When thinking about the Caird Hall, a plethora of adjectives spring to mind.
Majestic, baronial, regal. Dundee’s grandest venue, surely not fit for smutty puns and filthy innuendo?
Whether it’s to be in the firing line for the jaw-droppingly offensive gags of Roy “Chubby” Brown or to soak up Frank Skinner, the erstwhile king of lad comedy, it has always been about giving the people what they want at the Caird.
As far as long-serving manager, Susan Gillan, is concerned, it is not her role to act as the moral guardian for her customers.
“We are not here to make a judgement call on shows,” Susan said.
“The tickets go on sale and if the public want to buy tickets then that’s their choice.”
The 1990s is synonymous with Britpop, a new wave of music that formed the backbone of Cool Britannia. Stand-up comedy was not left behind as a new era dawned.
Alternative comics such as David Baddiel and Rob Newman became pin-ups, as comedy began to be feted as the “new rock and roll”.
By in large, mother-in-law jokes and wince-inducing stereotypes synonymous with Bernard Manning and working men’s clubs were starting to fade.
That brand of humour – on a more explosive level – still had appeal and thanks to a patchwork-suit wearing, goggle-clad Teesider, it hit the Caird Hall with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the back of the head.
Roy Chubby Brown, the grotesquely offensive alter-ego of Royston Vasey, began his long association with the Caird in 1996.
“Roy made his first of 14 appearances at the Caird Hall that year,” Susan said.
“So many people were asking why Roy was allowed to perform at the hall and did I know the content of his act.
“Roy returned on so many occasions up to 2009. He is a lovely guy, once he puts the suit and helmet on then he is Chubby Brown.
“A bit like a panto dame in respect of the costume but not the content of course.”
Two years prior would see the final Caird Hall appearance for a man who was arguably one of Britain’s original shock comics.
Hamsters weren’t on the menu for the late Freddie Starr when he hit the City of Discovery in 1995 and he had no appetite for obeying the police.
Susan added: “Freddie drove his car across the pedestrianised City Square right up to the east door.
“The police were on site wanting it moved but no, Freddie was not going to move the car until the end of the show.
“There was no discussion. Freddie went walk-about in the hall and found the skeleton St Andrews first aid used in their training classes and was running about with that before the show. Crazy times.”
The 90s was a golden period for comedy at the Caird Hall.
Some of the most popular funnymen of the time swaggered their way onto Dundee’s premier stage including rubber-faced Duracell bunny Lee Evans, king of deadpan Jack Dee and the future face of TV Burp, Harry Hill.
Comedy suffered a dry spell between 1989 until 1992 and although it wasn’t a stand-up show, the humour chasm was filled by a lovable drunken rogue who cemented his place as an unlikely national hero.
Crowds flocked to see the stage version of Rab C Nesbitt, a smash hit which saw Gregor Fisher come to life as Govan’s resident philosopher on the Caird’s famous floorboards.
Although not as controversial as the decade to follow, there was still some stellar comedy at the Caird in the 1980s.
The great Billy Connolly was the most regular performer while the city centre venue also witnessed shows from Starr and Brummie favourite Jasper Carrott.
But while those acts were hailed by the Dundee faithful, one of Britain’s most famous double acts didn’t enjoy the same adulation on their first stint at the Caird in 1984.
Susan said: “Cannon & Ball had to have identical furniture and lamps in each dressing room, a bit of a challenge with only receiving that demand a few weeks before the show date.
“Their broad Manchester accents proved an issue with the audience as their humour was quick-fire and you really had to pay attention to catch the line.
“Some customers were not too happy. Three years later they returned and they really did rock the hall.”