COMEDIAN Dave Griffiths has been fighting for justice for the little man for 14 years — and it seems at last people are beginning to hear him shout.
The funny man from Peppard launched a new show with a stand-up slot at the Rowbarge in Henley’s West Street last summer. Since then it has been a sell-out at the Edinburgh Festival and has attracted the attention of a production company who are trying to raise the money to make a TV documentary. And next month, he plays at the Kenton Theatre as part of a triple bill with two other comedians.
“Things are definitely taking off,” he said. “The Rowbarge sold out, with more than 120 people, and so did a gig I did in the Unicorn in Peppard. And I have already sold about half the tickets at the Kenton, even without doing any publicity.”
His show, C U In Court, focuses on his battle with French Connection who threatened to sue him for infringement of their trademark when he did a gig in London wearing a T-shirt that read “King Cnut” on the front and “French correction” on the back.
At first, when he set the show up in a pub off the Royal Mile in Edinburgh last autumn, only a handful of people turned up to see it. But that did not deter the indomitably dogged Dave.
“You are up against 3,000 other shows, and when I wasn’t on stage I was out flyering and leafletting for six or seven hours a day,” he says. “It’s hard work and exhausting, but by the end, we were selling out and there were queues round the door. Word was getting round that it was a decent show.
“The thing is it’s not really stand-up as such, it’s more like a comedy documentary — it’s funny and informative — and it’s an hour long. Comedy clubs are usually 20 minute slots, but at Edinburgh I was able to refine what was quite a raw show, and I’ve added a projector and scenery and sound, so it needs to be set up properly.”
While in Edinburgh Dave made friends with a fellow comedian John Williams, who joins in on stage at the Kenton with his show about his autistic son, called My Son’s Not Rainman, a reference to the Hollywood film about an autistic man played by Dustin Hoffman. Dave and John have played gigs together in Soho and the Comedy Club in Clapham, among others. The pair will also be joined at the Kenton by Henley-based comedy poet Marcus Richardson.
Meanwhile, although Dave is no longer fighting French Connection on a full-time basis, he says the experience has turned him into an expert on trademark law after spending hours picking the brains of lawyers and reading law books, so that other people have turned to him for advice. And he is still passionate about fighting for ordinary people.
“Now, corporations are so far removed from people,” he says. “I tried to speak to BT this week and it took me 15 minutes to get through. It’s all, ‘Press one for this’ and ‘press one for that’ and ‘what do you want?’
“A lot of corporations are telling people to do things. ‘Make sure you pay your taxes, but we are not going to pay ours,’ for example. One person wrote a review of my show and said they liked it because they felt powerless against big corporations and it gave them hope that you could fight. If you have got a full-time job and you are trying to pay your taxes even a parking ticket that’s wrong takes time to deal with. I’m lucky that I work at night and I have no family, so I have time on my hands to fight.”
• The comedy triple bill is at the Kenton Theatre on Thursday, May 15. For tickets call the box office on (01491) 575698 or visit www. kentontheatre.co.uk