Comedy: Yankee come home

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Alongside hamburgers, comedians must rank as one of America's top exports to Britain. In recent years, this booming trade has given us such high-quality goods as Greg Proops, Scott Capurro and Rich Hall. Dave Fulton is the latest item to plop off the production-line over there and land up over here.

Not that he hasn't from time to time felt under siege as an American in Britain. "I've had the privilege of taking the full brunt of your aggression against Americans," he says resignedly. "I'm blamed for anything the Americans have done wrong over the past 200 years. You accuse me, for instance, of trying to take over your country." Worst of all, he adds ironically, "you accuse me of not knowing what irony is.

"British audiences throw down so much beer," he continues, his voice tinged with exasperation, "they tend to lose all semblance of manners or respect - which I guess dates back to Shakespeare's time."

He is the first to admit that his loud, plaid-clad, vacationing compatriots have done him few favours. "Some American tourists are so embarrassing," he sighs. "They think the world is there just for their benefit. They've spent all that money on their holiday, so they want coffee now, goddamit. They forget to say `please'."

Whenever he plays here, the Seattle-based Fulton has to re-set his cultural dial. "The challenge is to get you to relate to my humour," he says. "I can't say `Saran Wrap', for example; I have to say `cling film'."

Much to his chagrin, he has had to get used to traditional British food, so he was grateful when he discovered the profileration of Indian restaurants over here. "Thank God you conquered countries which you could bring spices back from," he laughs.

For all his complaints, however, Fulton - an old-fashioned one-man-and- his-mike kind of stand-up - obviously has an affinity with British audiences. "You go out and have a pint with people in Scotland, and by the end of the night, you're family," he marvels. "That's why everybody tries to trace their lineage back to Scotland. It's very funny to see Japanese people picking up a clan-book to see if there's any chance they're Scottish."

There are still some areas of Britain Fulton can't get to grips with, though. "I've been to Birmingham," he says wearily. "Now there's a garden spot. I wish I had a cement distributorship in that city. I'd really be cleaning up."

Dave Fulton plays the Comedy Store, SW1 (0171-344 4444) tonight.

EXTRA

Bob Boyton comes highly recommended. Not only did The Scotsman call him "the Joe Orton of alternative comedy", but that eminent comedy critic, Sir Teddy Taylor, dubbed him "a sick Marxist comedian". A former trade-union activist who now works with the homeless, Boyton performs a theatrical adaptation of his tales of East End lowlifes in "Short Stories" at the Hackney Empire, E8 (0181- 985 2424), 19-21 Feb

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