John Dowie

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Known for his comic sketches and poetry, Birmingham-born John Dowie has sparked laughter in the most stoic Englishman or woman. His repertoire includes such off-the-wall singles as "Acne, Idiot, Hitler's…
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Known for his comic sketches and poetry, Birmingham-born John Dowie has sparked laughter in the most stoic Englishman or woman. His repertoire includes such off-the-wall singles as "Acne, Idiot, Hitler's Liver" and "It's Hard to Be Egg." Having made his debut as a solo singer/songwriter at a free September 1969 pop festival at the Midland Arts Centre in Birmingham, Dowie became a regular performer on the city's thriving music scene. In addition to solo performances at folk clubs, universities, and arts centers, he showed talent as an actor, appearing in the premiere of David Edgar's musical Blood Sports. Forming a Bonzo Dog Band-inspired group, Mr. John Dowie and the Big Girl's Blouse, Dowie recorded a 1971 EP, Another Close Shave, that included his tongue-in-jowl ditty "British Tourist (I Hate the Dutch)." He subsequently collaborated with British comedienne Victoria Wood and comedy rock band Alberto y Lost Trios Paranoias, with whom he toured three times as "official" opening act. Their last outing came as a supporting act for the Police in the early '80s.

After taking a hiatus from music to recuperate from a nervous breakdown, Dowie resumed his career as a standup musical comedian. In addition to releasing the aforementioned extremely funny single "It's Hard to Be an Egg," he recorded a live album, Good Grief, at the Zap Club in Brighton, and an album, Hard to Swallow, of his comedy routines. Dowie continued to develop as a thespian as well. He starred in the title role of the London-based theater group production James Bond -- The Pants at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London and on tour. Making his directorial debut in poet/painter/playwright Heathcote Williams' 1990 show Whale Nation & Falling for a Dolphin, he wrote and performed in Take Them to the Garden and Why I Stopped Being a Stand-Up Comedian.

Beginning with his directing of Neil Innes' More Jam Tomorrow in 1992, Dowie collaborated with the former Bonzo Dog Band multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/songwriter. He wrote lyrics for Innes' melodies, starred in the Victor Spinetti-directed musical comedy Dogman, and directed Innes/Rutles' globally televised comic spoof All You Need Is Cash in 1978. Other musical comedies that Dowie has been involved with include The Joseph Story, performed as Jesus My Boy at the Apollo Theater, and Arthur Smith Sings Leonard Cohen, which he co-wrote and directed. A poet since childhood, Dowie is the author of a children's book, Poems to Read to Your Parents. A semi-regular performer on British television and radio shows, including Now and Something Else, Dowie has also hosted the radio series A World of Dowie.