Having a laugh with Ricky Gervais

Wavis O'Shave with Kenny Everett.
Wavis O'Shave with Kenny Everett.

A little while ago, I told you how South Shields’ man of music, mystery and extremely long false nose fame, Wavis O’Shave, had sent a copy of his single “Katie Derham’s Bum” to the star of Strictly Come Dancing “as a talisman”.

Well, it’s been a case of so far so good for the celebrity contestant.

And lucky indeed are we, for today, Wavis (who starred on TV’s The Tube music show), shares with us some of the zaniest moments of his fun-filled, unorthodox musical career.

He starts by recalling the time he was invited to Richard Branson’s HQ.

“I was making a much-anticipated appearance at Richard Branson’s Virgin Records Company, in London,” explains Wavis.

“So I thought I’d better dress up with one of my better false noses –a corking five-footer, which I could support in the middle with a slightly amended egg whisk.

“As they were made of light-weight polystyrene, the noses were a nightmare to get in and out of cars – owing to their length, one had to be very careful.

“So there I was, with a sizeable gathering awaiting me at the company steps, and just as I was about to tentatively ease myself out of the car, my driver prematurely slammed the door shut before my hooter had made its full five-foot-safe exit, cutting it by about 90%, and leaving me with a rather pathetic remaining, and ignominiously salvaged, truncated four-incher with jagged end.”

On another occasion, Wavis remembers how: “This fella had just returned from a Butlins’ Camp, and was keen to tell us all about this great song he’d heard played there.

“What he didn’t know was it was my very own You Won’t Catch Me On The 503 recording (currently enjoying 378,000 hits on YouTube as Phunny Angry Bus Drivers). You couldn’t imagine the look on his face when he was told, ‘It’s his single’. What were the odds of that?”

Going back to 2004, and Wavis had Ricky Gervais on his radar.

“Ricky Gervais was playing a hall near where I live, so I thought it the best opportunity yet to achieve one of my ambitions – recreating a scene from the 1983 The King of Comedy Robert De Niro and Jerry Lewis movie.

“I had planned everything perfectly.

“When Gervais finished his show, he was furtively sneaked out the fire exit at the back of the venue to dodge any awaiting fans, but there I was to catch out his unsuspecting security.

“Sticking to the original script, I accosted him, firstly shouting over ‘Jerry, Jerry’ in an American accent, which must have puzzled him.

“I more or less duplicated the movie dialogue, word for word, and bunged him a disc, a compilation of some of my clips from TV’s The Tube programme, and, as in the movie, asking if he would give me an opinion.

“‘Jerry’ walked right into it, and promised he would get back to me before being hurriedly driven off to London.

“Of course, Ricky, like Jerry, never did.

“Nevertheless, mission accomplished.”

Talking of The Tube, Wavis recounts the time he upset the show’s co-host, the late Paula Yates.

“The sadly-missed, Paula Yates once called me a ‘prawn’ on live telly during The Tube. But I got my revenge by anonymously sending her 80 packets of prawn-flavoured crisps.

Another celebrity to cross Wavis’s path was the late Kenny Everett.

“We were driving in London when one of us spotted “crazy” Kenny Everett, legendary DJ, alongside us in his car.

“Natural instinct meant we would follow him, and he soon stopped at a garage for petrol.

“By the time we got out, he was returning to his car, and when he saw the three of us – all wearing very long hooters and shouting ‘Kenny, Kenny’ we thought he’d be amused. “Instead, his face was a picture, and he did a runner as we all engaged in a Benny Hill-type chase around the petrol pumps.

“During my early days I would sometimes record demos in bathrooms (great acoustics) or in a bedroom on a basic cassette: this time it was the latter.

“We were making such a racket, and my comrade’s dad was so fed up, he twice tried to switch off the electricity at the mains to thwart us – twice receiving an electric shock for his pains.

“At this point he stormed in the bedroom, and, swearing like a trooper, told us what he had tried to do, while the tape was still rolling, thus recording his outburst. “When I recorded the song in the studio, I spliced his outburst in at the precise moment he had interrupted us, so if you ever grab a copy of my first ever four-track EP and listen to Mauve Shoes Are Awful, you’ll hear him swearing on vinyl.”

Finally, back to The Tube, and an episode involving filming on the Tyne Bridge.

“Tyne Tees had secured permission from the police to allow us to throw a very convincing Wavis-lookalike dummy off the bridge so that we could edit the footage, and I could pick myself up off the ground unharmed to declare: ‘Felt Nowt!’

“Keeping a straight face, and just before we did the shoot, I took one of the producers to one side, and said I thought it would be more realistic if I threw myself off, but not to tell Geoff (Wonfor) who was the head honcho.

“A few minutes passed, and a red-faced Geoff suddenly appeared, bellowing at me: ‘If you throw yourself off this bridge ... I’ll kill you!’ Hilarious.”