Leicester Comedy Festival: Jack Dee - is he your Legend of Comedy?
When the Mercury caught up with Jack Dee before his comedy festival gig 16 years ago he was, unsurprisingly, less than cheery.
Gearing up for a gig at De Montfort Hall, he said that, while he was pleased to be part of the Leicester Comedy Festival, he was a bit dubious about the event.
He told reporter Mike Polanyk: "I must admit I have never been entirely happy about the whole concept.
"I've always felt that the reason for some of the festivals has been a commercial link-up. You know, promote beer first and comedy second."
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Not round here, Jack, thank you very much. And rather an ironic comment for someone who went on to front adverts for John Smiths bitter. But we won't hold it against him.
Jack is in the running for our first Legend of Comedy award – a search launched to celebrate 20 years of the festival.
We never did review his gig that year – perhaps we were off watching someone more jolly – and Jack took a four-year break from stand-up.
But he returned in 2001 with a set full of cutting one-liners and some harsh put-downs.
Reviewer Tim Hall reckoned it was worth the wait.
"Jack Dee has not toured as a stand-up for years – but you could not tell on this performance," he wrote.
"He opens by trying to get a sell-out De Montfort crowd onside by referring to Leicester as the city of crisps: 'bet that makes you proud in the morning'."
Computers, the internet and people who moan about the NHS were Jack's main gripes.
"For almost two hours the jokes flow as smoothly as the bitter he fronts and the laughs come with a regularity to which every stand-up aspires," said our reviewer.
"Live comedy has missed Jack Dee as much as he appears to have missed it."
Jack is one of 20 comedians chosen by us who have performed at Leicester Comedy Festival. We want you to vote for the one you think most deserves the title Legend of Comedy.
The comedian with the most online and postal votes by the end of the festival will be crowned the winner.
The award will be presented to the winner – or, if Sir Norman Wisdom takes the award, to his family – in March.
A plaque naming the winner will be displayed in the Y Theatre, in East Street, Leicester.
To vote, see the panel below.
Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival runs until February 24.