With his one-man show, My Family: Not the Sitcom, due for a Swindon debut later this month, David Baddiel took time out to talk about his latest show which uncovers his families intimate secrets live on stage.
Disturbing his breakfast and me just one coffee in the interview was never going to start well, then the failure of my voice recorder put pay to any interview preparation and what followed felt more like a chat down the local coffee shop with someone I’d known forever than that comedian I watched on TV growing up.
Now if like me you hadn’t heard of the show, it is described as being a ‘disrespectful celebration of the lives of Baddiel’s late sex-mad mother, Sarah, and dementia-ridden father, Colin. Something David was happy to confirm was true, all of it! “Don’t forget the gay cat.”
David explains: “It’s a mix of stand-up comedy and storytelling if you like. The star of the show is my mum with dad as the supporting player,
“The show was inspired when I went to my mum’s funeral, a lot of people I didn’t really know were telling me that she was wonderful, people that didn’t really know her. It was as though she was being idolised out of existence.”
“Yes she led a wonderful life but she also led a mad one mad too!”
Going on to talk about how his mum turned the house into a golfing shrine David explains “My mum had a very long and very passionate affair with a golfing memorabilia salesman, which she was very proud of.
She turned our life over to golf, she was obsessed with it. “She never even played golf!”
We start to talk about how the second half of the show links in with the Wyvern Theatre campaign to raise awareness of dementia in Swindon whilst raising fund for the Memory Cafe and also the Alzheimer’s Society, a charity David has recently become an ambassador for since his dad was diagnosed with Pick’s Disease, a form of dementia which causes uncontrolled swearing, irritation, mood swings, and extreme impatience as well as memory loss
“We tend to treat people who have dementia differently. David explains. “We seem to forget they are still a real person.
Did you know there are over 200 forms of dementia? I didn’t.
David hopes talking about dementia in a way people can relate to will help anyone attending the show, who has or is living with someone with dementia will feel more comfortable talking about and living with the illness afterwards.
“It is ok to talk about it” he says. “It’s also ok to laugh about it, use what you can to get through it.
So, at the end of the day, the show is about the power of laughter to deal with death and dementia and how you remember people. Don’t be scared to wash your dirty linen in public it is a way of celebrating the truth, your memories and your family.
I was so in need of a good laugh. Thank you, @Baddiel, for your brilliant, funny, emotional show xxx
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) 17 June 2016
@Baddiel Thanks for a stunning night of big laughs and the occasional teardrop. My Family – not the sitcom. is brave brutal and brilliant.
— graham norton (@grahnort) 11 June 2016
David Baddiel – My Family: Not the Sitcom is a show about memory, ageing, infidelity, dysfunctional relatives, moral policing on social media, golf, and gay cats. A massively disrespectful celebration of the lives of David Baddiel’s late sex-mad mother, Sarah, and dementia-ridden father, Colin.
Come and be offended on David’s behalf at the Wyvern Theatre from Friday 20th April through to Sunday 22nd.
Tickets can be bought online or at the box office on 01793 524 481