with Eddie Izzard performing sell out dates in Madrid recently, even learning Spanish for the occasion. Fellow Black Books star Dylan Moran also toured Spain last year.

“I’ve found that in the last few years there’s been huge amount of interest in English-speaking comedy around Europe and indeed around the world. I’ve performed my show in places I would never have imagined ..like former Soviet bloc countries, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia as well as those further afield like Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur. 

“I think YouTube has had a large part to play in this, as anyone can now see all kinds of comedy online,” adds Bailey. 

So can his Spanish audience expect to hear him tackling the local lingo?

“I like to learn some of each language for a few greetings, and I do a few checks to find out if a few cultural references will work, but other than that I tend not to change or adapt, I find that the show is well worked out, and balanced.”

He knows both Madrid and Barcelona having visited the cities on holiday but has also added a gig in Torremolinos. Why Torremolinos?

“Come on it’s sunny! It’s freezing in London, pouring with rain, we’re in the grip of Storm Beyonce or whatever, and I need some sun. Plus, it’s the holiday destination of my youth, and I’ve not been back in a long while,” he explains.

He is also hoping to find in a bit of mountain biking in breaks between shows… and eating. 

“I love the food, and the biking.. so I’m looking forward to tapas, and taking to the mountain bike trails.”

But he admits he is baffled as to why he can’t find a decent coffee in Spain.

“I was just in Baqueira Beret for half term skiing with my son, and couldn’t get decent coffee,” he revealed.  “So I’m bringing my own hand press!”

Anyone familiar with Bailey’s humour will know he is a master of all musical instruments and this latest show also includes musical interludes. So can we expect any Spanish influences to appear? 

“Perhaps some opera, some flamenco,” he hinted.

And, in his first tour to Europe since 31st January when the UK left the European Union, will he be mentioning the ‘B’ word?

“You can’t not mention it. It’s the elephant in the room. But I won’t dwell on it .. I might mention it in passing,” he says. Asked if there was anything ‘funny’ about Brexit? He replied with an emphatic: “Not really”.

I ask Bailey who is an avid birdwatcher – he is author Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide to British Birds –  if he has a favourite bird, and he recalls one he recently saw in Spain.

“I watched a Gryphon vulture soaring in the Pyrenees recently at nearly 3000 metres up, and apparently they go much higher, cruising at altitude looking for leftovers, that’s my kind of life.”

So what plans does Bailey have for the future? Is there a Black Books sequel on the cards? And would he like to play Doctor Who?

“Yes, I think I’d be an excellent Doctor.. perhaps one who also has an interest in owls, and owl conservation, uses his powers to stop the destruction of habitat.

“As to a Black Books sequel, I wouldn’t have thought so.. maybe a musical , or branded swimwear maybe?”

And finally, does he have a favourite ‘knock knock’ joke? 

“It’s actually a backwards one that happened by accident,” he recounts. “My wife opened a cracker at Christmas, there was a knock knock joke in it, she read it out as “Who’s there? Then someone replied Knock Knock ….. .. mysterious, brilliant.”

Bill Bailey is performing in Madrid on March 2nd, Barcelona, March 3rd and Torremolinos on March 5th. For more information about tour dates and tickets click HERE

READ ALSO: Where, when and how to drink coffee like a Spaniard


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