tue 17/09/2019

Comedy Reviews

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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Billy Connolly, Hammersmith Apollo

Veronica Lee

It’s always interesting to ponder why some comics don’t invite critics into their shows. Billy Connolly or any other comedian has a perfect right to do so and to sell the seats that would otherwise be warmed by reviewers’ bottoms, after all. Heaven forfend the comics' families might go hungry for the loss of that revenue or that their charitable foundations would struggle to pay their tax bill without it. And.

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Comedy 2009-10: All About Taste

Veronica Lee Jonathan Ross: back on radio and television in 2009 after a three-month ban

It was all done in the worst possible taste, as the late, great Kenny Everett didn’t say: 2009 started with the fallout of the mother of a ruckus over a radio broadcast that probably three people actually heard when it went out, but more than 30,000 individuals felt they should complain about in the ensuing row. I refer, of course, to the...

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Kim Noble, Soho Theatre

Veronica Lee Kim Noble: a funny, disturbing and strikingly original show

‘'You must see this show!” “You must not go to this show!” Faced with those exhortations from friends and colleagues who had already seen (and been quite shocked by) it, I of course go to Kim Noble Will Die at the Soho Theatre. I was trepidatious because they told me it includes film of him consuming dog food, vomiting, self-harming and doing an awful lot of ejaculating - not my idea of a chucklesome evening. But Kim Noble was once half of the award-winning, darkly surreal duo...

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Pajama Men, The Last Stand to Reason, Soho Theatre

Veronica Lee Pajama Men: Mark Chavez and Shenoah Allen in the astonishingly inventive The Last Stand to Reason

It’s a rare show that has every critic reaching for the superlatives and wishing they could award six stars out of five, but Pajama Men’s The Last Stand to Reason did that at the Edinburgh Fringe earlier this year earlier this year. Pajama Men consists of Mark Chavez and Shenoah Allen, two thirtysomething men from Albuquerque, New Mexico who, in a remarkable display of vocal and physical dexterity, create a world so detailed, so fully, beautifully and comically realised that it’s...

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Eddie Izzard, Brighton Centre

Veronica Lee

Let’s be kind to Eddie Izzard. The guy has not long finished running 43 marathons in 51 days in aid of Sport Relief and the undeniably noble effort would take the puff out of anyone.

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Reginald D Hunter, Soho

Veronica Lee Reginald D Hunter: punchy exposition tempered by knowing irony

Reginald D Hunter wants us to know from the off that he will be using the “n” word in his show. A lot. Well, there’s a clue in the show’s title, The Only Apple in the Garden of Eden and Niggas, but that’s rather misleading; it’s less a description and more an in-joke from the time an earlier show’s posters (which also included it) were banned on the London Underground. So now he puts a rude word in the title of most of his shows and it pretty much indicates the Southerner’s style:...

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Comedy Showcase: Campus, Channel 4

Gerard Gilbert

Green Wing, but set in a university” is one of those useful handles that reviewers were always going to grasp when discussing Victoria Pile’s new improvised ensemble comedy, Campus, the opening try-out in Channel 4’s new Comedy Showcase season of sitcom pilots. For once, the handy nut-shell description is spot on. Campus is precisely that: Green Wing, but set in a university – and as a fan of Green Wing I should feel that that is good...

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