sun 23/01/2022

Comedy Reviews

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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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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