How we met: Harry Enfield & Mick Perrin
'We had a great invention: an electronic golf-ball finder. But it was about 25 metres by four'
Sunday 14 June 2009
Mick Perrin, 54, is a tour manager, producer and promoter who has worked with live acts such as Stomp and La Clique and stand-up comics including Eddie Izzard, Ardal O'Hanlon and Dylan Moran. He lives in Brighton with his wife and their three children
Harry and I met a few times before I really got to know him. The first was during a recording of The Tube around 1987, when I was on with a precursor to Stomp called the Urban Warriors; the second was on Saturday Live, when he was doing his Stavros character. He was an up-and-coming star and we were a bit in awe. It turned out he was a big fan of the Brighton music scene, which I'd been part of, so there was a connection, but I don't think he knew who I was.
A couple of years later I met a girl called Lizzie backstage at the Apollo. When we started going out, she took me to meet her brother. Of course, she'd never told me who her brother was and, lo and behold, it was Harry.
He and Lizzie were very close and back then, if you had put a blonde wig on Harry, he could have been her, although I must say my wife is, in fact, very beautiful. I was a bit shocked to see him, but I think he was more shocked to find that his sister was attached to a working-class Scouser.
He was quite pleased to be able to practice his Scouse accent on me, though, and he was a wonderful mimic. He was a warm, friendly guy and even though he was well-established by then, he lacked the ego that a lot of people have.
He always said I should be a promoter rather than a tour manager, but it wasn't until Eddie Izzard asked me that I went for it. Eddie told me he wanted to do an arena tour, which no comic had done, and I knew I had to raise a huge amount of money. Harry was the first person I thought of but the last I went to, as I was wary of mixing family and finance, but he was brilliant.
I'm sure at times he might be difficult to work with artistically, but socially he is wonderful. He is a very private man, but in a family sense he is very open and would help anyone with anything. I suppose as the eldest he feels like the man of the family.
I've never known him not be recognised when we go out. He can have a big overcoat and hat on and somebody will shout "Oi! Loadsamoney!" I'm sure he loves it but it's a bit much sometimes – can you imagine being told, "You don't wanna do that" every time you try to do something?
Harry Enfield, 48, is a comedian, actor, writer and director best known for his sketch show featuring characters such as Kevin the Teenager, Tim Nice-But-Dim and Wayne and Waynetta Slob. He lives in Cornwall with his wife and their three children
I must have seen Mick around before I met him because he was with the band Pookiesnackenburger when we shared a venue in Edinburgh in 1984 while I was doing a double act with [Skins creator] Brian Elsley. We didn't actually meet, however, until my younger sister came to live with me in London around 1987. She helped out at a charity gig one night and afterwards she told me she'd met someone.
Initially I was the suspicious older brother, but as soon as I met him I thought, "Blimey he's really nice, I hope she sticks with this one." He was older than me, but I just had an instinct that he was a good guy.
He's a Scouser, which goes against him, but moved to Brighton in the 1970s. Back then my gran was living there and I used to go to all the punk gigs, so I would have gone to see Mick play with his band The Lillettes. They were crap but I loved them.
Mick knows a lot more about comedy than me. He's always telling me, "You've got to see so and so, they're brilliant," and I'll not have a clue who he is talking about. The next thing I know, they're amazingly famous. He is a fan of it all, he loves it; that's why he can always spot the good ones.
Having Mick as a brother-in-law is a great ice-breaker with comics I've not met and I'm slightly frightened of because they're younger than me. I'll tell them I know Mick and they instantly like me.
I feel sorry for him having to put up with my dad and the rest of us, but he is brilliant with my family. We all think we're having a nice normal conversation and then I'll see Mick's eyes flicker and realise that it's actually a big argument and I'd better just log out of this one. He thinks we're all very competitive when we get together. I don't; I just think I'm the best.
Occasionally we have mad projects together. We've had two so far, one of which was very successful and was an Eddie Izzard tour. It was the first big tour Mick had done and I lent him the money so he didn't get screwed by a bank. I felt rather grand. I'd come to the shows and Eddie called me "Boss", which I obviously liked.
The other thing was very fun but not as successful. We had this invention, an electronic golf-ball finder. Mick loves golf and when he visits us in Cornwall he tries to teach me but I will not learn. It was a great idea and we got excited thinking we were going to make millions. The only problem was that we couldn't make it small enough – it was about 25 metres by four, so not very practical.
We're a bit like that as a family – my sister always comes up with hare-brained schemes and Mick is a great enthusiast of new ideas. I'd like to see us all on Dragons' Den one day; they'd tear us to shreds.
Mick Perrin presents 'The Crack', as part of E4 Udderbelly at the Southbank Centre, from Tuesday to 21 June (0871 663 2538, www.underbelly.co.uk)
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