East-Anglian Variety Performer Ben Langley’s Hilarious BGT Misheard Lyrics Routine

Humour is a funny thing. One person’s meat is another person’s poison. Ben Langley knows this more than most – he cut his teeth performing at Covent Garden for 15 years. Passers-by can be enthusiastic, generous supporters or, occasionally, heckling critics. Langley worked his way up to entertaining on cruise ships, supporting acts like Joe Pasquale and America’s Got Talent winner Paul Zerdin, and appearing on Treasure Champs on CBeebies. One night early in 2018, Langley had a gig in Blackpool.

After the show, Langley’s agent received an email from BGT. A talent scout had seen Langley at Blackpool and had particularly liked the misheard lyric routine. Langley was asked to do a filming of the routine in front of the BGT judges. Langley said no, thrice. He says, “I was really worried that the panel would have some really negative things to say about me and that it would affect my future bookings and career.” BGT prevailed, and less than 24 hours later, Langley auditioned in Manchester.

Since the audition was a few years back and not all Music Man readers are fans of British football, I’ll help out with the gag about the Arsenal manager – Arsene Wenger. As you saw, Langley received a great response from the audience and four yeses from the judges. Langley says the reaction was “one of the most exciting moments of my whole, entire life.” A month later, Langley was on stage at the London Palladium to see if he had made the final cut for the live rounds. He did not go through.

Another two months later, when Langley’s audition aired, there were two responses. Newspapers from The Sun to The Irish Independent to The Shropshire Star proclaimed that BGT viewers were outraged an opera singer who eats cake while singing made it through when hilarious Langley didn’t. On the other hand, The Daily Mail reported that some fans accused Langley of ripping off Peter Kay. Never mind Peter Kay, when I see the flipping of lyrics on cue cards, I think of this classic Bob Dylan footage:

Dylan’s “Man Whole” card is a great misheard lyric gag. Mishearing words is as old as language. It is the premise of the game Chinese Whispers/Broken Telephone. Also, we know that Langley’s misheard lyrics act was only an interlude in Langley’s variety show – an interlude that he was specifically persuaded to perform on BGT. So I wouldn’t jump on Langley too hard about the originality of the concept behind his BGT appearance. Some of the best gags are old gags – it all depends on the telling, the context, and the audience. Ben Langley is a warm, committed, seasoned performer. The BGT-audition live audience and judges responded enthusiastically to him. Moreover, Langley’s BGT television appearance won him many new fans, notwithstanding that it also led to criticism that his act is derivative.

You might expect Ben Langley to be miffed by his BGT experience. Not in the least. In a TikTok/X clip posted in November 2023, Ben Langley says, “When the nation saw who they put through instead of me, it went completely viral. I was the underdog. I thank my lucky stars that I did BGT, it’s opened so many doors for me. I perform my show all over the world – from Havens to Butlins, from European destinations to cruise ships, and even on TV. Loads of stuff’s happened to me since and I thank BGT for opening that up.”

To see more from this talented artist, you can subscribe to Ben Langley’s [YouTube Channel](https://www.youtube.com/@TheBenLangleyShow), follow him on [Facebook](https://www.facebook.com/benjamin.langley.75?ref=bookmarks), check out his [Instagram](https://www.instagram.com/benlan9ley07), or visit his [Website](https://www.benlangley.co.uk).

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