mon 22/04/2024

Comedy Reviews

Ken Dodd, Richmond Theatre

Veronica Lee Ken Dodd: at 82, the brilliant comic is celebrating 55 years in show business

This is the first gig I have attended where a sign at the door states: “First act - long. Second act - even longer”. So we have been warned, and as soon as Ken Dodd takes to the stage he refers to his (by now) legendary ultra-lengthy shows. “This evening will be a test of bladder strength,” he tells us, and proceeds to entertain almost non-stop for the next four hours (he has been known to do five or six).

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Sean Lock, touring

Veronica Lee Sean Lock: he has the inspired idea of audience Battleships in his show Lockipedia

Sean Lock, as well as being an acclaimed stand-up for many years, has also written for other comics, including Bill Bailey, Lee Evans and Mark Lamarr, and his profile has risen hugely through his stints as team captain on 8 Out of 10 Cats on Channel 4 and regular guest appearances on other panel shows, including QI and Mock the Week. His fans, including me, recall with fondness his sitcom 15 Storeys High, which ran for two series on BBC TV (and which was...

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Dara O Briain, touring

Veronica Lee

What a joy to welcome Dara O Briain back into the stand-up fold. The Irishman has been away from live performance for five years because he has been busy hosting the panel show Mock the Week and mucking about in boats on various Three Men... series, both on the BBC, and writing a travelogue, Tickling the English, which is about to be released in paperback. His hunger to interact with an audience is almost palpable as he strides to the front of the stage.

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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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