Life’s not all it’s cracked up to be, even if you’re a famous comedian who gets to tour the world like Bill Bailey.
Bill’s bringing his new show, Limboland, to Sheffield next weekend.
He said: “It’s a show which I’ve tried out in Australia and New Zealand and been knocked into shape down there. I’ve been to some new places I’ve never played and did a gig in the Northern Territories, plus Singapore and Hong Kong as well, at times of great change.
“Hong Kong was in the grip of state protests, which was quite exciting.
“The theme is that I imagine the gap between the way we imagine our lives to be and the stupid reality.
“There are a lot of stories I was telling about holidays that go disastrously wrong or recollections of times when I made a decision to turn right or left and met someone that didn’t pan out or they said something a bit odd.
“What actually happened was immeasurably more interesting than the fiction.”
Bill also talks in his show about reaching the milestone of his 50th birthday. “It was nice to pause and reflect on it a little bit and chart those strange pathways that took you where you are now.
“Now that’s it, I might as well put my feet up and watch the shopping channels and join English Heritage!”
However, that’s not what Bill will be doing any time soon. He said: “I keep thinking I’m 25. I’m doing silly dances and behave like a bit of an idiot.
“I’m doing more stuff now than I’ve been doing for years. You have to realise the things that you like doing and make time for them. I just want to make the most of every day.
“I’ve got a sense of ‘I’ve got to do this before I croak it’.”
However, that sense of urgency has its own pressures and took Bill back to his theme of the disappointments of real life as opposed to the fantasy of how you imagined things would be.
“There was a holiday I took the whole family on. The concept was to see the Northern Lights. It was disastrous.
“I had this romantic idea in my head of all of us under the Northern Lights seeing things.
“The reality is that it’s perishingly cold and cloudy, so you don’t see anything. It made me think why do we waste so much time in trying to achieve those transcendental experiences.
“All those things you’re supposed to do like swim with a dolphin as a way to somehow enhance your life, in reality it is an uncomfortable experience.
“They are big creatures, completely fast, dynamic, intimidating things.
“I didn’t gain anything from it. What was I thinking?”
Bill’s life actually sounds too full and exciting for him to linger over disappointments for too long.
In recent months he has walked the Ridgeway long-distance walk for Cancer Research and is also currently fronting the Stoptober stop smoking TV campaign.
He has been busy writing a new sketch show for the BBC, too.
Bill said: “I write a lot of stuff that never makes it into the show, lots of sketches and ideas. In a two-hour show you can only incorporate so much.
“I park it or put it in a file, thinking somewhere along the line it will come in handy.”
He’s decided to make use of some of that material for the new BBC show.
Bill said that he is also working on a stage musical that will feature giant imaginary insect-like creatures. Sounds way more scary than swimming with dolphins.
Limboland is at Sheffield City Hall on Friday October 16 and Saturday 17. Box office: http://www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk/ or call 0114 278 9789.