Banksy wrote a tribute to pioneering comedian Tony Allen

Banksy has written a rare statement in memory of the late comedian and “born troublemaker” Tony Allen.

The secretive artist usually lets his photos do the talking, but wrote his tribute to Allen for BBC Radio 4’s obituary programme, Last Word.

Allen, one of the founders of the alternative comedy movement in the 1970s, died in early December.

Banksy asked him to train surly waiters at his dystopian theme park in Weston-super-Mare in 2015.

“Dismaland was organized in such secrecy that in order to find the hundred or so undertakers we needed, we advertised in the local newspaper for ‘runners and extras’ for the film shoot,” Banksy recalled in a statement.

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“I was worried that when these young people found out they weren’t on set and had to interact with the public all day, they might be a little scared. So I asked Tony to come in and host some basic confidence-building and skills-honing workshops their stewardship. This was basically a pretty boring corporate job for him.

“After all, Tony Allen was a born troublemaker. He saw the name of the event and for three days in a nearby hotel conference room, he trained teenagers in his own image.

“He was left alone to get on with his work, so on opening day we didn’t know what was going to hit us. Tony gave birth to the most dour, incompetent employee in the history of hospitality.

“They were really sad, unable or even unwilling to show the fire exits. They ignore any requests for information, they blow up balloons they are trying to sell, they throw pennies on the floor, they even go after random members. people and lick their ice cream.

“Tony had instilled in them that they should never break character, even when talking to management. Our head of production lost his mind and threatened to quit. The board and police were unimpressed and called a meeting.

“But by the end of the first day, it was clear that the organizers were a huge success. They became the most talked about part of the event, overshadowing six months of my hard work and the efforts of the 50 international artists invited.

“I have to hand it to him, Tony Allen really knows how to take Mickey.”

The deliberately sombre Dismaland, featuring works by Banksy and other artists he selected, ran at a former outdoor swimming bath in the seaside town of Somerset for five weeks.