Paul Foot (comedian)
|Birth name||Paul Foot|
24 December 1973 |
High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire
Paul Foot (born 24 December 1973) is an English comedian. He commands a significant cult following called The Guild of Connoisseurs. Foot is known for his musings, rants, 'disturbances' and apparent aversion to pop culture. The Daily Express likened Foot to "a rare exotic bird", whilst six national newspapers including the The Independent and The Age have declared Paul to be "a comedy genius".
Foot was born and raised in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, he studied mathematics at Merton College, Oxford. It was during his studies he first started performing stand-up. As of 2011 Foot has refused to discuss his years at Oxford or former pursuits as a mathematics student. Graduating from Oxford in 1995, Foot was head-hunted by a computer software company in the run-up to the dot-com bubble, however he loathed the industry: "I had to read manuals on HTML and just write websites from scratch. None of us really knew what we were doing". He started to pursue a career in comedy by doing open mic slots at various venues, in the hope that showbusiness would allow him to meet his idol Ella Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald died a few days after this decision was made but Foot determined to continue pursuit of a career in comedy. He is openly gay. He is "a little bit vegetarian".
Foot frequently performs live, with resident slots at various London comedy clubs, and his connoisseurs sometimes demand shows in particularly obscure parts of Britain. He usually takes a show to the Edinburgh Fringe such as By The Yard (2009), Ash In The Attic (2010) (which was directed by Noel Fielding) and Words (2013).
Following Edinburgh, Foot usually tours Britain with his current show before taking it to Australia after Christmas for the Australian festival circuit. He has also given runs at Montreal Comedy festival as well as selling out at venues in Sweden.
In 2003, Foot and Russell Brand appeared in a double act at Cafe Royal. Foot's style of comedy had a strong influence on Brand who was inspired by Foot's eccentric hair, quirky mannerisms and love for florid language. In The Guardian Paul MacInnes wrote about their similarities in an article that explored the notion of "copycat comedians". Bruce Dessau made similar observations in The Standard.
Although a sector of Foot's fan base felt Brand had stolen Foot's act the two comedians have remained friends. In 2012 Russell Brand made a special appearance at one of Foot's Secret Shows and they improvised a play in which Brand played Foot and Foot played actress Angela Lansbury.
- Most Wanted (2003)
- Simple Pleasures (2004)
- Comedy For Connoisseurs (2007)
- Off The Top Of/With His Head (2008)
- By The Yard (2009)
- Ash In The Attic (2010)
- Still Life (2011)
- Kenny Larch Is Dead! (2012)
- Words (2013)
- Hovercraft Symphony in Gammon Sharp Major (2014)
Ash In The Attic
Foot's 2010 Edinburgh show Ash In The Attic was directed by comedian Noel Fielding and enjoyed two sell-out runs at London's Soho Theatre in February 2011. Ash In The Attic was then taken to Melbourne for the 2011 Melbourne International Comedy Festival as part of the official gala selection where it received a 5 star review in The Age. Australian Chortle wrote in their review that Ash In The Attic was "One of the best comedy shows ever to have been performed in Melbourne". A CD of the show was released, and can be bought from his website, standard online shops, and from Paul at tour shows. 
Foot performed eight secret London previews for his 2011 Edinburgh show Still Life before taking it to the Fringe where the show had a sell-out run at the Underbelly. Foot toured the UK in the autumn of 2011 with Still Life starting at the Soho Theatre on 26 September. Foot took Still Life to the 2012 Melbourne International Comedy Festival where he starred in the Comedy Festival Gala on Australia's Network Ten and was nominated for a Barry Award. Still Life also featured at the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal. The poster image for Still Life is an original artwork, a portrait of Foot amidst various fruits, by Victoria Brook.
Kenny Larch Is Dead
Foot's 2012 Edinburgh show was called Kenny Larch Is Dead. As ever with Foot, the show had nothing to do with the title. Following the Fringe the sell-out show toured Britain, before being taken to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The show won the Best of Fest award at the Sydney Comedy festival, and Best International Show at the Perth comedy awards.
In September 2006, Foot started a regular London-based solo variety show called Paul Foot's Comedy for Connoisseurs. The title comes from the name given to his fans, "The Guild of Paul Foot Connoisseurs", for whom Foot arranges "secret" events advertised only via his official website and mailing list. In the secret shows Foot often enters a surreal territory, taking on the personae of his own character creations such as "Penny" and "Skeleton Johnson", and sometimes improvising elaborate mini-dramas in which he plays all of the parts. Some of Foot's characters feature on his website which also has a secret page for his Guild of Connoisseurs.
Foot's television appearances in 2010 introduced a new generation to his style of comedy, leading some "Connoisseurs of The Guild of Paul Foot Connoisseurs" unable to attend Foot's Secret Shows due to this new wave of popularity with a younger, student demographic booking them out. Foot addressed this problem by organising his first "Secret Secret Show" for his longest-serving connoisseurs. The show was not advertised anywhere on his website.
Foot has appeared on numerous television shows including:
- FAQ U (Channel Four)
- Edinburgh and Beyond (Paramount Comedy Channel)
- Rob Brydon's Annually Retentive (BBC Three)
- Come Dine With Me (Channel 4)
- Richard & Judy (Channel 4)
- Never Mind the Buzzcocks (BBC Two)
- Russell & Katy Get Married (FIVE)
- Big Brother's Big Mouth (Channel 4)
- The 50 Funniest Moments of 2010 (Channel 4)
- Greatest Christmas TV Ads (FIVE)
- Melbourne International Comedy Festival All Star Supershow (Channel Ten - Australia)
- Russell Howard's Good News Extra (BBC Three)
- 8 out of 10 Cats (Channel 4)
In 2011, Foot filmed a series of TV adverts for Virgin Mobile in Australia. He helped to devise his character in the campaign called "Robin Da Hood", a bizarre fusion of medieval eccentricities and modern-day Australian urbanity. The first of these adverts featured an emergency phone conversation between Foot and head of the Virgin Group Sir Richard Branson.
In 2011, Foot was nominated for a Barry Award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. In 2012, Foot was nominated again for a Barry Award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. In 2013, Foot won the top award at the Sydney Comedy festival for Kenny Larch Is Dead, which won the best show award.
As well as secret stand-up comedy shows Foot arranges events for The Guild of Connoisseurs such as secret picnics, spoof lectures and guided tours. In July 2011 he scheduled an event at Stepney City Farm at which connoisseurs attempted to complete a 32,000 piece jigsaw puzzle.
Foot hosts competitions within the Guild too, such as an annual tie design competition and portrait painting competitions.
- The Infinite Monkey Cage (BBC Radio 4) - November 2010, May 2011
- Chequebook And Pen (BBC Radio 4) - December 2010
- The Late Show (talkSPORT) - February 2011
- The Dave Gorman Show (Absolute Radio) - June 2012 Show 119,120,121 
- "Cultural Life: Rhod Gilbert, comedian". The Independent (London). 7 January 2011.
- "Ash in the Attic". The Age (Melbourne). 6 April 2011.
- Hay, Malcolm (25 September 2006). "Paul Foot: Interview". Time Out London (Time Out Group). Retrieved 14 October 2010.
- Conchie, Peter (1 November 1997). "Comedy: Adrian Mole meets Emo Phillips". The Independent (London: Independent Print). Retrieved 14 October 2010.
- "The Twelve Funniest Comedy Acts in the World Are Revealed on NBC's Last Comic Standing" (Press release). NBC. 7 July 2008. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
- MacInnes, Paul (11 September 2009). "Stewart Lee, Jack Whitehall and the trouble with copycat comedians". The Guardian (London).
- Trueman, Matt (17 April 2012). "UK comedians lead the way at Melbourne festival". The Guardian (London).
- Trueman, Matt (13 May 2013). "Paul Foot wins Sydney Comedy festival's international award". The Guardian (London).
- Foot, Paul. "Paul Foot's Secret Shows". The Guild of Paul Foot Connoisseurs. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
- "Last Comic Standing Finalist: Paul Foot". NBC.com. NBC Universal. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
- "Paul Foot". Chortle: The UK Comedy Guide. Retrieved 14 October 2010.