The Paul Rogers Blog - Comedy stars at Hay Festival

Hereford Times: Lee Mack at the Hay Festival. Lee Mack at the Hay Festival.

AFTER watching Lee Mack at last year's Hay Festival, there was no way that I was going to miss out on him providing the laugh's again this year. And, I was not to be disappointed.

Last year, Lee promoted his autobiography, Mack the Life, which gave a thoughtful insight into the man who has become one of the country's best loved comics.

The star has come a long way from being a stable boy - when he had the opportunity to ride triple Grand National winning horse Red Rum - to starring in some of the country's most popular sitcoms.

His quick wit seen on Mock the Week and Nevermind the Buzzcocks was evident on Saturday night.

Many of the laughs centred on Lee’s geographical knowledge – or lack of it. He wrongly thought Hereford was in Wales – and became further confused when trying to work out which country Hay belonged to.

He then engaged in a series of exchanges with one unfortunate teenager over his pronunciation of Hereford, with Lee refusing to believe that his was wrong.

"Ain't we saying the same thing?" Lee kept asking.

Lee later referred to the city as "Here-forrd" much to the amusement of the packed audience.

I am a big comedy fan, so was delighted to have the opportunity to see Lee on the back of watching Al Murray perform the previous evening.

Al did a two-part gig.

The first was a talk about his fascination with the Second World War, before he later returned as his alter-ego The Pub Landlord.

It was treat to see Al in both guises.

Unlike the brash and obnoxious pub landlord, Al comes across as an intelligent and humble man.

His knowledge of the Second World War and war films was very impressive, as was the audience's, who took pleasure in pointing out some other miscast jeeps or narrative errors in films.

But, it was his alter-ego The Pub Landlord that I suspect many people came to see.

I was surprised to hear that the character has now been going for 20 years, but there was no indication that his fans were bored with the act.

The front few rows knew that there was a good chance that they were going to be heckled by Al, but some seemed to take great joy in it.

There were laughs aplenty when everyone seemed to be involved in the "lime product" business, while one poor soul had to buy Al a pint...twice.

In my opinion, the Hay Festival gets better each year and it's amazing to think of the stars it attracts.

Of course, it is famous for its authors and literary thinkers, but it's refreshing to see that there is something for everyone - with comedy clearly playing a prominent part this year.

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