Comedian Bill Bailey has invented a great new word for what he does and has called his new tour after it.
So what is a qualmpeddler? He explained: “Qualmpeddler the word is a very good illustration of what stand-up comedy is about. To peddle qualms is to reflect back at people what they may be concerned about.
“My grandmother used to use the word qualm all the time. It was a favourite word of hers. She had qualms about her scones not rising properly or qualms about nuclear war. It’s a word that can be turned to any service.”
However, he says his shows are not really about him ranting about everything that angers or worries him, although he does throw a bit of politics into the mix.
“Also there are the stupidities and insanities and absurdities in the world. I don’t see that ending any time soon.”
He says he aims to engage the audience in banter they feel comfortable to join in with, rather than picking on one unfortunate person in the crowd.
Inevitably music will play a big part in the show. That may well include religious dubstep, some folk bouzouki, Horntallica and perhaps a dub version of Downton Abbey.
Bill said: “I played a lot of music when I was a kid, I thought I’d be in a rock band or play hotel lobby music. One of these things came true. Comedy was always me trying out the idea of being a rock star without the difficult third album syndrome.”
However, he’s decided that rock-style arena tours are not for him now and don’t work well for comedy. This time he’s coming to Sheffield City Hall and not the Motorpoint, because he loves the atmosphere there.
He added: “Every gig you do something will happen from it. That’s why I think I’m pleased with the show and delighted to go and do it.
“Having gone through the whole arena thing, that’s not for me.”
Bill, who said he’s been doing comedy “since Michael McIntyre was just a twinkle in his own eye”, still loves live comedy.
“Stand-up is the thing I do. Anything else would have to be really good to make me stop doing this for a job.”
He says that great acting roles like that of Manny in much-loved TV sitcoms Black Books are a case in point. “There aren’t those parts coming through the door every day. I’ve set aside some time to focus on writing one. It isn’t going to write itself. I can order my time a bit better now, in between writing and stand-up.
“In the past I’d think up a good idea and that would go in the show.
“I’m not going to get this fantastic funny idea, let it simmer and be put in a sitcom, with seven to eight drafts of the script and three months thinking about it. By that time I’d have lost all interest in the joke, whatever it was.
“I want to get out on stage and tell it that evening. It has a kind of intimacy about it. Something happens that night that will never be repeated.”
He added: “I am very much looking forward to coming to Sheffield ever since I did a gig at the City Hall and got the full story of Def Leppard from somebody in the front row. It was fantastic.”
Bill has been seen on our screens showing his love for wildlife in shows like Bill Bailey’s Jungle Hero on BBC2. He’s a keen birdwatcher but is adamant he isn’t a twitcher.
He said: “I’m saying twitchers are obsessive. Then I look at the bookshelf here in my office and see bird books, binoculars, a digiscope… And I just looked out of the window and thought, ooh, there’s a goldfinch. But no, I don’t wear a pager on my belt and say: ‘There’s a spoonbill in Barnstaple, go, go go’!”
Twitching’s loss is comedy’s gain.
Qualmpeddler is at Sheffield City Hall on Monday (May 6) and Tuesday.