TRIBUTE acts are well known in pop and rock music. Abba sing again as Swede Dreams and you can virtually find a cheaper version of any star or band since Elvis Presley.

Ultimately Kylie, Guns 2 Roses, Gobbie Williams, Ultimate Madness, The Rolling Clones, The Counterfeit Beatles.

A group called Maybe Winehouse claim to be “the UK’s Number 1 Tribute to the fantastic but maybe a little troubled Amy Winehouse.” They add the all important rider: “We’re a six piece fully live band who recreate the look and sound of an Amy Winehouse concert but with a sober singer who remembers the words!” Which is useful.

But now a stranger phenomenon has been developing – tribute comedians.

I was totally unaware of this new breed of show business performers until my chum Nick saw a poster for a Peter Kay tribute act soon to appear in Gomersal.

There have been many tribute shows and plays about comedians exploring the sometimes troubled lives of some of our best loved funny men. Eric Morecambe, Charles Hawtrey, The Goons, Flanagan and Allen, Tony Hancock have all been featured. There was even a Carry On television drama about Sid James and Barbara Windsor.

But a tribute act to a live and still performing comic? Garlic bread? Cheese cake? How does that work?

Lee Lard is one of the top Kay tribute acts. His website says he uses the star’s famous characters Brian Potter and Max from Phoenix Nights and finishes his hour long “Peter Kay-style of stand up” with a version of Britain’s Got The Pop Factor.

And wait, there’s more. Other acts are performing tributes to Billy Connolly, Lee Evans, Borat, Little Britain, Chubby Brown, Tommy Cooper and Dame Edna Everage.


I can understand the appeal of a tribute band, particularly if the original is no longer playing. The enjoyment comes from the music itself and the nostalgia for times past.

But how does that work with a comedian? Presumably he cannot plagiarise the act of the original and has to do his own material “in the style of” whoever he is pretending to be. Which is weird.

What are we going to get next?

Tribute car mechanics called Quick Fit Fitters?

If these tribute comics are genuinely funny men, then why not be themselves and try to make it on their own talent and personality instead of borrowing somebody else’s?