First Night: Crude, rude - and irresistible
Sir Les Patterson Royal Festival Hall London
Friday 25 June 1999
But playing in these sophisticated surroundings as part of the Meltdown 99 Festival only seemed to egg Sir Les on to ever more gross extremes. He was like a naughty schoolboy, unable to suppress the urge to swear in front of the vicar. Sir Les himself admitted: "I know a lot of you are asking what is Les Patterson doing in a beautiful venue like this? And I tell you, I'm asking the same question."
Sir Les is the ultimate one-joke wonder - in his search for material, he rarely sees the need to stray far beyond his own orifices. But it is a joke pulled off with such panache that it scarcely matters.
From the moment he marched on stage last night after Nick Cave's fulsome introduction and asked, "Who was that tall streak of piss?", we knew we were not destined for a night of exquisitely subtle wordplay.
The audience, however, simply lapped up the stream of single entendres, most of which are too rude for reproduction in a family newspaper. I could not, for example, begin to recount what he produced from his trousers during his duet with Kylie Minogue. Nor would I contemplate repeating his explanation of how the Poet Laureate came to be known as Andrew Motion.
Barry Humphries' creation may revel in his image as the man political correctness forgot, but it is hard to resist a performer who takes such obvious joy in language. For instance, he called a hard-drinking friend "a card-carrying turps-nudger who bugles the bottle". Sir Les savours words like drops of amber nectar.
I could easily have lived without Sir Les's songs, and there was a ghastly crashing of gears as Germaine Greer came on in an academic gown to read out a ribald poem by the Earl of Rochester.
A garnish of kitsch was provided by a leather-clad Rolf Harris - yes, it was that kind of night. Dame Edna Everage also made a sparky appearance, breezing in for just long enough to insult a woman in the front row about her frock. "It's a lovely fabric. You were lucky to get so much of it."
But it was Sir Les's show. As he exited, the audience whooped and hollered with a fervour rarely heard within the hallowed portals of the Royal Festival Hall. Is Sir Les Patterson the greatest Australian export this side of the cricketer Shane Warne? No worries, mate.
- 1 Michael Brown shooting: Amnesty International sends team within US for first time as National Guard deployed
- 2 James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – and warns Obama of more to come
- 3 Reading Festival 2014: Tesco branch replaces salad and potatoes for Jagermesiter and vodka
- 4 Here’s the damning letter Robin Williams wrote to his Mrs Doubtfire co-star's principal after they expelled her
- 5 Ferguson protests: 90-year-old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein ‘arrested’ by police during St Louis demonstrations
Michael Brown shooting: Amnesty International sends team within US for first time as National Guard deployed
Michael Brown shooting: Ferguson police shoot and kill second young black man
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – and warns Obama of more to come
Iraq crisis: Islamic State's message to America - 'We will drown you all in blood'
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Russell Brand calls for Israel boycott: Comedian urges big businesses that 'facilitate the oppression of people in Gaza' to pull funding
Ukip MEP calls for reintroduction of death penalty on fiftieth anniversary of last deaths
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
£50000 - £60000 Per Annum + excellent company benefits: Clearwater People Solu...
£65000 - £70000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based i...
£25000 - £30000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy En...
£475 - £550 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Technical Accountant-Insuran...