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Dave Hill
© Mindy Tucker Dave Hill

Dave Hill on what he misses most about London

Once a regular on the London circuit, shy yet boastful US stand-up and social misfit Dave Hill is making a welcome return. Here, he tells us what he’s missed most about our city

By Ben Williams
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Oh, I’ve missed Dave Hill. Six years ago, the Cleveland-born comic was always popping across the Pond from his New York home to liven up the London comedy circuit with his classy absurdism. But then that all stopped. He claims it was because of ‘some flight restrictions placed on me after a series of botched cosmetic procedures’, but really he’s been too busy, contributing to mega-hit podcast ‘This American Life’ and becoming a cult figure on the NY comedy scene.

This week, though, Hill’s back in his spiritual home, paying us a flying visit with a five-night stint in a dingy Tufnell Park basement: the perfect venue for his strange, unpredictable, sometimes unsettling and hugely funny stand-up. Hill’s missed us too, it turns out, and told us what he most enjoys about being in London.

Cockfosters

‘To be fair, I’ve never actually been to Cockfosters, but hearing that lady say it over and over again every time I ride the Piccadilly line is probably my greatest joy in life. I realise you guys are probably over it by now, but it never gets old to me. Sometimes I end up giggling so much I miss my stop altogether. If I ever do get to Cockfosters, I’ll probably have a seizure.’

Being able to use the C-word a lot

‘You’re not going to believe this, but in the States the C-word is really, really bad. It was so nice to learn that in the UK it’s actually a compliment. People call me the C-word non-stop in London and it makes me feel like I have friends wherever I go.’

Fucking Fulham

‘I don’t follow English football, or even understand it. Despite this, it’s fun to arbitrarily pick a team to root against each week. I can’t name a single player on the Fulham squad but they’re all a bunch of fucking C-words as far as I’m concerned. Don’t even get me started on [insert whatever another good team to hate is here].’

Minding the gap

‘I always pretend to “mind the gap” on the tube, but between you and me I have yet to give that gap a second thought. Partly because I’m not entirely sure what the gap is, but mostly because I am a man without limits who is not exactly crazy about rules. In fact, the more I think about it, the gap can suck it.’

Friends from the North

‘I’ve made some friends in London who are originally from the north of England. They’re really easy to get along with because I can’t understand a word they’re saying – I just nod and laugh, and I can tell we have a really nice time. And when they suggest it’s my turn to buy a round in the pub, I just act really confused. This is always funny.’

Being mistaken for Rich Fulcher

‘I prefer to get recognised for being myself, but since Rich is a lot more famous than I am in England (as he plays Bob Fossil in ‘The Mighty Boosh’), I find being mistaken for him is a much better way to get free drinks and stuff than just being me. Rich and I are friends, and while I’m not sure how he feels about all this, I’ve told him that if he’s ever in my hometown of Cleveland it’s totally fine to pretend he’s me and see where that gets him.’

Everyone talking quietly

‘As you may have noticed, Americans are generally pretty loud and annoying compared to Brits. I prefer your approach. A couple years ago, I was having a drink in Soho and this British girl was annoying the crap out of me and I couldn’t figure out why. Then at one point she said, ‘Everyone tells me I talk like an American’ and I just thought: Oh yeah, that’s why I can’t stand you.’

Pubs with the word ‘cock’ in their name

‘This might sound similar to my fixation with Cockfosters but, trust me, it couldn’t be more different. I’m told “cock” is another word for rooster, but I choose to believe otherwise. So, a perfect day in London for me would be to ride the Piccadilly line for a few hours before stopping in at the Cock Tavern in Fulham to have a few drinks and kick some ass.’

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