The elusive Banksy has paid a public tribute to the late veteran comedian Tony Allen. The graffiti artist recalled the time when Allen, a pioneer of alternative comedy in the 1970s, played a pivotal role in training the notoriously surly staff for Banksy’s infamous “Dismaland” exhibition in 2015.
Allen, often regarded as the “godfather of alternative comedy,” alongside the likes of Alexei Sayle, left a big mark on the young recruits at Banksy’s dystopian theme park. The tribute revealed that Banksy, known for his secretive persona, sought Allen’s assistance in transforming a hundred young recruits into the “most surly and incompetent employees in the history of hospitality.”
Tony Allen, who passed away at the age of 78, had a remarkable career in alternative comedy. An influential figure in the Comedy Store scene, he took over as resident MC from Alexei Sayle in 1981. Described as a “glorious free spirit and contrarian” by fellow comedian Mark Thomas, Allen’s impact on the comedy landscape was substantial, even if he didn’t achieve the same level of fame as some of his contemporaries.
In his career, Allen also made a memorable appearance in “The Young Ones” sitcom, portraying an anarchist named Fisher in the episode titled “Interesting” in 1982. His commitment to challenging audiences was evident throughout his career, with a style described as having a unique slant on the world.
Banksy Asked Allen To Have Free Reign Over His Rude Staff
Dismaland, a parody of Disney’s theme parks, drew over 150,000 visitors to Weston-super-Mare, despite its intentionally dreadful reputation. Banksy’s tribute, featured on BBC Radio 4, recounted how Allen’s unique training methods made the stewards the unexpected stars of the show. Banksy described Allen as a “born troublemaker” who embraced the challenge with gusto.
The tribute continued with Banksy sharing the unconventional recruitment process for Dismaland’s staff. The artist explained, “Dismaland was organised in strict secrecy, so in order to find the hundred or so stewards we needed, we advertised in the local paper for ‘runners and extras’ for a film shoot.” It was during these workshops in a nearby hotel that Tony Allen’s magic unfolded.
“He’d been left alone to get on with it, so come opening day we had no idea what was about to hit us. Tony delivered the most surly and incompetent employees in the history of hospitality,” Banksy revealed, highlighting the impact of Allen’s unique approach to steward training.
The Theme Park With Alternative Comedy Written All Over It
The stewards, under Allen’s guidance, embraced their roles with enthusiasm, becoming intentionally unhelpful, licking ice creams of visitors, and even refusing to acknowledge the existence of fire exits. Their antics overshadowed months of careful planning and contributions from 50 international artists, creating a buzz that spread far beyond the exhibition.
Banksy’s tribute captured the essence of Tony Allen’s influence, not just as a comedian but as a mentor who left an enduring mark on Dismaland. The unusual steward training created by Allen became a testament to his ability to infuse chaos with brilliance