sun 17/11/2019

Comedy Reviews

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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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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