wed 22/09/2021

Comedy Interviews

theartsdesk Q&A: Comedian Tim Minchin

Jasper Rees

Tim Minchin (b 1975) has had a year in the stratosphere that would arouse envy even in the biggest arena comedians. He has taken an orchestra on the road to play bespoke arrangements of his scabrous attacks on religion, hypocrisy and uncritical thinkers. Despite the fact that God and the Pope are regularly spotted in his gunsights, Minchin was somehow the obvious (although also highly quirky) choice to write the lyrics to the RSC stage musical version of Roald Dahl’s Matilda.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Comedian Lee Evans

Jasper Rees 'I'm a stand-up. That's what I do': Lee Evans goes back to the day job

Lee Evans (b 1964) has been doing his brand of unruly physical comedy on stage since his teens. In recent years, however, he has laid to rest the perception, held since he won the Perrier at Edinburgh in 1993, that he is an effing and blinding reincarnation of gormless Norman Wisdom. He has played Hamm in Endgame followed by Leo Bloom in The Producers and then one of the two gunmen in Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter. He surprised critics and audiences alike with the depth...

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Q&A/Gallery: Photographer Rich Hardcastle

ASH Smyth

From Edinburgh to London and back, via Tatooine and Port Talbot, Rich Hardcastle has photographed playwrights and magicians, burlesque dancers and rugby captains, and regularly adorned the covers of The Big Issue, FHM and The Sunday Times Culture section.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Actor Nicholas Parsons

Hilary Whitney Nicholas Parsons in celebratory mode on 'The  Arthur Haynes Show': 'I was taking the role of the straight man to the comedian into a different direction'

Nicholas Parsons has been an actor – he is most adamant that he is first and foremost an actor – for almost 70 years, so it’s not surprising, given the erratic nature of his profession, that he has been obliged to assume a number of alternative guises over the years from leading man to comedy sidekick to quiz master. Yet despite this, he is no chameleon. He has somehow managed to pull off the trick of being supremely adaptable whilst remaining resolutely true to himself – you’ll never catch...

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Q&A Special: Writer John Sullivan, 1946-2011

theartsdesk

Comedy writer John Sullivan has died aged 64, writes Adam Sweeting, after spending six weeks in intensive care battling viral pneumonia. The creator of several hit comedy series for the BBC, Sullivan is guaranteed immortality for his masterpiece, Only Fools and Horses, which ran from 1981 to 2002. Featuring the escapades of the wide-boy south-London brothers, Rodney and Del Boy Trotter (Nicholas Lyndhurst and David Jason), it became one of the best-loved...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Comedian Omid Djalili

Jasper Rees

Omid Djalili is a funny man with a funny provenance. There are not many stand-ups about who speak the languages of Presidents Havel and Ahmedinejad, who have played both Muslims and Jews without being either one or the other, whose CV includes stints performing Berkoff in Slovak and playing Whoopi Goldberg’s sidekick on NBC. In fact none. Djalili is by his own admission an accidental comedian. Though born (in 1965) in the United Kingdom, his Iranian roots made him an intriguing curiosity...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Comedian Ruby Wax

Jasper Rees

Misery and comedy have always been happy bedfellows. The sad clown, the stand-up who falls down offstage – we know who we’re talking about. But for all their problems, comedians don’t generally make a habit of turning medical pathology into material. Until now. Ruby Wax has crafted an entire show out of her depression. Anyone who has seen her glorious documentary interviews with Pamela Anderson and Imelda Marcos, to name a couple, might have guessed she is manic. But a depressive?

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theartsdesk Q&A: Comedian Ben Elton

Jasper Rees

Ten years ago Ben Elton (b 1959) would have needed no introduction. When still very young he became the mouth of a bolshy new generation of alternative comedians, as they were then known. Saturday Live - later Friday Night Live - was consciously modelled on the American template, and seemed very cutting edge. In fact all its alumni soon migrated to the mainstream: Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, freshly down from Cambridge, played Jeeves and Wooster.

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