Christian Jégard: Mr. Showbusiness @ Bleach, Brighton, UK, May 22, 2024 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, June 25th, 2024  

Christian Jégard

Christian Jégard: Mr. Showbusiness @ Bleach, Brighton, UK, May 22, 2024,

May 29, 2024 Web Exclusive
Bookmark and Share


The Brighton Fringe is always stacked with quality shows. Sometimes there is too much going on its hard to know what to see. If you enjoy character-based comedy, then Christian Jégard’s “Mr Showbusiness” is for you.

Mr. Showbusiness is the alter ego of Christian Jégard. Over the years Jégard has turned his hand to most things He was the lead singer in The Valentines, who supported both Babyshambles and The Libertines, he’s been featured on both BBC radio and television AND most impressively in the Beano… That’s real showbusiness. The character feels like a light entertainment character of old but with a few obsidian twists. When he says “If you are crying when you ask your postman in for a drink, he will say no ‘’ is funny but there is something darker just lurking below the surface.

The show began with a short video of Mr. Showbusiness walking through a pub to the green room. There he meets Paul, the booker for the night who is played by Jégard, who tries to tell Mr. Showbusiness that he has three minutes until his show. Mr. Showbusiness isn’t listening and tells Paul his life story. After being spotted by a talent agent, also played by Jégard, swivelling his hips and flipping his hands over (trust me its comedic gold in the flesh), he lands a role in a period drama. After a lengthy monologue from the female lead, Jégard delivers the swivelling hips and hand flips. Then he has a job as a DJ on a Gregorian chant radio station. These three jokes set up the show for the packed audience. They are surreal, expertly delivered and incredibly funny. The video clip ends with Mr. Showbusiness leaving the green room and heading to the stage. Then he appears in a suit that has seen better days, frilly shirt, untied bowtie around his neck and cummerbund. He looks the part of a failed light entertainer from the 70s or 80s.

After Mr. Showbusiness hits the stage, the jokes come thick and fast. “I’ve had a lot of disappointments. I’ve only met two monkeys in my life, and neither of them were cheeky… just aggressive”, “When I was a kid, I saw the Clint Eastwood film Every Which Way But Loose, a film about a prize fighter driving around with an orangutan. And I wanted to be an orangutan. Later I saw Indiana Jones and saw him being an archaeologist and beating the baddies and I wanted to be an orangutan”, “I’m autistic. People think we’re all really good at maths. That’s not true… People think we can bite through metal, again, not true… We CAN communicate with the dead though, that one is true ‘’ and “Facts! Brighton forgets everything you know about industrial copper fibre and disregards it from your mind, because Copper fibre doesn’t contain any copper, it’s just copper coloured. Also, my wife left…”.

One of the many highlights of the show was when Jégard opened his suit jacket randomly and displayed a selection of fake moustaches, then moments later he showed the other side of his jacket and displayed fake eyebrows. There was no build up and they weren’t mentioned again. Its moments like this were a delight. There was no reason for it, and it meant nothing but a laugh, in the wider arc of the show, but it worked so well and got one of the biggest laughs of the night. And this is what Mr. Showbusiness does. It offers you laughs for the sake of laughs. Yes, Jégard has crafted a tight show, despite this being a work in progress its all there and it all works. Yes, a few bits could have been tighter, or the timing might have been better and only once did a punchline delivery need to be tighter, but to just do something funny for the sake of a cheap laugh was a delight to see. Sometimes comedians, especially new ones, feel everything needs to have a deeper point. But it doesn’t. Just be funny and the audience will love it. We did.

In between the jokes Jégard leans back into his musical past, delivering three hilarious songs. One a ballad about his “Bad times”, a second to the backing track of Nina Simone’s “My Baby Just Cares For Me”, with a ventriloquist dummy called Jean Paul and the show’s closer “Bedsit Party”. Jégard sings about the pain of having a party in a bedsit/studio flat where you have no room for guests, dancing, twister, karaoke or romance. Its something most of us can relate to and the backing track, delivery and gyrating on stage was hilarious. After that Jégard ended the show with a live version of his swivelling his hips and flipping his hands over from the opening. It was a nice throwback and one that the crowd appreciated. Its forward planning jokes like this that made the set a delight.

Mr. Showbusiness is a blast. The show works best when the lines of reality and fiction are blurred, and you are questioning if what Jégard is saying is actually real. Was he really in the lowest sets of maths at school? Did he want to grow up to be an orangutan when he was a kid? Has he been evicted from this bedsit and is now living in his car? The truth isn’t important, but I do hope he’s not living in a car. What is important is that when we question these things he has us where he wants us. There are parts of the show that reminded me of Tommy Cooper, Jonathan Furst’s Lenny Beige and Alexei Sayle’s Bobby Chariot. I could definitely imagine Cooper delivering the “I’ve only met two monkeys, and neither of them were cheeky” line. But what separates Mr. Showbusiness from Bobby Chariot and, to a degree, Lenny Beige is despite his life not turning out the way he hoped Mr. Showbusiness hasn’t given up. He’s still trying to make it and stay positive. You might not want to spend a lot of time with Mr. Showbusiness in the real world, but he’s hard not to like. And neither is Jégard. He is charismatic, charming, awkward, a bit of a goon but incredibly funny. If you want showbusiness, this is it.




Comments

Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published

URL

Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

There are no comments for this entry yet.