Bubba becomes (more) famous

Published 11:59pm Friday, November 13, 2009

Meet Sgt. Charles Bailey — or “Bubba” as he’s known around town — the Andalusia Police Department officer and new local celebrity who recently made his acting debut in a video with the Australian comedy duo “Hamish & Andy.”

It was all caught on tape and is now available to millions of viewers on YouTube. Viewers can either search for “Andalusia Hamish and Andy” or type the URL www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlFODGnrLsQ into their web browser.

Throughout the year, Hamish Blake and Andy Lee, whose adventures are featured both on the radio and on television across Australia and New Zealand, have traveled across the United States in what they call a “Caravan of Courage” trip. During that trip, they passed through states across the nation — including Alabama, where they visited Andalusia.

Their tour guide was Bubba, the 31-year-department veteran recruited by his peers to give the “two mates” (that’s Australian for “friends”) an up-close view of law enforcement, Alabama style — all with departmental approval, of course.

It’s something to watch when Bubba describes Andy, as the subject of a staged city-wide manhunt, “wearing pj’s and running like a girl.”

“They probably spent an hour or so filming it,” Bubba said. “We tried to kill two birds with one stone — get some nice shots of Andalusia and ‘rehabilitate that boy.’ He ran like a girl.”

Hamish, or “Lt. Ham” as dubbed by Bubba, rode shotgun in the patrol car and provided narration of the “chase,” which had Andy making his way through the center of town.

“We chased that boy from the front entrance of the P.D. to the square,” Bubba said. “When he took a break for a hot dog, we caught him at the corner of the courthouse.”

That’s when Andy was “taken down” and “cuffed,” Bubba said. If one pays close enough attention to the video, it’s easy to spot the “rehabilitation” process of the arrest.

“There was nothing brutal about it,” Bubba said. “I just made sure all my 280 pounds wasn’t on his chest. He was a little disturbed and worried and did bump his head when he didn’t get his way — maybe even a couple of times, but there was no police brutality.”

Before anyone gets upset at the mention of “brutality,” Bubba is quick to mention the entire event was staged for “a good laugh.” However, he won’t reveal just how much of his performance was true acting.

“Lots of people have asked about that,” he said. “They always say, ‘Never show your ace card, keep ‘em guessing,’ and that’s what I’m going to do.

“We had a great time,” he said. “They are excellent young men — very humorous. I’ve always liked comedy and it made for an interesting time. I’ve spoken Southern English all my life, so it was nice to learn a little southern Australian. But when they started talking about ‘mates’ I got kind of skittish. I am a married man, after all.

“And now that this thing has come out, well my wife is upset,” he said. “She said she now knows I have more energy than I have been portraying. That boy (Andy) — he was tall and he was fast, but I caught him. I had to drive in my patrol car to do it, but I got him.”

There is also another positive side to Bubba’s web debut — exposure. He said one out of every five Australians either listens to or watches the Hamish & Andy show, and of course countless millions can now view the clip on YouTube.

“Me and Robin Williams is what I’m hoping,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to match wits with him. Maybe it will work out.”

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