Alexei Sayle

Alexei Sayle is a comedian and author who was in the cast of The Young Ones alongside Rik Mayall

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Rik Mayall could make people laugh just by walking on stage and standing there

My fellow Young Ones cast member created one brilliant character after another

'The Bill': a complex study in moral duality

'If you want to understand human motivation, you're better off watching television'

The clueless entrepreneurs wasting your money

'A lot of wizards are from the same public school nexus as their film-making older siblings'

Heavy drinkers and idiots are masters of invention and self-deception

A well-known definition of an alcoholic is somebody who drinks more than you do. Certainly, if you ask any heavy drinkers of your acquaintance for a definition of an alcoholic, you will find that they always manage to structure their definition so as to exclude themselves.

Alexei Sayle Column

Recently, my wife read a magazine article on how to tell if you've got halitosis. Apparently, to check whether your breath is smelly or not, what you do is lick your wrist then let it dry and then you sniff your wrist and if it's smelly then your breath is smelly. So I tried this and, sure enough, there was smelliness, and yet, when I breathed on a few close friends, just for confirmation of halitosis, they all said my breath did not smell at all. So now what I've discovered is I've got a very strange medical condition: though the air I exhale is as sweet as daisies - I've got smelly wrists! The space between my hands and my forearms pongs. As a result, I've taken to wearing voluminous shirts with big puffy sleeves and long frilly lace cuffs in order to contain the noxious aroma.

Alexei Sayle

There is a hoary truism that people grow to resemble their pets, but I have found that exactly the opposite has happened in our household. My cat has slowly but surely started becoming more and more like me.

I looked like one of those chimps in the PG Tips Tour de France advert and could not go out on this bike without attracting the attention of every would-be comedian in central London

I sincerely believe in the adage that "there's no such thing as a free lunch" - you usually find they have some exchange in mind, like I buy you a mess of potage, you give me your birthright. I also hate the fact that the only people offered the free stuff are the people who have more than enough money to buy it in the first place. So, unlike many celebrities, I have never been very keen on accepting "freebies" - ie, gifts, holidays, trinkets given by manufacturers and retailers in the hope of endorsement or recommendation. For years I used to refuse the magazines such as Ms London and 9-5 that are handed out at London tube stations with angry cries of "What kind of star do you think I am that my soul can be bought with a crappy magazine?" until I realised that they were offering them to everyone and not just to me.

Alexei Sayle

A few years ago I was working on a film which was set in Australia, and as it was a particularly slow-moving enterprise I had a lot of time to chat to the other actors and actresses, who were all antipodeans.

There's the feeling of utter dread when you realise that another year has passed and nothing's changed except for the things that have got worse

What's the worse thing you've ever seen? I am excluding such horrors as war, pestilence and plague, starving children, tortured animals and ecological disasters. That's not the kind of thing I'm after, this column being essentially light-hearted. But given those constraints, what have you seen that has made your mouth go dry with dread and your whole world tilt for a moment? I am prompted to ask this question by a visit to a new show in town; an appalling melange of mime, awful bloody clowns and naff acrobats called Saltimbanco (apparently that's Italian for unfunny wanker) presented by Cirque du Soleil. When I phoned people to tell them about my terrible experience, they all said: "Oh God, if you'd asked, we could have told you how awful Cirque du Soleil were. We saw them in LA/Paris/Ulan Bator and we walked out after 11 seconds - they were so crap."

I'm thinking of opening my own hamburger chain and I'm going to steal the TGI Friday's formula, except I'm going to call my restaurants OFI Tuesday's

In prime locations scattered around the centre of London are a number of American-owned themed bars and restaurants called Thank God It's Friday's. They are usually found where most swingers would choose to let their hair down at the weekends, on those superstore drive-in malls containing huge electrical goods shops, giant Toys R Us stores and carpet warehouses. For the sake of brevity and to avoid being up on a blasphemy charge, Thank God It's Friday's is usually initialised on signs, napkins and menus etc as TGI Friday's.
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