not a member? click here to sign up
The Filth & The Fury
Comedy duo Topping & Butch hit town to promote their show Filth, which takes place during this year’s Absolut Gay Theatre Festival.
Anne Sexton, 05 May 2010
If you happened to be wandering around Dublin city centre on Tuesday 23rd March, you may have spotted a man with a naughty smile and impressively waxed eyebrows wearing a nun’s habit. This would have probably given you a clue that the man walking beside him, regally clad in inky black vestments, probably wasn’t a real priest. If you were still unsure, the phalanx of PR types following them around, and laughing, would have definitely indicated that this pair were not from the church – after all, any PR firm engaged by the Catholic Church has very little to smile about these days.
No, this was definitely not a couple of high spirited people of the cloth making a holy show of themselves, but the comedy duo Topping & Butch in town to promote their show Filth which takes place during this year’s Absolut Gay Theatre Festival.
“I did get the finger from one man,” laughs Michael Topping.
Perhaps he thought you were a real nun?
“Possibly he did. But then I thought I would get more than a finger!” he replies with a cheeky grin.
Topping & Butch’s act came about through a series of fortuitous events. Earlier in his career Michael Topping was the pianist for the drag queen Dave Lynn, while Joe Simmons earned his crust as a television researcher. The pair met, became friends, and started writing songs together for a bit of fun.
“I was in Brighton and I needed to come to London. We shared a space together and started mucking about and from that we developed a song,” explains Joe Simmons.
“We did just the one song and it worked,” says Topping.
“The crowd loved it! It wasn’t ‘Let’s do a full show’; it was more like ‘Let’s do a couple of fun bits’. It all happened very much by chance.”
“We got a booking when somebody didn’t turn up,” adds Topping.
From these humble beginnings Topping & Butch has gone on to take their brand of musical comedy, political satire and commentary around the world, including sell out shows at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival five years in a row. Their songs include subjects such as British public figures Harriet Harman, David Cameron, Susan Boyle and Lily Allen.