Monday, December 21, 2009

Jack Dee trots through Beijing

It was an unlikely encounter, but the British comedian Jack Dee was spotted recently in the Chinese capital. Most Chinese of course would not have noticed the Kent born stand-up comic, but for one Brit sitting in a Beijing waiting room at a private clinic, he was immediately recognised. Dee was standing rather uncomfortably along with his female Chinese translator when eyes crossed, my informant tells me. A friendly acknowledgment was greeted with a sigh from Dee, not known for being exactly the most cheerful of characters. 

So what was the man who has battled with depression and alcohol doing in a Beijing medical facility, all be it a rather exclusive one? Apparently he had the "trots"! No doubt he'd sampled some unpalatable street food on his travels. It might have been the infamous Chinese spirit known as baijiu which was playing havoc with his guts, but for the fact Dee has tried to remain on the wagon for some months. "Are you doing a show here?" my informant inquires. "Christmas shopping," Dee explains in a tone that expressed more than a little exasperation. His three day trip had been enlightening though. The visit had given him "enough material for an entire series" he said. Little more was forthcoming from the comic, who was much more concerned with his stomach bug. 

The second edition of popular Radio 4 show "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue" will be broadcast at 6.30pm tonight [UK time]. Chaired by Jack Dee, it was recorded at the Futurist Theatre three weeks ago before his visit to the Orient. Jack Dee's deadpan delivery and moody on-stage persona make him one of Britain's best loved comedians. Much of his view of life will be revealed in his new autobiography called Thanks For Nothing. Soon after his return to Britain he told BBC Breakfast that he dislikes people who don't know how to use a knife and fork, among other things. It would be interesting to know how he got along with chopsticks while in China. As for the widespread use of 'man-bags' in Beijing, which he also despises, that must have driven him crazy.

tvnewswatch, Beijing, China

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