I lived the dream at The Phil.
Andre Vincent was born May 1964 in Woolworth's Department Store Penge, and has not stopped appearing in the most unusual of places since.
He started his career as a professional show-off at an early age, becoming a star struck stage brat, working when any theatre company needed a street urchin, a herald or a small child to up-stage everyone. He then became a boy chorister, to the delight of his family whose dream was for him to follow his grandma into the world of opera and become a top class tenor.
Unfortunately for his family he followed the career path of another relative, his great-grandfather, who was an acrobat on the olde variety stage. So when young Andre stopped singing, due to his voice breaking, he went back to the boards and spent most of his time there arguing with theatre directors that Hamlet could indeed be fat. Disheartened by this small-mindedness, he packed up his greasepaint and ran away to the circus.
After a quick stint of training in Paris and with a backpack full of equipment, Andre started travelling the world entertaining the masses at circus and theatre festivals everywhere. With skills in abundance and his unique style of improvisation, he has performed in strange places from a bullring in Columbia to a baseball stadium in Nova Scotia to Vietnamese refugee camps in the South China Sea.
With all this moving about, Andre had to think about where his career was going when he found himself working at Disney World Florida at the end of ë88. Mask work and regimented smiling were really not his forte. A friend tried to change his sad demeanour by taking him to a comedy club in Orlando and three hours later a new chapter opened in his life. He kept returning to the club, speaking to comics and schmoozing the management, and within a few months he was on the road compering at small stand-up clubs in the southern states of America.
His apprenticeship in Georgia and Alabama was good enough in the eyes of his peers to get gigs in other states of the U.S. and the pinnacle of this work was opening for Bob Hope in Columbus, Ohio in 1992.
With his head swelling and his tongue tripping one-liners, he returned home to conquer the comedy circuit of the U.K., and in no time at all established himself as one of the top stand-ups in the country today. His individual style has taken him across the scope of the performance medium: a Saturday night show on Channel 4, three sell-out runs at the Edinburgh festival, countless radio shows, presenter of two award-nominated television programmes, a regular face on daytime panel games and even an appearance as himself on the children's drama 'Byker Grove'.
Moments treasured in André's career so far include:
Playing himself in 'Byker Grove'
Singing 'Ooh Ah Just A Little Bit' on TV with Miss UK
Teaching Cliff Richard to unicycle
Performing at a Vietnamese refugee camp in the South China Sea (booked by the Chinese Government)
Opening for Bob Hope (Bing Crosby spins in his grave even now...)
'Andre Vincent - Hurrah for Cancer' (BBC3)
'The Late Edition (BBC3) 'Big City' (Central)
'The Orpheum Comics (CBC) 'The Comedy Factory (Nederland's TV)
'I Want 2 B TV (BBC3) '101 Greatest Musicals (CH4)
'History of Offensive Humour' (CH4) 'A Day In the Garden' (CH4)
'The Show' (CH4) 'Sunday Night With The Comics (Fox)
'Breakfast TV' (BBC1) 'All Over The Shop' (BBC1)
'You Must Be Joking' (ITV) 'First Night' (ITV)
'Bodger and Badger' (BBC1) 'The Basement' (Bravo)
'Harry Hill's Fruit Fancies' (BBC2) 'Edinburgh Nights' (ITV)
'Lee Evans Christmas Special' (ITV) 'The Comedy Store' (CH 5)
Beijing Arts Festival China
Toronto Vaudeville Festival x2 Winter Olympics - Calgary
Bogotá Festival - Columbia Ameriflora - USA
Edinburgh Fringe Festival x9 Colombo Festival - Sri Lanka
Melbourne Comedy Festival Montreal Comedy Festival
"An improvising comedy genius" - The Guardian
"He possesses the energy of Lee Evans with the improvisational Skills of Paul Merton and is one of the best comedians in the business." - The Times
"Ferociously funny" - The Sunday Times
"This guy should be on prime time telly" - Chortle.co.uk
"André Vincent was also there" - The Chinese People's Press