thu 27/04/2017

Comedy Interviews

theartsdesk Q&A: Garrison Keillor

jasper Rees

It's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, and has been for the past 42 years, ever since Garrison Keillor first reported on the town's goings-on in his weekly radio show A Prairie Home Companion. Keillor's purring baritone is the gentle voice of non-coastal America, and it is picked up by 700 local public radio stations by four million listeners. But at 72, and after a health scare, Keillor is stepping down.

Read more...

10 Questions for Comedian Alexei Sayle

thomas H Green

Alexei Sayle (b 1952) first came to fame at the birth of alternative comedy, as MC at the Comedy Store in London at the dawn of the 1980s. He cemented his reputation via his recurring role in the anarchic student sitcom classic The Young Ones, as well as appearances in a number of Comic Strip Presents… films. He has written and fronted a host of sketch shows, including the Emmy Award-winning Alexei Sayle’s Stuff.

Read more...

10 Questions for Ventriloquist Nina Conti

jasper Rees

Nina Conti is a postmodern visitor from a previous era. Ventriloquism, the remarkable skill of vocal misdirection, was a staple of yesteryear’s mainstream. Its practitioners were odd men pedalling flaccid Saturday-night humour. And indeed she inherited her skill from a much older man.

Read more...

10 Questions for Harry Shearer

jasper Rees

It is the fate of political leaders to be played by actors. In the circumstances Richard Nixon hasn’t been dealt a bad hand. He has been portrayed by Anthony Hopkins in Oliver Stone’s Nixon, by Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon on stage and screen and by tall handsome Christopher Shyer in Clint Eastwood’s J Edgar. But towering over them all is Harry Shearer, who has been impersonating Tricky Dicky since Nixon was actually president.

Read more...

10 Questions for Count Arthur Strong

jasper Rees

Autumn is a season of tumbling leaves, dark afternoons and of course fatuous memoirs from people off the telly. But every so often the world is taken by surprise, less by autumn itself than by the arrival of an autobiography by a genuine star that contrives to stand aside from the hideous commercialism of the bestseller lists. Such a book is Through It All I’ve Always Laughed. Or so its author would no doubt claim.

Read more...

10 Questions for Musician & Comedian Reggie Watts

James Williams

Equal parts prodigiously talented musician, consistently funny comedian, auteur, theatre performer, free thinker and writer, Reggie Watts is nigh on impossible to pigeonhole. He is a hurricane of furious creativity operating completely in his own lane, hurtling full-speed towards Parts Unknown. Primarily known for his inimitable blend of improvisational music and comedy, each show he performs is completely original, never to be repeated.

Read more...

theartsdesk Q&A: Writers Ray Galton and Alan Simpson

jasper Rees

Is Steptoe and Son the platonic ideal of the British sitcom? Two men trapped in eternal stasis, imprisoned by class and bound together by family ties as if by hoops of steel, never to escape: it’s what half-hour comedy should be. Posterity would seem to agree, because since the sitcom ended in 1974 the two rag and bone men have never been out of work, appearing in the cinema, on stage and radio.

Read more...

theartsdesk Q&A: Comedian Rowan Atkinson

jasper Rees

The generation of alternative comedians who emerged around 30 years ago have long since elbowed their predecessors into the long grass and themselves become the establishment. Of no performer can that be said with more certainty than Rowan Atkinson. His rubbery physiognomy is instantly recognisable to billions, which is why he – or rather Mr Bean - was granted pride of place at the Opening Ceremony as guest artist with Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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...

Read more...

Pages

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

latest in today

Heal the Living, review - 'lots of emotion, not enough...

Three teenage boys meet at dawn. One of them, blonde and beautiful Simon (Gabin Verdet), jumps out of his girlfriend’s window and rides his bike...

Janina Fialkowska, Wigmore Hall

You wouldn’t guess from her name, but Janina Fialkowska isn’t actually Polish. You wouldn’t guess from her...

Obsession, Barbican review - Jude Law on serious form in Ivo...

There is a distinctive look, feel, even sound to a stage production directed by...

Doctor Atomic, BBCSO, Adams, Barbican

Bomb-dropping is the new black again in Trump's dysfunctional America. Awareness of that contributed to the crackling cloud of dynamic dread...

Chris Ofili, National Gallery

Flashes of intense colour pulse rhythmically across the piece, contrasting with delicate washes and pools of watery pigment that seem to quiver...

CD: John Mellencamp - Sad Clowns & Hillbillies

The 23rd studio album from the artist formerly known as John Cougar was originally destined to be a religious album, but the songs he and Carlene...

The Exterminating Angel, Royal Opera

"But is any of this normal?," asks poor Beatriz at the end of Act One. Of course not. She and 14 other grand creatures are crossing the space of...

Little Boy Blue review – 'the sum of all fears'

Turning the real-life murder of an 11-year-old boy into a four-part...

Caetano Veloso and Teresa Cristina, Barbican

Caetano Veloso is a unique figure in world popular music. As bright as the likes of David Byrne and Brian Eno, but also a genuine pop star,...

Decade Zero, Dave Maric, Phronesis, Engines Orchestra - prev...

Decade Zero is a new commission from acclaimed contemporary classical composer Dave Maric, receiving its world premiere this...