Kanye West’s Glastonbury performance was always going to be controversial. We thought it’d be Kanye causing the controversy, though. Instead, one of the big talking points from his headline set atop the Pyramid Stage was BBC3 comedian Lee Nelson – real name Simon Brodkin – running onstage early on in the set, causing a security scramble and forcing Kanye to restart a song. Was it funny? Err, we’ll let you decide that for yourself. But here’s how and why he did it.
NME: How do you think things went on Saturday night?
Lee Nelson: “I was up there. I was spitting lyrics with the best of them. I had the cap on backwards and the baggy trousers, my arm was moving up and down like all the big names do. I hope that I carried it off.”
“Well he did that to Taylor Swift, didn’t he? I’ve had a little bit of a crush on Taylor and I’ve been trying to impress her. I thought I’d get my own back on Kanye to get her attention. I’d get revenge on her behalf.”
What do you think she’d make of it?
“I think she’d be impressed. wouldn’t you? I know she doesn’t have a lot of blokes coming on to her so hopefully it will make me stand out from the crowd. Maybe she can write a song for me. It’s over to her now.”
So it was all for Taylor?
“I was also helping Kanye out. Quite a lot of people were thinking, I don’t want him to headline. I thought I’d offer them an alternative. I gave them a second headliner. He’s a bit of a plonker as well.”
“Well, calling your kid North is pretty funny, whichever way you slice it. I can’t talk. I did a Posh and Becks with my son, named him after where we done it, little Stairwell. Unless Kim and Kanye did it in Scunthorpe then calling their kid North is just a bit silly, isn’t it?”
How did you physically manage to get onto the stage?
“You’ve got to be in blagger mode. Walk the walk, talk the talk and get your swagger on. I felt like I should have been there. I had the attitude, that invincible walk. I boshed a load of legal highs in the toilets and just got on it. One bloke said, ‘Can I see your ID please’ and I just said, ‘I’m about to go out on the stage. I’m about to sing’ and he just let me past.”
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What happened afterwards? You didn’t last too long out there.
“Unfortunately afterwards Kanye continued singing. That was a blow for everyone. I was disappointed it was only 20 seconds as well. I thought I was doing a good job. It felt to me like Kanye was a kid who doesn’t want to share.”
Did you have a run-in with Kanye’s security afterwards?
“A few of them thought I was Eminem, which was a little bit racist. Afterwards, I was performing in the comedy tent. After I got on the Pyramid Stage I went off to the Cabaret tent. When I get there there’s two ladies doing security who said I didn’t have the right passes. I nearly got turned away from my own gig! I had to do quite a bit persuading then. Maybe those ladies should be doing security for Kanye.”
Did you spoil the performance for Kanye fans in the audience?
“If anything, they should be thanking me. He started the song again after I left. They got two of the same tune because of me.”
Did you marr the show for Kanye, do you think?
“It was just a bit of a giggle though, wasn’t it? It’s Glastonbury, mental things are meant to happen. How boring would it be if everything that was meant to happen just did?”
Was all of this for any reason? You’ve played similar pranks at a couple of football things in the past. Will we be seeing this on TV at any point?
“No. It was just a bit of a giggle really. It brings a smile to people’s faces.”
So you stand by it? You think it was funny.
“Yeah, it was a bit of a laugh. It’s Kanye West, it was just a giggle.”