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Gavin Webster - Standup Comedian

We Shall Overcome
Friday, 07 January 2011 08:14

One day on television we will return to the glory days of the 60s and 70s. We're definitely going the right way about it with the return of the old fashioned two camera sitcom. Lee Mack's Not Going Out last night was testemant to the old style of comedy with some great lines in it. It's more wordy than Miranda but just as silly and a lot of fun. Alright it's not breaking down any barriers but it's going to be remembered long after some of the 'darker' shows will be forgotten. Tramadol Nights will be a one that people will be trying to remember in pubs when boring Bob has set the question after people bring up the subject of naughty noughties comedian Frankie Boyle.

Is it more important to be remembered or is it better to be part of an intenseness for 18 months where you court fame and controversy in equal measure and the wrath of some is equalled by the wider debate about where society is going from others about the subject of you? Now I know that sounds like late night Radio 4 but to put it in a simpler way, when I first asked Kai Humphries (up and coming comedian from the North East of England) where exactly he was from, he said Cramlington. I said to him that that's got a rich recent comedy history. He smiled and when I said Ross Noble, he said aye and smiled more. When I followed it up with Hufty he glazed over and said "who?"

For those who don't know Hufty (or Hufty Rea, I think that was her surname) was on a controversial Ch.4 TV programme called The Word which ran from about 1990-1995. I think she was only on the last series but the fact that she was a baldy geordie lesbian (although I think the geordie accent was a bit put on, I suspected a hint of Whitley Bay or south Gosforth and someone trying to 'charver it up') was enough for the Daily Mail and people from Tonbridge Wells to 'gan scatty'. I don't think I'm being unkind to say that she was totally out of her depth because she'd never presented anything before and her previous experience was being a poet on the fledgling North East comedy scene. This was live telly and she was just seen missing autocues and fucking up links. It wasn't her fault, she was there for the whole idea of The Word becoming more outrageous and towards the end it was like a circus freakshow.

After The Word ended her own career pretty much ended. People like presenter Terry Christian and Mark Lamarr went on to other things because they were presenters with a CV. Also Dani Behr went on to other stuff but Hufty just became the butt of jokes and a trivia question and part of The Daily Mail summing up 'this dreadful programme'. She was exploited and the supposedly liberal libertarian programme was more like ugh look at the weird lezza, isnt' it hilarious!

Anyway I still regard her as North East comedy history. I met her once many years ago on late night Radio 5 and I thought she was ok, she wasn't rude or stroppy, she was a perfectly amiable human being. Her brief fling with fame was bigger than anything I'll ever have. For a while she was bigger, more written about, more talked about and certainly more regocnisable than Ross, Sarah, even Ant and Dec are now. But it came as quick as it went and now even people over 25 from her home town haven't got a fucking scooby who she is or was.

As I say I'll leave it up to you what kind of fame (if any) you'd want to have. But it's very rare that a Sex Pistols transcends generations. Maybe Tramadol Nights could be a watershed in comedy history but I doubt it. Speak tomorrow, cushty Terry.


Solidarity to the Northern Echo workers (I think it covers the journalists but if there's more involved solidarity to them as well). No rises fro three years and offered a derisory 2% this year. 1 of that 2% will be swallowed up by the VAT rise. As far as I'm aware the paper (or the paper's group) has had yearly profits of some £75 million. Let's hope you come out on top in this dispute, it seems where I'm standing there's a solid justification of your industrial action. Solidarity brothers and sisters.

Comments (2)add comment
written by Mr Drayton , January 07, 2011

Hufty was a real presence on the fledgling Newcastle comedy scene in the late 80's and early 90's. Alongside Mich Lorraine and tuneless agitprop fembo drips the Small t*ts, they made proudly geordie comedy and enlivened many a night at the Cabaret A-Go-Go at the Broken Doll. Of the three, Hufty stood out as she was loud, friendly and very funny. He brush with Tv stardom, whlst not the greatest of successes was well deserved and had she had tons more presence than all the prettygirl presenters. I met her recently and she's still as big a force of nature as she was when she was nowt but a bairn. Her politics are still strong and she works at the West End Womens Centre in Scotchy.

written by Rich Browning , February 05, 2011

Hufty was a mate of mine at school. She will always be a hero.

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