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Music: Bill Bailey

Bill Bailey is a popular British stand-up comedian and musician. He is known for his role on Black Books and appearances on QI, Never Mind the Buzzcocks (where he was a team captain for quite some time, replacing Sean Hughes), Have I Got News for You and Spaced. He has also had small parts in movies such as Hot Fuzz; The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie adaptation (as a falling sperm whale); Run, Fat Boy, Run!, and a few others. He also can be seen appearing as a trick dog obsessed father in Series 2 of Skins, and as some kind of paramilitary lumberjack in a single episode of Doctor Who.

Bailey is an incredibly talented musician, a very funny comedian who launches into non-sequiturs a lot, and he resembles an overgrown, hairy Klingon troll. But is lovable nonetheless.

Not to be confused with Ben Bailey. Or Axl Rose (who was called Bill Bailey in childhood). Or Bill Daily. Or Bill Bailey/Tumblebrutus. Or the man referred to in the song, "(Won't You Come Home) Bill Bailey".

Tropes associated with Bill Bailey:

  • 90% of Your Brain : Early in his stand-up career, Bill used to tell a joke encouraging the audience to use their untapped brain potential, otherwise Mother Nature would step in and use evolution to erode it away.
  • Alliterative Name
  • Arch-Enemy: Chris de Burgh.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: His "Scale of evil" included Hitler, Stalin and Chris de Burgh.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Parodied with his "Kraftwerk" Hokey Cokey.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: He explains the lacklustre conclusion of the Countdown theme music as the result of the performer being distracted by a bee.
  • Audience Participation: In Part Troll, Bill has the audience produce a single clap all at the same time. He notes that it sounds like a giant breaking a piece of wood in half, and goes on to mime this.
  • Audience Participation Song:
    • In "Midnight at Parliament Square", he gets the audience to provide the noises of various animals and homeless people.
    • He also has the audience join in for a few chorus' of the "Hey! ASDA!" Song, along with some film-bites of random members of the public doing the same.
    • While talking about The Killers' "All The Things That I've Done", he encourages anyone who goes to see the band and is prompted to sing "I've got soul but I'm not a soldier" to instead respond with the equally logical "I've got ham but I'm not a hamster".
    Bill: "Are they singing 'ham/hamster'?... WHY THAT BILL BAILEY!" Because that's how Brandon Flowers talks - like a 1950s villain.
  • Bald of Awesome: Mixed with long flowing hair.
  • Berserk Button: Yes, he's heard all of the "Won't You Come Home, Bill Bailey?" jokes.
    • On one episode of QI, the song was the noise his buzzer made when he pressed it. He began to get frustrated by it near the middle of the episode and started to push Alan Davies' button instead of his to ring in.
    • English footballers are starting to become something of a Berserk Button for him, by his rants about them in Tinselworm and Dandelion Mind. In the former, he contemptuously refers to them as "borderline rapists whose job it is to shepherd a bit of leather into an outdoor cupboard." And in the latter...
    A bunch of useless, turf-kicking, knuckle-dragging, monobrowed... millionaire... ILLITERATES!!!
  • Blatant Lies: Lampshaded when he discusses the composition methods of Dmitri Valenkov, who he describes as "largely fictitious".
  • Cargo Cult:
    • The crowd at the Dublin O2 began worshipping Bill's Oud. "Ooooooouuuuuuuuuuddd."
    • In a BBC interview about the Doctor Who 2011 Christmas special, Bill mentions his Twitter followers' Wild Mass Guessing about what role he's going to play. Somebody guessed he'll be playing an Ood.
  • Catch Phrase: Whenever a show is going off the rails - especially when he's confused by attempts at audience participation or hecklers - Bill will claim that "we're crossing the International Punch Line."
  • Chekhov's Skill: During his show Qualmpeddler, Bill mentions that as a young actor, he tried listing a number of bizarre skills to see if the industry papers would publish them in his profile. These included "able to dress as a beefeater playing the tuba", "good around poultry", "can perform on top of a step ladder", and "capable of imitating a Japanese accent". Later in the show, he shows a clip of him appearing in a bizarre Japanese advert where he dresses as a beefeater, passes a chicken around and plays a tuba up a step ladder.
  • Cloudcuckoolander
  • Cool Old Guy: Increasingly. Bill makes a very intentional effort to keep his material current and sincerely appeal to younger fans without seeming patronising. When not jamming to oddly awesome musical medleys or lambasting the mediocrity of the UK, he lampoons the silliness of internet culture.
  • Creator Backlash: During his stand-up, Bill says that he quit Never Mind the Buzzcocks to preserve his dignity, after finding himself (not for the first time) humming "Toxic" by Britney Spears to "some gormless indie halfwit".
  • Damned by Faint Praise: As part of his Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra, Bill quotes a passage from The Sprightly Companion which describes the sound of an oboe as 'not much inferior to the trumpet'.note 
  • Descent Into Darkness Song: An OTT Obsession Song that starts a bit depressed. Only a bit, mind you. Then it goes serenely upbeat and joyous, followed by being unbelievably angry and unhappy.
  • Genre Shift: "The Leg of Time" is prog-rock, but also has a Cockney bit.
  • Heavy Mithril: Prog rock tribute-cum-parody "The Leg of Time" strays into this territory.
  • In The Style Of: Bailey does this at least once a show, often combining it with Lyrical Dissonance.
  • Joggers Find Death: Even provides the page quote.
  • Knock Knock Joke: Defied in Bill's inner monologue, in which he responds to himself, "Don't say 'knock knock', just knock!" before going off at a tangent.
  • Medley: The Cockney Rock Medley; a selection of 1980's hits being played in the style of a cockney working men's club pianist.
  • Minsky Pickup: Bill calls it the "Basic Cockney intro" and claims that it's present in Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • Unlike the relaxing themes of US news channels, the BBC news theme "sounds like some kind of apocalyptic rave."
    • His description of the Argos catalogue.
      "The LAMINATED BOOK OF DREAMS!" "Why is it laminated?" "TO CATCH THE TEARS OF JOY!" "So many beautiful things, I cannot possess them all!"
  • Nazi Gold: Became the subject of a routine after a charity gig sponsored by a Swiss Bank explicitly asked him not to make any jokes about Nazi Gold. Never tell a comedian not to make jokes about something.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: In real life, Bill is a naturally gifted musician and highly intelligent. However, in his shows, he often portrays himself as awkward, disheveled, bumbling and somewhat dense, right before launching into a highly detailed parable about classical music and existential philosophy.
    • Can cross over the lines of Absent-Minded Professor cross Ditzy Genius at sometimes, though. There are a few tangents that come from nowhere and go somewhere, but not somewhere within the orbital perimeter of Jupiter. They just take flight and keep on going...
  • One of Us: He is a massive Star Trek fan, even going so far as to name his son Dax. Which was actually named after a childhood friend but you try telling the internet that.
  • Reality-Breaking Paradox: One of Bill's attempts at telling a joke ends with one of the characters in the joke violating Gibbs' Paradox and causing the universe to melt.
  • Stupid Statement Dance Mix: Drum 'n' Bush
  • Subliminal Seduction: The backmasking variant is parodied: one of his gags is to 'rewind' a portion of his act and throw in nonsense messages like "donkeys are aliens, donkeys are aliens."
  • Surreal Humor: very much the purveyor of surrealistic humor. A lot of his material wanders into Metaphorgotten territory, subsequently gets lost, and then decides to build a shack out of fern leaves in order to ponder the existential interpretation of the leprechaun.
  • Theme Tune: A lot of TV theme tunes are discussed and/or rendered in a different style. In addition to those mentioned elsewhere on the page, we have:
    • EastEnders, which he likens to "a wheelbarrow full of cold porridge being pushed up a plank and dumped into a skip" and gives the theme tune the lyrics "Everyone is going to die". Also played on sitar (well, on guitar with sitar-flavoured effects on the amp) in Part Troll.
    • Doctor Who in Belgian jazz style.
      Exterminez-vous! Exterminez-vous encore!
    • Panorama, played backwards by an orchestra.
    • The BBC snooker theme, which apparently gets cut short because the unplayed portion cuts into Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit.
    • The Magic Roundabout with the hidden demonic section after four hours of the normal theme-tune.
  • Theremin: Part of his standard keyboard setup, used in many of his musical routines.
  • The West Country: Bill is from Bath, Somerset. Every time the music of The Wurzels is played on Never Mind the Buzzcocks (and when they appeared), he stands and salutes them as heroes.
  • With Lyrics: He has done this for a number of instrumental TV theme tunes, perhaps most notably Mastermind: "You're ALL GOING TO DIEEEEEEEEE...DAH-DAH!"
  • Word Salad Lyrics: "The Leg of Time" has a few of these, such as "Ride a white pig to the edge of Lapland" and "Magical chanting is no crime/when you're suckled by a blind Alsatian".
    • As does the "Dandelion Mind" song.

Bad Lip ReadingMusiciansBloodhound Gang
Aziz AnsariRecorded and Stand-Up ComedyRichard Belzer

alternative title(s): Bill Bailey
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