Hard times for axed comedian Hardeep

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By Michael MacLeod

COMEDY bad-boy Hardeep Singh-Kohli is proving a box office flop after a series of sex scandals saw him axed by telly chiefs.

The Glasgow-born comedian was first ditched by the BBC amid sleezy allegations he sexually harassed a female researcher – despite denying the claim.

He then sparked another storm by posting a list of ‘kid porn characters’ on Twitter – twisting names of top children’s favourites such as Randy Pandy and Little Jack Hornier.

Now some comedy venues across Scotland admit that they are struggling to sell tickets for his nationwide tour.

One venue said it had shifted just 17 tickets for his gigs – which start in just eight weeks time.

Hardeep, 40, previously sold out two nights during the Edinburgh Festival.

He was also picking up lucrative TV appearances on the likes of Newsnight and Question Time.

But he was dropped from his main presenting job on the BBC’s One Show during the summer.

Apology

The corporation ordered him to apologise and take six months off to “reflect on his behaviour” after the sex pest claims.

Hardeep said at the time: “I recognise I over stepped the mark and have apologised unreservedly.”

And in August he was forced to close his Twitter account after a backlash from angry fans reading his “joke” list of “porn kids’ characters.”

His managers hoped to use a tour at the end of his six month telly ban to “test the water” among fans.

The tour, titled The Nearly Naked Chef, takes in 19 venues including a homecoming show at Glasgow’s King’s Theatre as part of the Magners Comedy Festival next Spring.

Tickets have already sold out for fellow television comedians Frankie Boyle, Dara O’ Briain and Lee Mack.

However some venues have admitted they are toiling to shift briefs for Hardeep’s gigs.

17 tickets sold

A spokesperson for the Rothes Halls in Fife said: “Hardeep’s show has sold 17 so far.

“We’ve not got any of the posters yet to publicise it.

“Hopefully sales will pick up after Christmas.”

Pitlochry Theatre – which has a capacity of 544 – has only sold 73 briefs.

Head of marketing Giles Conisbee said: “We’ve sold 73 tickets so far.

“We expect his concert will sell out eventually.

“Buyers tend to fall into two categories of those who buy in advance and those who buy in the fortnight approaching the show.”

And a Falkirk Town Hall box office spokesperson said: “We can’t give exact figures but the uptake hasn’t been huge I’m afraid.”

Organisers from all the others venues confirmed that they still had tickets on sale for the remainder of his gigs, but were “reluctant” to state how many had been sold.

“testing the water”

Anna Cornelius, marketing assistant for the festival, said: “We are unable to disclose ticket sales.”

However Hardeep’s London-based manager Paul Sullivan last night admitted they chose small venues to “test the water”.

He said: “There are some small venues in there but it is Hardeep’s first ever national tour so we are testing the water a bit.

“He is in a really good place at the moment and looking forward to the tour.

“What is really edifying for him is the amount of people coming up to him in the street telling him how much they love his work.

“He has never set out to be controversial, he is just himself.”

He added: “We are pleased with the sales so far.”

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