sun 25/08/2019

Comedy Reviews

Phil Nichol, Soho Theatre

Jasper Rees 'Don't spoil it with applause!': Phil Nichol as manic beat preacher Bobby Spade

How far is too far? That’s the question which underlies the nihilistic versifying of Bobby Spade, white-suited barfly bard, the laureate of oedipal self-loathing who swims in a miasma of misogyny. Spade is the deeply strange, deeply funny creation of Phil Nichol. In this show the no doubt decent Nichol doesn’t get a look in. Where Rich Hall brings on his alter-ego Otis Lee Crenshaw in...

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Dave Gorman, Hammersmith Apollo

Veronica Lee

Dave Gorman, it could be said, invented a genre of comedy. His reality-based documentary tales - about hunting down people with the same name or finding unique Google searches - were meticulously researched and generously illustrated; he was the king of PowerPoint. But here he has returned to his stand-up roots and while the show has a title - Sit Down, Pedal, Pedal, Stop and Stand Up- it has no central theme and is not, like those before, delivered almost as a lecture.

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Chris Addison, Bloomsbury Theatre

Veronica Lee

Keen comedy fans could never understand why Chris Addison, now 38 and marking 15 years in the business, didn’t have the breakthrough to national fame he deserved sooner. His quick, sometimes caustic but always intelligent humour played to sold-out venues at the Edinburgh Fringe each year, critics heaped praise on him and he received three prestigious Perrier award nominations.

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Rhod Gilbert, De Montfort Hall, Leicester

Veronica Lee Rhod Gilbert: contrarian even down to the invention of his latest show's title

Rhod GIlbert is, I suppose, what one would call a contrarian. Much that he comes up against in life appears to confound him and, perhaps as a consequence, a lot of things seem to go wrong (often at the same time), which causes him yet more rilement. Even the title of this show, Rhod Gilbert & The Cat That Looked Like Nicholas Lyndhurst, which I saw at the Leicester Comedy Festival, is in response to an annoying fan who brings the comic gifts of things that have been mentioned in...

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John Bishop, Artsdepot

Veronica Lee

John Bishop, who is from Liverpool, used to sell drugs for a living (insert own joke here). Actually the former sales and marketing executive for a pharmaceutical firm gets there first and makes a reference to the kids he grew up with: “Some of them ended up in the same industry, but they didn’t have Bupa.

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Marcus Brigstocke, Vaudeville Theatre

Veronica Lee Marcus Brigstocke: religionists and smug atheists get a kicking in his show

Marcus Brigstocke, like God, is everywhere. No, strike that - the star of (and I may be missing a few here) Argumental, The Now Show, I’ve Never Seen Star Wars, Giles Wemmbley-Hogg Goes Off and The Late Edition is currently performing God Collar, a show about rational atheism, so let’s drop the deity assumption. Whether God exists depends on your personal faith choices, but we know Brigstocke absolutely does exist because at any given time he is...

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Richard Herring, Leicester Square Theatre

Jasper Rees

Is it legit to joke about races and creeds and the parents of infamously abducted children? What’s the difference between Carol Thatcher using the term “golliwog” and Richard Herring doing a routine about having his iPhone stolen by a kid on a bike who is, incontrovertibly, of Afro-Caribbean ethnicity? The answer is it’s all about intention. Which is where the moustache comes in.

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Lee Mack, Winchester Theatre Royal

Veronica Lee

Maybe it’s because he’s from Lancashire, home of some of Britain’s finest comics. Maybe it’s because he is a very physical performer and just looks the part. Maybe it’s because he “has funny bones”, as several commentators have remarked. Whatever the reason for Lee Mack’s success, he is simply a very funny comedian and, that rare thing, one who makes his audiences cry with laughter.

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Bellamy's People, BBC Two

Adam Sweeting Gary Bellamy (Rhys Thomas) with his fanclub, Bellamy's Babes

Born out of the spurious Radio 4 phone-in show Down The Line, created by Fast Show veterans Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson, Bellamy’s People takes bogus broadcaster Gary Bellamy out on the road and in front of the cameras to meet his public. On Radio 4 (before being unmasked as a spoof), Bellamy was bombarded with angry listeners decrying his sexism, racism and all-round witless stupidity.

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Roy Chubby Brown, Fairfield Halls

Veronica Lee

Chances are that you have never heard of Roy “Chubby” Brown. He never performs on television, or is invited to be a guest on chat-shows or panel games, and hell would freeze over before Comic Relief would invite him to be one of their ambassadors in the developing world. And yet he constantly tours, sells DVDs by the bucketload and is one of the UK’s most successful comics.

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