Alexei Sayle, comedian May 23, 2021

from Desert Island Discs· ·

Alexei Sayle is a comedian and writer, who began his career just over 40 years ago at the small Comedy Store venue in London, which proved a launch-pad for a new generation of comic stars. Alexei was born in Liverpool, where his parents were loyal members of the Communist Party: their politics informed almost every aspect of the family’s life, including holidays by train to eastern European countries that were then part of the Soviet bloc. He won a place at Chelsea School of Art but didn’t thrive as a painter. He began performing with a theatre troupe and - …



Alexei Sayle is a comedian and writer, who began his career just over 40 years ago at the small Comedy Store venue in London, which proved a launch-pad for a new generation of comic stars. Alexei was born in Liverpool, where his parents were loyal members of the Communist Party: their politics informed almost every aspect of the family’s life, including holidays by train to eastern European countries that were then part of the Soviet bloc. He won a place at Chelsea School of Art but didn’t thrive as a painter. He began performing with a theatre troupe and - after answering an advertisement - became the compere on the opening night of the Comedy Store. He soon found himself at the centre of a new wave of British comedy. With his tight suits and often abrasive stage presence, he enjoyed successful stand-up tours, appearances on numerous TV shows including The Young Ones, and even a novelty pop hit. He attempted to launch a career in America, but was fired from a TV series on his 40th birthday. He stepped back from stand-up and devoted himself to writing novels and short stories. More recently, he has returned to live performance, and has also created a number of comedy series for Radio 4. He lives in London with his wife Linda: they have been married for almost 50 years. DISC ONE: Volver by Carlos Gardel DISC TWO: Joe Hill by Joan Baez DISC THREE: Aviator’s March by Yevgeny Kibkalo (baritone), conducted by Alexei Kovalev DISC FOUR: Seeräuber Jenny (Pirate Jenny) by Lotte Lenya DISC FIVE: Me and Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin DISC SIX: Shipbuilding by Robert Wyatt DISC SEVEN: It Was a Good Day by Ice Cube DISC EIGHT: Bonkers by Dizzee Rascal BOOK CHOICE: The Sword of Honour Trilogy by Evelyn Waugh LUXURY ITEM: A Chinese Broadsword CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Me and Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Sarah Taylor