Paul Foot is part horse, part Princess Anne, and talking about orgies

Melbourne audiences hold considerable affection for Paul Foot’s whimsically flamboyant brand of comedy.

The British comic’s been a regular visitor to the Melbourne Comedy Festival over the last decade, picking up multiple Barry award nominations for his highly interactive stand-up shows.

Foot brings his new stand-up show, Image Conscious, to the Famous Spiegeltent this month.

“I love coming. I’m certainly used to it, but it feels very exciting,” Foot says. “I always feel excited by every place I go to and every performance. I remember years ago, maybe ten years ago, when I was doing shows in the Edinburgh festival and I would always, before going on stage, say ‘This is not a routine. This is a performance. This is the special time with me and the audience.’ I think I’ve always kept that feeling.”

Flaunting his trademark eccentric hairdo, Foot has always cut a striking figure. However, the title Image Conscious isn’t intended as a summation of the themes covered within.

“I, of course do have my image with my face, my hair, and my clothing and everything,” he says, “but the title of the show, and the picture of the show, and the content of the show are entirely independent as always.”

“There’s quite a lot of talking about the royals. There’s quite a lot of discussing the administrative and logistical arrangements for organising a suburban orgy. There’s also quite a lot of discussion of the plight of the soft-shell crab. The soft-shell crab has a lot of suffering. It’s one of the creatures that suffers most and is least mentioned. It’s the forgotten creature.”

“You get all sorts of people who want to look after horses, farm animals, donkeys, birds - but no one is gunning for the soft-shell crab. There are far too many people gunning the soft-shell crab literally and not enough people doing it figuratively.”

Foot’s comedy customarily values unpredictability and audience involvement. He maintains close contact with fans off stage as well via his fan club, the Guild of Connoisseurs.

“They receive my emails telling them of silly things that I’m thinking of,” he says. “We can go into the computer system and see where all the connoisseurs are and there’s even ones in all sorts of strange places you wouldn’t expect like Madagascar and Armenia.”

Along with the financial incentive of keeping people engaged with his comedy, Foot genuinely values interfacing with fans.

“I interact with them on social media, through the Guild of Connoisseurs, and after my shows I always meet and greet the audience. I like to have that relationship and there’s a lot of familiar faces. I’d say it’s nice to meet people, a bit like Princess Anne but much less aloof. I’m in some ways dignified, understated and quite equine by nature. If you look when I perform on stage, the legs are quite equine.”

Venue: The Famous Spiegeltent at Arts Centre Melbourne

Dates: Thursday March 28 – Sunday April 21 (bar Mondays)

Price: $31 – $38.50

Tickets here.