BBC RADIO 2: THE MICHAEL BALL SHOW
SUNDAY, MARCH 26, 2023
The first thing people think of when they hear the name Michael Ball is his amazing voice. But what’s the second thing? For me, it’s his laugh. This is a guy who loves to laugh. Better yet, Michael loves to make other people laugh. His radio show is sprinkled with – and sometimes dominated by – his humor. How can we not laugh at the things he says or does? Michael is flat-out funny! Making people laugh has been his modus operandi since he was a kid. It’s part of who he is. It draws people to him, whether hanging out with friends, mixing it up in social settings, posting on social media or when giving an interview. You want to be around him because you know you’ll have a good time. Which is one of the reasons his Sunday radio show draws such a large audience. Speaking of his show, here we go …
He opens with his trademark humor. “Oh, my lovelies, we’ve had an hour less sleep, but spring is here – which is why it’s rainy and cold.” He confirms he’s wet from the rain, which explains a lot.
On the Ball. First contestant is Andrew, a car-racing aficionado, something Michael says he’ll never understand. The 2 of them have some laughs, highlighting Michael’s wonderful giggle. The 2nd contestant is Andrew’s mum Karen. Michael’s laugh shows up here, too, of course. He also ‘warbles’ during this section – Don’t ask! – You’ll enjoy it. The outcome of this On-the-Ball battle is hilarious – more so than usual and not to be missed.
Orna is on location, and neither she nor Michael are happy about it. He whines about his trip into the studio and how he’s dreading getting home. Orna comes to his rescue, promising to map it out for him. Orna, please, never leave Michael’s show for something else. Michael obviously needs you. So do we.
Michael discusses last night’s Big Night of Musicals and that it comes to BBC RADIO 2 tonight. Michael then interviews David Stanley who works with the MUSIC MAN Project, where he trains children with learning disabilities to entertain. Michael talks about the love those kids had last night as they ran up onstage (and hugged Michael big time!). Michael asks if he can get involved with the kids, something he very much wants to do. This is SO Michael. There are times when he just fills my heart.
Michael’s first interview is with his old pal from HAIRSPRAY, Marisha Wallace. An American actress and singer, she’s currently starring as Miss Adelaide in GUYS AND DOLLS at the Bridge Theater in London. They’re quite wonderful together, and their laughter is soooo enchanting! GUYS AND DOLLS is a whole new concept – There’s no proscenium stage. The space is flat when you enter, NYC staples everywhere. Then the set rises in various locations, the action constantly shifting, so there are no bad seats. Musicals are experiencing a Renaissance in the theater, and there’s an abundance of them now. Three cheers for the legitimate theater thriving in the era of Netflix – when people want to snuggle at home. In closing this segment, Michael plays Marisha singing “Tomorrow.” It. Is. STUNNING! Chills upon chills.
Michael talks about the loss of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s son, Nick. He pays tribute to him and sends his love to the family. The hymn he plays in his memory brought tears to my eyes. It is such a tender moment, so obviously heartfelt for Michael.
Michael’s second guest is Tik Tok phenom Mitch Lane. With over 800,000 followers and five hundred million views, he has a debut cookbook coming out in April called FEED YOUR FAMILY FOR UNDER A FIVER. Lane, a tools salesman by trade and father of three, began sharing money-saving recipes via video during lockdown. But with costs later soaring, he continued to show his fans how to cook a meal for four for under 5 pounds. He’s self-taught and doesn’t consider himself a chef, although I think many would disagree with him. It’s a fascinating conversation, and the book sounds like it’s incredibly helpful in these trying and expensive times.
And so another show wraps, one that has had a touch of deep sorrow and a great deal of joy. May Michael’s laughter always help to dispel the clouds. His laugh comes in different forms and decibels. There’s the rat-a-tat-tat explosion of a 10-year-old, mouth open, usually an instant reaction to something someone said. It’s often found in his early interviews (particularly with Gloria Hunniford – although there are SO many). There’s the uncontrollable giggle, the one where he can’t breathe, when his voice comes out in squeaks & he’s unable to speak full words. If this one takes place on the radio, it can mean dead air until control is regained (not a SINGLE listener minds this occurrence because we can hear him in the background, struggling to muffle his laughter – which only makes US laugh harder!). There’s the “hee-hee.” This is when Michael usually shuts his eyes and scrunches his face in amusement. There’s the classic crinkling of his nose when he laughs or grins as he’s singing. I happen to love this one. And last but not least, let’s not forget his award-winning ear-to-ear smile, the one that melts most female hearts, the one that shows off his his softer side.
Michael’s laugh is one of the things people love most about him. It’s infectious, and who doesn’t love to laugh? As Charlie Chaplin said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” I don’t think Michael has wasted a single day in his entire life.
Wishing you all a Sunday of laughter, especially Michael ,,,