It’s no big deal for comedians to play sold-out arena shows these days – just look at Peter Kay and Michael McIntrye.
But it was unheard of before 1993, when Rob Newman and then comedy partner David Baddiel became the first comics to sell out Wembley Arena.
With Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis, they formed The Mary Whitehouse Experience in the 1990s, before getting their own show, Newman and Baddiel in Pieces.
It was such a success the pair went on tour – but by then the cracks were showing.
They later admitted that for part of the tour, the only time they spoke to each other was to deliver lines.
Baddiel said in an interview: “It was incredibly acrimonious. I remember people saying at the time that it was a publicity stunt, but it really wasn’t. We weren’t speaking at times, except on stage… It’s interesting in terms of fame, in that it’s quite toxic, and it certainly was in that relationship.”
Newman – now a writer as much as a comedian – was “affected by fame” and became a “difficult person to work with”, he said at the time. Baddiel went on to further fame on Fantasy Football with Frank Skinner, while Newman pretty much retreated from the limelight.
So imagine fans’ delight when Newman got back in touch with his former partner earlier this year.
In a slightly clunky tweet, he requested free tickets to Baddiel’s show about his father’s dementia (inspiring one reply of “See that freeloader? That’s you, that is”, in a nod to their catchphrase).
He said the show was “heart-warming” and “very, very funny”. It was the first time they’d been in the same room since 1993 – though Baddiel said they’d bumped into each other a few times “in various parks and streets”.
And now, they’ve been publicly reunited at the Harper Collins summer party – leading to many fans (and some fellow celebs) pinning their hopes on them getting back together.
Others said they hoped it meant they were getting back together for a one-off series – but Baddiel has previously vowed they would never work together again.
While that might dash the hopes of comedy fans, at least they’re on speaking terms.