`Jimeoin & Bob's Cooking Show' is at the Cochrane Theatre, London, WC1 (0171-242 7040) Wed to Sat from 17 Sept to 4 Oct

Jimeoin, the chirpy Irish-Australian comedian, stops chopping onions and comes to the phone to talk to me about "Jimeoin & Bob's Cooking Show".

He and fellow comedian Bob Franklin were given the idea of a spoof cookery programme by a mutual friend. "We looked at each other and said: `Yes! How come no one has ever thought of doing this before? It's so obvious. We'd better do it tonight, or someone else will think of it'."

Now television programme makers have expressed an interest, and Jimeoin and Bob are making a pilot for BBC Northern Ireland next month. "We thought the only way to get on TV was to do a cooking show," Jimeoin laughs. "That was the pitch. Cooking is so popular at the moment because it's a way of taking your mind off other things. I couldn't cook my way out of a wet paper bag. I always just start by chopping up some onions and figure it out from there."

The cooking is, of course, merely a pretext for various silly routines, not all of which are scripted. "If you look carefully," Jimeoin reveals, "you can see us saying to each other, `what next?' We play it by ear. It's like when I do stand-up: I know where I'm going to start and I know where I'm going to finish, but I've no clue about the middle. There's just an in point and an out point."

With its slapstick elements, "people compare the show to Vic and Bob," according to Jimeoin. "But I think it's more comparable to a real cookery show because it's a lot of nonsense."

Already five years old - it is a cult hit in Australia - the show has legs in Jimeoin's eyes. "It can go anywhere," he asserts, "there are no limits to it. We've thought of loads of doorways we can go through for a series. Like a real cookery show, it could go on forever."

And with that parting shot, he returned to his onions.


Poetry may not be the new rock'n'roll but one of its higher-profile practitioners is still being paid rock-star amounts. Murray Lachlan Young is on the receiving end of a reported pounds 1m from EMI for his sardonic verses about the malign effect of the media. See whether you think he's worth it at the Purcell Room, Royal Festival Hall, London (0171-960 4242) tonight.