thu 30/03/2017

Comedy Features

Victoria Wood: 'Please could you repeat the question?'

jasper Rees

Victoria Wood was a very private national treasure. Not for her the tawdry catwalk of Twitter nor the klaxon of the confessional memoir. She wasn't comfortable talking to journalists and when she found one whom she could just about trust, she stuck with them.

Read more...

Joan Rivers, 1933-2014

Fisun Güner

Age could not wither her, or so it appeared. Joan Rivers has died, aged 81. On her 80th birthday she told an interviewer she’d be celebrating with her eightieth face. Her caustic humour could leave your nerves jangling, but she was the butt of it as often as anyone was. And in the field of cosmetic surgery you could almost call her a lone pioneer, of sorts, for what other American celebrity has ever been as candid about going under the knife?

Read more...

Listed: The laughter and tears of Robin Williams

jasper Rees

Robin Williams, who has died at the age of 63, was a very American comedian. The flow of invention that erupted from inside him had an unstoppable, domineering, emetic brilliance. In chat shows, performing stand-up, and in his greatest role as a DJ entertaining the troops in Vietnam, he was a not quite human force of nature.

Read more...

theartsdesk at Latitude: Damon Albarn/Booker T Jones

Matthew Wright

Booker T Jones seduced, his delivery a river of molasses, his beaming smile so suave it was difficult to believe he was, actually, singing the blues. Damon Albarn coaxed, like a well-meaning dad who’s taken his kids on a rainy picnic (a thunderstorm engulfed the end of his set) and wants them, in spite of everything, to have a good time. Lily Allen flounced and stropped; Kelis shook her booty, looking, in a gleaming golden dress, like a queen bee instructing the drones.

Read more...

Opinion: Today's BBC would have rejected Morecambe and Wise

jasper Rees

A couple of weeks ago I was queueing to get into the BBC’s magnificently revamped HQ at Broadcasting House. Just behind me in the same queue were Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse. Their faces are craggier, their hair less confident than when the two comedians became part of the national furniture 20 years ago. And here they were, lightly joshing about the indignity of signing in to enter the offices of the national broadcaster which owes them so much.

Read more...

Mel Smith, 1952-2013

jasper Rees

Mel Smith, who has died at the age of 60, will be principally remembered as one quarter of the satirical sketch show Not the Nine O’Clock News and one half of its blokier spin-off Alas Smith and Jones. A natural and inclusive comedian, it’s less widely recalled that Smith also directed one of the most successful films in British movie history: Bean. As co-founder with Griff Rhys Jones of Talkback, he was also a pioneer in independent television production.

Read more...

theartsdesk at the London Comedy Film Festival 2013

Emma Simmonds

Proving that laughter is the only sure-fire cure for the January blues, this year's London Comedy Film Festival took place over four days from Thursday 24th to Sunday 27th January. Known commonly and affectionately as LOCO, it once again showcased the best of comedy filmmaking from around the world, lined-up alongside a range of imaginative events - a programme seemingly designed to give the most depressing month of the year a well deserved kick up the arse.

Read more...

The Glastonbury of the Mind: Hay turns 25

jasper Rees

Apart from “I did not have sex with that woman” and maybe “It’s the economy, stupid”, Bill Clinton seems never to have said anything quite as memorable. Indeed, of all the phrases with his name attached, none is quoted quite so tremulously as Clinton's description of an event that takes place annually on the border between England and Wales as May makes way for June.

Read more...

Opinion: Comedy should be taken more seriously

Norma Burke

The first ever work of literary theory was Aristotle's Poetics, which was written on two separate papyruses - one on tragedy and the other on comedy. However, at some point the second was lost and along with it our most ancient understanding of the comedy genre.

Read more...

Peter Cook Season, British Film Institute

Bruce Dessau

The death of Peter Cook on 9 January 1995 was my JFK moment. I'll never forget what I was doing when I heard the news. I was driving from London to Granada Studios in Manchester to interview comedian Caroline Aherne. At the time she was married to the New Order bass guitarist Peter Hook, so when the radio announced that Peter Cook was dead my ears did a double take.

Read more...

Pages

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

latest in today

CD: Bob Dylan - Triplicate

The baby-boomers, we are told, postpone thoughts of mortality, workaholically keeping the image of the grim reaper at bay. The rock’n’rollers...

The Wipers Times, Arts Theatre review - 'dark comedy fr...

You may be having a moment of déjà vu, as Ian Hislop and Nick Newman’s new play (which lands in the West End after a UK tour) was...

Ormisda, St George's Hanover Square

The annual London Handel Festival is dutifully working its way through every one of Handel’s operas in a cycle that will eventually take us from...

Mass Effect: Andromeda review - 'dialogue trumps visual...

The latest instalment in this massive open world sci-fi role-...

CD: The Residents - The Ghost of Hope

The Residents' famous fusion of Fred Astaire’s most dapper top hat’n’tails look with a giant eyeball head is a masterpiece of surreal imagery. The...

Anna Maxwell Martin: 'I like playing baddies' - in...

She was Lyra in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials at the National, she has shared the stage with Eileen Atkins (in Honour and...

Jonathan Biss, Milton Court

"Late Style", the theme and title of pianist Jonathan Biss's three-concert miniseries, need not be synonymous with terminal thoughts of death....

The Best Films Out Now

There are films to meet every taste in theartsdesk's guide to the best movies currently on release. In our considered opinion, any of the titles...

Harlots review - 'fun quasi-feminist costume romp'

We like to think of Georgian England as a wellspring of elegance: the Chippendale chair and the Wedgwood teapot, the landscaped vista and the...