The first thing Bill Bailey plans to do when he reaches Sydney is get to Circular Quay and sail around the harbour eating seafood. Touted as the UK’s best-loved comedian, it’s not only the British who adore the goofy performer. Qualmpeddler will be his eighth trip to Australia and punters can look forward to trademark Bailey elements including musical mash-ups, twisted logic, some political ranting and brilliant visuals. “I always liked the word qualm,” he explains during a phone chat from Bali. “My grandmother used to say it a lot. You can have qualms about an apple turnover coming out of the oven or a nuclear war – it’s a very flexible word.” When it comes to naming his show, the star of cult TV series Black Books enjoys constructing a new word. “A qualmpeddler is someone who is full of anxiety. It’s like a worrymonger and I think it’s a good euphemism for a stand-up comedian.” But surely Bailey has nothing to worry about? His show has received rave reviews and he has spent the last month travelling through Asia. But the actor/musician has a litany of modern-day qualms. “The state of Europe,” he says. “The ongoing economic recession we’re plunging head in to; the increasingly volatile and unpredictable world; and we seem to have a government in the UK that is utterly incapable of doing anything about it.” It might sound like a bit of a downer, but Bailey’s passion and intellect results in him effortlessly combining politics and humour in a way that works. “Audiences can expect physics, behavioural psychology, a bit of the Chinese language from my trip and more,” he continues. “All things that seem quite complicated but I have no qualms about that,” he says laughing. And neither do we.
Sep 5-19, State Theatre, 49 Market Street, Sydney, $79-89, 136100, ticketmaster.com.au