'Paul O'Grady drunk is all of us drunk': Comic's New Orleans booze-up

‘Paul O’Grady drunk is literally all of us drunk’: Fans share hilarious clip of beloved late comic on New Orleans booze-up while filming 2001 series about the US

  • Fans of the late comic gushed over the video which they said was ‘amazing’
  • Paul O’Grady died unexpectedly late on Tuesday night, his husband confirmed
  • He has been remembered as a trailblazer for the LGBT+ community and drag 

Fans have shared a hilarious clip of Paul O’Grady during a booze-up in New Orleans from more than 20 years ago.

The amusing scene was shot while the comic was filming his hit 2001 travel series Paul O’Grady’s America.

In the video a friend of O’Grady is attempting to take him back to where he is staying, but he refuses to cooperate and continues drinking – leading to him stumbling, burping, unable to move and, at one point, quoting a play by Tennessee Williams.

Once sat on a short flight of steps, Paul O’Grady refused to move and denied he was still drinking alcohol

O’Grady was not exactly cooperating with his friend’s attempts to get him back to his accommodation

O’Grady died aged 67 after a series of health battles over the years, including three heart attacks and kidney failure

The clip was posted by a Twitter user, captioned: ‘Paul O’Grady drunk is literally all of us drunk’. 

Viewers loved the footage, which dates from 2001, describing it as ‘exceptional’, ‘amazing’ and ‘brilliant’. 

At the beginning of the video, O’Grady can be seen being helped to his feet by several men as he tells the camera operator: ‘Go in a couple of bars, they say. Go and have a couple of bevvies, they say. And I go and have a couple of bevvies. And what happens? They go all s***ty with me.’

Read more: How Paul O’Grady was taken to nation’s heart as foul-mouthed heavy smoker Lily Savage

O’Grady can be seen holding onto a lamppost to steady himself and is told by a friend, dressed in a red tank top, the camera crew have been looking for him ‘for hours’. Throughout the video he is seen burping, slurring and stumbling along the sidewalk. 

As they leave the venue, O’Grady says: ‘I’m very sorry if I’ve upset everybody. Look. I fell into bad company alright.’

His friend replies: ‘It’s always the same story. What has New Orleans done to you?’

‘Nothing,’ O’Grady says. ‘It’s not my fault [indistinguishable name]. You go sending me out bars…’.

As the man protests he did this, O’Grady shouts: ‘Well who did then? Somebody did.’

Later in the clip, O’Grady is seen sitting on a set of stairs whilst smoking, with one shoe off. When his friend attempts to help him put it back on, O’Grady says: ‘Is that my shoe? I don’t want a verruca!’

He is then seen coughing and continuing to drink from a plastic cup. ‘Who says I’m drinking?’ O’Grady says, when asked to stop.

He then refuses to move from the steps, saying: ‘I can’t move.’ He asks where they are going, before adding: ‘I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.’

This is a quote from Tennessee Williams’ play, which is set in New Orleans, A Streetcar Named Desire. 

At the beginning of the clip O’Grady could be seen gesturing at the camera as he said: ‘Go and have a couple of bevvies, they say’

When he was tracked down by his friend, O’Grady was told the camera crew had been looking for him ‘for hours’

He even quoted a play set in New Orleans, A Streetcar Named Desire, during his antics

The line is said by Blanche Dubois, an old Hollywood glamour-style character whose expectations fall flat after she is forced to flee her home and stay with her sister in the city.

After this surprisingly sober moment, the man eventually gets O’Grady to move by telling him he is taking him ‘home to England’. 

He adds to the camera: ‘I want to go home. I don’t like this place.

‘My fella was right… it’s full of wh***s, f****ts, and the devil’s music, and drink.’

The video was part of O’Grady’s show Paul O’Grady’s America, which saw him tour the US with a camera crew who recorded his antics.

He had previously filmed a similar series titled Paul O’Grady’s Orient. This particular clip is believed to have been filmed in New Orleans.

He rose to fame as his foul-mouthed, heavy-smoking drag persona Lily Savage, making the nation roar with laughter as he trailblazed the way for future members of the LGBT+ community to be seen on screens.

His husband Andre Portasio, who he married in 2017, announced his death in a statement released close to 3am on Wednesday.

A flood of tributes poured in from celebrities such as Lorraine Kelly and Amanda Holden, to the Queen Consort herself and politicians. 

He was last night remembered as ‘one of the greatest drag artists the UK has ever seen’ at the south London venue where he found mainstream success.

Wednesday night’s show at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern (RVT), in Vauxhall, saw a minute of raucous applause for the TV star, instead of a typical minute of silence.

He rose to fame on the nightclub circuit as the acerbic, platinum wig-wearing Lily Savage – a name believed to have been inspired by his late mother.

After touring the north of England with the character, he settled into a solo residency at the RVT, before transitioning to broadcasting and going on to host a number of popular television programmes.

On Wednesday, RVT host Michael Twaits, told a packed out audience that O’Grady had been ‘an absolute legend of the community’.

‘Today we lost one of the greatest drag artists the UK has ever seen, and it is this building, this building was where it happened,’ he said.

Paul O’Grady in the musical Annie where he played Miss Hannigan to great acclaim (right)

Paul O’Grady rose to fame as his altar ego Lily Savage, before breaking into primetime TV as himself

O’Grady has been remembered by the LGBT+ community as a trailblazer

‘Eight years of doing solo shows… and also doing shows like tonight, introducing new talent to the LGBT+ scene. Paul O’Grady was an absolute legend of the community.’

He added: ‘It was around raising up the community, and when you move from a stage like this into the mainstream, when you move into breakfast f****** television… and still stay true to yourself, stay true to your queer self, and stay true to your working class roots.’

Twaits told the audience ‘a trailblazer and a legend has left us’ before leading them in a round of applause for O’Grady.

‘Obviously a moment of silence is polite… but I don’t think a moment of silence is right. I think this is a moment to applaud, a moment to love, a moment to cheer,’ he said.

Reference to O’Grady’s time at the RVT was made earlier on Wednesday in the House of Commons, with MPs highlighting the impact of his work on the LGBT community.

Sir Chris Bryant told the House: ‘I don’t know whether the Deputy Prime Minister ever met Lily Savage or has ever spent a night out at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, but… I can take him some time if he wants to go?’

As MPs erupted in laughter, the Labour MP added: ‘Her alter ego, Paul O’Grady, campaigned acerbically and hilariously for elderly people, for care workers, against oppression of every kind.

‘Isn’t it time we in this country celebrated our naughty, hilarious drag queens and comics of every kind who inspire us to be a better and more generous nation?’

Dominic Raab, who was filling in for Rishi Sunak during Wednesday’s Prime Minister’s Questions, accidently referred to O’Grady as ‘Paul Grayson’, before correcting himself and describing him as an ‘incredible comic’.

Tributes also came from friends, fans, charity organisations, and fellow celebrities, as well as the Queen Consort.

Fellow comedian Eddie Izzard told the PA news agency that O’Grady had made life ‘easier’ for the LGBT community and his impact on ‘culture, existence and humanity’ resonated across the UK and world.

The stand-up comedian, who has come out as gender fluid, told PA: ‘The fact he was out and openly gay, was cool and everyone, everyone began to calm down, because, obviously, other people who are LGBTQ came out over the years, but he was a good part of that.

‘He was just very human … It’s great that he added so much to culture and existence and humanity in the United Kingdom, and that resonates around the world.’

Dog treats and flowers were placed outside the TV star’s farmhouse in Kent, with residents describing the well-known animal-lover as an ‘inspiring gentleman’ and a ‘wonderful man’.

O’Grady’s life-long love of animals shone through his charity work and as the presenter of ITV’s award winning show For The Love Of Dogs.

The broadcaster changed its schedule on Wednesday evening to re-air a special one-off episode of the show For The Love Of Dogs where he was joined by Camilla, during which they had marked the 160th anniversary of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.

The royal family’s official Twitter account posted an image of O’Grady with Camilla, captioned: ‘Deeply saddened to hear of the death of Paul O’Grady, who worked closely with Her Majesty in support of @Battersea-, providing lots of laughter and many waggy-tailed memories.’

In the village of Adlington where he lived, personal messages were left outside his home, one of which read: ‘Farewell Paul… and thanks for all the £PogDogs’, in reference to the show.

In a statement shared with PA, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home paid tribute to O’Grady as a ‘devoted animal lover’ and a ‘champion for the underdog’.

The organisation’s chief executive, Peter Laurie, said: ‘Battersea will forever remember Paul as a devoted animal lover with the biggest heart, who fell head over heels in love with every dog he met at our centres.

‘Paul will always be associated with Battersea and we are truly saddened to have lost such a true friend and huge part of our charity.’

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