search
Barnsley
Batley
Bedale
Beverley
Bingley
Bradford
Bridlington
Brighouse
Castleford
Catterick Garrison
Cleckheaton
Cottingham
Darlington
Dewsbury
Doncaster
Driffield
Elland
Filey
Goole
Guisborough
Halifax
Harrogate
Hawes
Hebden Bridge
Heckmondwike
Hessle
Holmfirth
Huddersfield
Hull
Ilkley
Keighley
Knaresborough
Knottingley
Leeds
Leyburn
Liversedge
Malton
Mexborough
Middlesborough
Mirfield
Morley
Normanton
Northallerton
Ossett
Otley
Pickering
Pontetfract
Pudsey
Redcar
Richmond
Ripon
Rotherham
Saltburn-by-the-Sea
Scarborough
Selby
Settle
Sheffield
Shipley
Skipton
Sowerby Bridge
Stockton-on-Tees
Tadcaster
Thirsk
Todmorden
Wakefield
Wetherby
Whitby
Yarm
York
Pearce – Dated But The Consummate Pro
Phil Hopkins, Arts & Travel Editor
Once in a while Alhambra panto stalwart Billy Pearce must feel the need to let his adoring Bradford public know there is more to his talent than being battered over the head by Widow Twanky.

So, every now and then, the veteran ‘silly lad’ rolls out the risqué and drives into a venue with all the subtlety of a tank in a meringue factory!

Pearce is among the last of a dying (or dead) breed – Manning, Chubby Brown, Peter ‘Machine Gun’ Wallis’, Doddy – gag men who can keep the one liners going for hours at a time.

It is a skill learned over decades in that most unforgiving of ‘circuits, the working men’s clubs, and Pearce is the consummate professional, indulging his capacity audience with a brand of Northern humour that works well in Yorkshire but, no doubt, has more limited appeal as it travels south.

Also by Phil Hopkins...
Bradford Festival Choral – We Will Remember
Zamboanga - A Very Special Love Affair
Jools Holland To Open Scarborough Spa’s Summer Season
Writing As Your New Career – And Having Fun In The Process!
Rain Man Brings Sunshine To Leeds Grand
He was once heralded an overnight star after appearing on a talent show in the 70’s / 80’s and I remember his riposte: “yes, it’s taken me 20 years to become an overnight star.” Somehow, he became a firm favourite on the Children’s Royal Variety Performance but never quite transitioned to those levels reached by the likes of Barrymore, Lenny Henry or other contemporaries.

But, maybe that’s because his style of comedy has limits? So-called ‘modern’ comedians are less about the Englishman, Irishman, and Scotsman style – although Pearce didn’t mention any of them once – and more about situational ‘life’ comedy, raconteur style storytelling wrapped in hyperbole to produce laughs, a form of comedy that is limitless, spontaneous and of-the-moment.

When Jimmy Carr got pilloried for alleged tax avoidance, it gave him a 10 minute sketch. However, Pearce’s style cannot be as responsive because it is restricted by its ‘one liner’ format although, for that very same reason, he is a brilliant ‘put down’ man, controlling his audience more effectively than a boardroom chairman, and dealing with gobby hecklers with a skill that could only have been honed in the likes of Barnsley WMC!

Personally I find his comedy style tired – the gags from the 70’s were still in there - but I cannot but help admire the skill of a man, with just a microphone, who can entertain seamlessly from 7.30pm – 10.30pm and, for the largest part, leave those who do love him, shouting for more.

Blue? Yes. Risqué? Absolutely. But there will always be an audience for Billy Pearce and, when he finally hang up his boots, the world will be a worse place because he is one of the last bastions of political incorrectness, and someone who is still prepared to say, ‘if you don’t like me, then don’t come. Anyway, there was this gay fella………’

Pearce – Dated But The Consummate Pro, 30th June 2018, 21:01 PM