mon 06/07/2020

Comedy Reviews

Andy Parsons, O2 Indigo

Jasper Rees Andy Parsons: Does swearing make him too happy?

Andy Parsons can do angry, baffled, sarky. He can have a swing and hit a bullseye. Take this, Alan Sugar. Take that, Ryanair. But you wonder, is he too happy for greatness? The title of the show he’s currently touring hints at a cheery disposition. Gruntled, leaving off the negative prefix, begrudgingly suggests an essentially contented world view. So...

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Bryony Kimmings/ Shazia Mirza, Soho Theatre

Veronica Lee Bryony Kimmings: Her act includes a catchy song about words and phrases for the vagina

At first sight there seems to be little to connect these two comics - one a performance artist who spends much of her show in her underwear, the other a self-described 34-year-old virgin - who are touring with their 2010 Edinburgh Fringe shows, except that they are both currently appearing in the same studio space at the Soho Theatre in London. But having been underwhelmed after seeing their shows back to back, I see similarities - my notes contain the common scribblings “weak material” and...

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Scott Agnew, The Stand, Glasgow

Veronica Lee Scott Agnew: The 6ft 5in Glaswegian likes long stories

Scotland certainly loves its comedy. In addition to the month-long bliss that is the Edinburgh Fringe, just along the M8 Glasgow has been providing its own few weeks of fun since 2003. Their comedy festival has a very different feel to it - less of a comics’ gathering (they do one-nighters rather than residencies) and more of a busy schedule - but it’s all very enjoyable even so. Last night I saw local boy Scott Agnew, a 6ft 5in gay Glaswegian - not a phrase I have the opportunity to write...

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Ed Byrne, Touring

Veronica Lee Ed Byrne: Joke-making of the highest order

Many of you will know Ed Byrne from his appearances on BBC shows such as Mock the Week and Have I Got News For You, where his sardonic take on current affairs marks him out as a sharp-tongued and quick-witted comic. Now he’s touring with a new show, Crowd Pleaser, which I saw at the Anvil in Basingstoke; like his previous live work, it’s another well-constructed evening of smart observational comedy.

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Ruby Wax: Losing It, Menier Chocolate Factory

Veronica Lee

Ruby Wax has packed a lot into her life - writer, actor, stand-up comic, television interviewer, to name a few. But possibly her greatest professional achievement will be her work in mental health, prompted by her own experiences of depression, which has led to a BBC series about the subject and her current studies for an MSc at Oxford.

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Lenny Henry, Touring

Veronica Lee

It takes a certain something to make a roomful of white people get their funk on.

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Jimmy Carr, Orchard Theatre, Dartford

Veronica Lee

Jimmy Carr, a comedian who has more than once got into hot water over jokes that some find offensive, does a very strange thing for the encore of his latest show, Laughter Therapy - he gives a lecture cum homily on the limits of offensiveness, and how anything is permissible if the audience allows it. “I know my jokes are cruel and brutal and unacceptable,” he says. “But they have only one purpose - to make you laugh.”

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Punt & Dennis, Touring

Veronica Lee Hugh Dennis and Steve Punt: Funny, but less than the sum of their parts

Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis originally came to fame in the late 1980s as one half of the satirical sketch group The Mary Whitehouse Experience, with fellow Cambridge alumni David Baddiel and Rob Newman. Now, though, most people know them (as a double act, at least) as the lead performers in The Now Show on Radio 4.

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Jackson's Way, Touring

Kate Bassett Will Adamsdale as Chris John Jackson, a manic, self-promoting American life coach

Will Adamsdale was so sweat-drenched by the end of his character-comedy show Jackson's Way – on the night I saw it at the Soho Theatre – that you might think he had just emerged from a frantic triathlon swim. Actually, he is performing a marathon of sorts: the Jacksathon, 26 gigs in as many days in various venues across London.

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Year Out/Year In: Comedy Stands Up to Questions of Taste

Veronica Lee Offensive? Moi? Jimmy Carr, keeping it real in 2010

It was a year when comics at opposite ends of the scale - offensive or annoyingly bland - were taking up room on our television screens and selling out ever-larger arena tours. And the depressing rule of thumb (with a few honourable exceptions) that the blander the comic, the bigger the venue, held true in 2010, so thank goodness there were some terrific shows by talented performers in medium-size theatres. As it happens, the most memorable show I saw all year was in a small venue at the...

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