The Cultivated Comedian

They call him Billy Breeze, the Cultivated Comedian. 

A joke, of course, because the guy with the monocle and the top hat, 

Who turns up sloshed at the Empire on a Friday night, 

Swears like a docker and Talks Their Language, 

Of Anaglypta wallpaper with twelve coats of paint, 

And Poundland dinners, with mystery meat. 

He’ll twirl his cane and they’ll roar at the incongruity, 

This toff from the estate who can’t hide it. 

He’s been “punched up the bracket” more times than the roughest of them, 

And can more than hold his own, even so. 

“Keep smiling, it helps the teeth to breathe,” is his catchphrase, 

Usually said before falling off the stage. 

And they recognise it, the Empire audience, 

They’ve heard similar from their Mums and Dads 

Before being turfed out into the world to make their way 

In a world so constrained they can barely stand up straight. 

He’s audacious, is Billy. He’s “cocking a snook” at the  

Posh kids they all hated in the playgrounds of their youth, 

The few you’d find in the Local Authority schools, 

The few who’d dare open their mouths, 

For fear of a knuckle sandwich or a bunch of fives. 

The kind who are now running the country 

With their Eton mates 

With their top hats and canes. 

They call him Billy Breeze, the Cultivated Comedian. 

And that’s his joke on them because the accent and the tales of 

Estate life with its concrete fence posts, and its free-roaming thugs, 

And the Friday night piss-ups with the girls screeching “I will survive” 

Until two in the morning 

Are just that. 

Cultivated. 

A tough background, a bit of tragedy, 

Is what you need these days, to get anywhere at all in the business. 

So that’s what he’s cultivated. 

They’d laugh a damn sight less 

If they saw him in the wings, sober as a judge, 

Or followed him home, 

To his mansion in Buckinghamshire. 

They’re installing the swimming pool next week. 

But that’s one joke he’ll be keeping to himself. 



Mike Hickman (@MikeHicWriter) is a writer from York, England. He has written for Off the Rock Productions (stage and audio), including 2018’s “Not So Funny Now” about Groucho Marx and Erin Fleming. He has recently been published in EllipsisZine, Dwelling Literary, Bandit Fiction, Nymphs, Flash Fiction Magazine, Brown Bag, and Safe and Sound Press. His co-written, completed six-part BBC radio sit com remains frustratingly as unproduced as it was the last time he updated this biography.

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