Paul Foot's guide to showbizness
The ludicously silly stand-up gets down to bizness
Paul Foot, the ultimate purveyor of fey whimsy, has truly embraced the celebrity lifestyle. He offers Ben Williams advice on coping with fame.
Blacked-out car windows, hoards of bodyguards, diva-ish demands… You won’t find Paul Foot sinking to any of these celebrity clichés. Despite being in show business (or as he insists on calling it, ‘showbizness’) the wilfully obscure stand-up has remained oh-so-down to earth.
Of course, some would argue that his fame isn’t at a level where such extreme security measures or prima donna antics are necessary. Foot, though, would argue differently. The beautifully mulleted comic is a glitzy, all-round, albeit odd, entertainer. Here, he gives some helpful advice for anyone looking at a career in the business we call ‘show’.
The showbizness ‘stand’
‘It is essential to hold a posture befitting of showbizness, or else risk looking like a layperson or a lonely businessman in Telford. You don’t see Angela Lansbury spreading her legs on park benches, do you? Have you ever seen Dionne Warwick eating a Peperami in the street? Exactly. There are several showbizness “stands”.
'I go for one foot slightly in front of the other with a subtle lift of the left knee. I have a showbizness walk too. It’s much like a normal walk but one in every 5,000 steps I hop on my left foot twice. I last hopped on Wednesday in Greggs in Streatham.’
Always leave them wanting less
‘Leaving the audience wanting more is the classic beginners’ error. It’s a good method if you want to sell out tours, flog pricy DVDs or buy a house in Highgate. However, the true showbizness approach is to push your audience.
'I take great pleasure in knowing that my audience members are dying to check their watch. Entertainment is a form of discipline. The last thing you want is spoilt fans, like when you give a cat fresh salmon. Terrible consequences.’
Use public transport
‘As your showbizness credentials grow it will become increasingly tough to use public transport. People take photographs of you on their telephones, they come up and tell you that they’ve heard of you, they quote your own jokes at you, they tell you that they follow you on Twitter; almost as if you care.
'The temptation is to avoid the London Underground and just sit back in a blacked-out car. That’s where Huw Edwards went wrong. Imagine a world where all famous people used the tube, instead of that sad trout sitting across from you.’
Sack people regularly
‘It’s good to keep your staff on their toes. Don’t let them forget that their boss isn’t in any old business, he’s in friggin’ showbizness baybay. Every lunchtime I ring up one of my staff members and tell them they’ve been sacked.
'Then later on, in the afternoon, I’ll ring them up and tell them I’ve changed my mind. Sometimes by that point it’s already too late and we have to send a team down to the Thames…’