The Many Faces of Baconface
Maybe you haven’t heard of the stand-up comedian Baconface before.
Baconface is a hut-dwelling recluse who for 32 years has performed the on Canadian circuit wearing a Mexican wrestling mask on which he glues fresh rashers of meat every other day.
To those in the know, he holds a legendary pedigree: “Canadian stand-up comedy’s past, and perhaps its future,” boasts the Soho Theatre’s website boasts of the meaty maskwearer Stewart Lee recently cited as a primary source of inspiration for his earliest routines.
As soon as the character steps onstage, Baconface is a sausagemeat of long pauses, looks askance, and mic-stands grasped at arm’s length – all wrapped in bacon-rind and a lumberjack shirt. Baconface confesses of himself to TimeOut.
‘I don’t wear a mask to be in a character, I wear it to hide a disfiguring injury I sustained as a younger man. The irony is, my actual face looks very similar to bacon anyway. So I’m not hiding anything. In fact, I’m using a mask, if anything, to amplify the essential notion of what I am.‘
The showopens with a long, Lee & Herring-esque send-up of seventh-day adventists, and ends with a long segment of fanciful linguistic examination of bears, shitting, and the woods. It’s refreshing, in a nostalgic sort of way.
Describing his relationship with Stewart Lee in Chortle, he says:
‘Here is a guy who to all intents and purposes is in danger of disappearing entirely up his own ass. What he got from me 25 years ago, there’s a straightforwardness about it, there’s an unpretentiousness about what I do. It cuts straight to the heart and he’s hoping that I’ll be able to bring some of that to some of the essentially self-indulgent material he now peddles to uncritical audiences. I think bringing me over, its not just an awareness of the debt he owes me when you look at his early stuff. Its also an awareness that he’s in deep trouble and looking for a way out. I’m a lifeline.‘
It’s difficult not to think of the Pueblo Clowns study to which Lee often returns in his writing – the madly made-up Mexican village jesters who use masks as a license to step outside the bounds of convention.
For Stewart Lee, Baconface has stepped outside the cult of appreciation that has built up around Lee himself in the last five, six years.
Baconface is at the Soho Theatre until Friday 14th June.
Come on down and taste the bacon! http://www.sohotheatre.com/whats-on/baconface-its-all-bacon/