The biggest gig to-date for ugly animal champions saw hundreds of people gather at Colston Hall as part of this year’s Wildscreen Festival.
Some knew what to expect, with the Ugly Animal Preservation Society (UAPS) having gained a lot of attention from the likes of celebrities such as Stephen Fry, others didn’t. Dubbed as a comedy night with a twist, it begins (and ends) with a public denunciation of the panda (cue gasps). Then the audience watches with interest as a series of comedians make their pitch for an aesthetically-challenged animal we should be working harder to protect. At the end, everyone votes and a winner is crowned
This mammoth offering of UAPS featured an interesting mix of International comedians, introduced by UAPS founder and compere Simon Watt. Simon, who used to live in Bristol, is best known – this aside – as one of the presenters on Inside Natures Giants and could easily hold up a show on his own, but this was comedic democracy in action so we just had to hear from his motley bunch of collaborators.
Starring trekky Chris Durnford, who was arguing for the complete loser that is the sloth, largely on the grounds that he and much of the audience were losers too; Elf Lyons, who wanted to reclaim the term goblin and save the goblin shark cos sharks are so cool; Bec Hill, whose moving sketches of Bob some odd looking fish were prize-winning in their own right; Sarah Bennetto, who’s case for the humble dung beetle; musical duo Bush & McClusky (who were standing in for Helen Arney), who’s genre-defying medley was making the case for the Dugong, some deep sea creature which mermaids are supposedly based on; recent TV star Sarah Pascoe, whose adorable delivery of a funny play she’d written about the ghost bat thankfully was not overshadowed by the limelight-grabbing audience member she called up on stage with her.
And Dan Schreiber, the eventual winner, who brazenly came out and declared the case for…pubic lice. An endangered species due to a rise in Brazillians, which is effectively deforestation. Snigger snigger. His courage was rewarded as the crowd voted with their cheers to save pubic lice. Yep, you heard that right. So the official Wildscreen ugly animal is the pubic louse. As pointed out by Watt, good luck spinning that one Wildscreen PR team!