COMEDY / Talking dirty: Mark Wareham on the time-warped humour of Kevin 'Bloody' Wilson

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Just as Keith Richards missed out on vast tracts of the Sixties and Seventies, so Australia's Kevin 'Bloody' Wilson appears to have been absent for a large part of the Eighties. Either the alternative comedy phenomenon of that decade never stopped off at Wilson's home town of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, or he simply decided that alternatives to sexism and racism do not constitute comedy. Wilson is a throwback to a distant point in time when PC didn't even mean personal computer, let alone politically correct.

His mix of song and banter perpetuates the stereotypical true-blue Aussie. Sheep-shagging gags are Australia's equivalent of our own mother-in-law jokes, but the audience at the Beck Theatre, Hayes, one of whom presented Wilson with an inflatable plastic ewe, appeared to find the sheep an entirely novel and endlessly hilarious source of humour. An insomniac would derive more laughs from counting the things, but at least Wilson had the good comic sense to mix it up with a few roo-rooting quips as well. 'Where I come from,' he is fond of saying, ' 'Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport' is a love song.'

In between songs, his easy jocularity and bar-room backchat set up a strong rapport with a rough 'n' ready audience, many of whom were knocking the lagers back right up to showtime. On came Wilson, depositing his XXXX in the tinnie-holder attached to his mike-stand, to enquire as to whether there might not be any drunks in the audience. When an outbreak of roaring appeared to signify that this was the case, Wilson nodded, picked up his guitar and sang, 'I gave up wanking this morning . . .'. Not that renouncing masturbation was going to prevent him from singing about it for the next two hours. 'My dick's on the dole, living on hand-outs again,' ran one of the subtler lines.

Wilson's brand of boisterous ribaldry has won him a loyal following in this country and, to be fair, masturbation gags are now mandatory in most stand-up routines. In his homeland, Wilson's video and CD sales (among them The Far Canal Album) make him Australia's biggest-selling domestic act and second only to Michael Jackson in international sales there.

As Chubby Brown has already shown over here, there's no bottom to the well of demand for good-natured filth; however, Wilson's live show and, more significantly, the audience's reaction to it displayed ugly facets which threatened to turn the well into a cesspit. The auditorium's most vociferous cheers were reserved for his homespun contributions to race relations. 'Take all the wogs out of Heathrow,' he told us, 'and you get two hours more daylight.' And they call him the Lovable Larrikin. More like the Hateful Hooligan.