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Do. It will transport you to another place.

[descriptionshort] =>

Ruby Lawrence talks to writer, comedian, political activist and theatre practitioner Mark Thomas about Cuckooed, politics, good music and Russell Brand.

[movie] => [publication_date] => 2014-11-17 [publication_date1] => 17th November 2014 [publication_time] => 09:25:00 [tags] => interview, comedy, politics [meta_keywords] => mark thomas, josie long, russell brand's revolution, kobane, Kerim Yildiz, Kerim Yildiz, mark thomas comedian [meta_description] => Ruby Lawrence talks to writer, comedian, political activist and theatre practitioner Mark Thomas about Cuckooed, politics, good music and Russell Brand. [createtime] => 2014-11-17 [lastactiontime] => 2015-06-17 13:53:55 [user_name] => Ruby Lawrence [desc1] => Ruby Lawrence talks to writer, comedian, political activist and theatre practitioner Mark Thomas about Cuckooed, politics, good music and Russell Brand. [desc2] => Ruby Lawrence talks to writer, comedian, political activist and theatre practitioner Mark Thoma [comments] => 0 [cat] => Array ( [name] => In Depth [news_categoryid] => 40 [parentid] => 1 [link] => In_Depth/ ) [link] => In_Depth/2014-11-17/Interview_Mark_Thomas.html [picture] => admin/images/basic/min/13977_300_200.jpg [picture1] => admin/images/basic/min/13977_120_90.jpg [picture3] => http://www.thenationalstudent.com/admin/images/basic/13977.jpg ) [9876] => Array ( [newsid] => 9876 [position] => 0 [score] => 3 [state] => 3 [visits] => 2239 [news_categoryid] => ,22, [universityid] => 205 [userid] => 1124 [userid1] => 0 [ban_main] => 0 [ban_cat] => 0 [main_page] => 0 [title] => Comedy Review: Katherine Ryan at the Nuffield Theatre [urltitle] => Comedy/2014-10-28/Comedy_Review_Katherine_Ryan_at_the_Nuffield_Theatre.html [alternate_title] => Comedy Review: Katherine Ryan at the Nuffield Theatre (26/10/2014) [description] =>

The Nuffield Theatre’s comedy line up this year is stunning, and what better way to dive right into it than an evening with the tour-de-force that is panel show legend, Katherine Ryan.

KRSupport for her headline show, titled Glam Role Model, came in the form of the hotly tipped Dane Baptiste. His style of observational comedy is exactly what comedy audiences crave. This is the sort of comedy that is bang on trend and Baptiste does it in such as way that his calm disposition could be interpreted as a lack of passion. However, as he warmed up in the set,  it was evident that this was his style, so jokes about the KKK and self-deprecating jipes about being black come across in a deadpan style that you couldn’t help but laugh at. Baptiste’s set ranged from the jokes about being in the friend-zone (face it, we’ve all been there) right up to jokes about the Ozone layer.

His wit and on-point references when talking about the perception of men in society were so playful and ironic that it blew out of the water things such as sexism and lad culture that are so rife in society. By mocking these perceptions he in fact highlighted the ridiculousness of gender stereotypes in the way a lot of comedians fail to achieve. The crowd at the Nuffield weren’t roaring with laughter but they weren’t sat in awkward silence either, so all in all, a solid warm up for the main act.

After a short interval, the lights dim and on a voiceover introduced the next act. This is no ordinary voice over however, this is Katherine Ryan’s ‘flatmate’ and best friend, her adorable five year-old daughter. Rounding up the intro and introducing her mum ‘the strong, independent black woman, Katherine Ryan!’ the show begins. Ryan’s already critically acclaimed; Glam Role Model set is not one to be missed and is in fact one of the best comedy shows I have been to at  at the Nuffield. Not only is her humour exactly my cup of tea (outrageously near-the-knuckle), her charisma and delivery makes watching her the complete entertainment package.

She begins by addressing her situation as a single-mum, but instead of asking for sympathy this soon turns into a hilarious sketch about how she can’t quite believe she once ‘shot this five year old English person out of her vag.’ In her set Ryan attempts an array of accents, and being a Canadian immigrant now living in England, this was one of the highlights throughout the set. Her attempt at impersonating Cheryl Cole’s Geordie slur was one of the funniest sketches I’ve witnessed in a long time, this along with her uncanny impersonation of an essex-born Glamour model got the audience in stitches.

In general her acute awareness of the ridiculousness of celebrity culture is a breath of fresh air in the Heat-reading, X-Factor watching world we live in. She dubs celebrity a ‘religion’ which makes the audience aware of the message behind her stand-up routine. Yep, picking on celebrities can be seen as cheap shots, but the way that Ryan intelligently critiques the celebrity sphere is something people often shy away from. Her ruthless attitude when calling Beliebers ‘cunts’ without a blink of her eye summarise what her show is about. Turning to the audience when they ‘ooh’ at the drop of a C-Bomb is countered with a ‘really?!’ attitude when she can see it is what everyone in the room is really thinking. Ryan’s personal anecdotes are where she shines the brightest, from fallings out with Tulisa, to discovering her boyfriend was cheating on her with a glamour model, these straight-talking analyses of situations, and her no bullshit attitude, make the show hilariously brilliant.

Ryan has been touring Glam Role Model since the summer but has kept her show bang up to date with topical references. For example, she has incorporated recent newsical activities such as the Oscar Pistorius trail right through to the Jennifer Lawrence-iCloud scandal - in fact her remedy to the latter is a call of arms for everyone to leak their sex pictures online before the hackers get to them first. Her discussion of sexulaity is one that is so on-point that you will find yourself vigorously nodding in between the laughter at Ryan’s observations of society. The way in which she compares the slut-shaming of Tulisa and that infamous sex tape, to the contrasting treatment of Jennifer Lawrence’s nudes leaking, is a perfect example she uses when critiquing our the class system here in the UK.

As well as addressing hard-hitting topical things such as sexism, she tackles one topic in particular that could be seen in bad taste, that being abortion. As she muses about her own experience, instead of alienating some of the audience, this makes instantly her more relatable. This gag is done in the most tasteful manner and in the access-all-areas approach we have come to know and love from the panel show favourite that we see Katherine Ryan more as one of us, a normal human being, rather than as being part of the celebrity culture she critiques.

Concluding her set she leads into what can only be described as the best Beyonce sketch I have ever seen. Keeping on the feminist vein that runs throughout her show, she talks about Beyonce, the way most people do, with complete adoration. Alongside this she perfectly replicates Queen Bey’s most famous hip-swivelling dance move to bring the fantastic show to a close. Katherine Ryan is an asset to the British comedy seen, and if don’t get to catch her on the rest of her UK tour with Glam Role Model make sure you keep an eye on all of the nations favourite panel shows for her next appearance.

 

[descriptionshort] =>

The Nuffield Theatre’s comedy line up this year is stunning, and what better way to dive right into it than an evening with the tour-de-force that is panel show legend, Katherine Ryan.

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Tony Law has been taking his alternative style of comedy across the country in his latest tour Tony Law: Enter The Tonezone.

Though Canadian, Tony has lived in London since he was 18 and has been doing stand up for much of his life. Now 45, he’s appeared on TV shows ranging from 8 Out Of 10 Cats to The Culture Show and many in between (Have I Got News For You and Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe are just a few of his impressive list of telly credits).

Through the constant crackle of interference, I spoke to Tony about his tour, his children and his advice to students that want to be stand-ups.

How’s the road treating you?

It’s good. Last night’s gig was amazing. I was in Brighton and it was a crazy club. It was a crazy crowd, like a rock club. Not the sort of people I’d expected; there were no hipsters. The crowd went right up to, I think the oldest was 70 years old

Tell me about the show - what should people be expecting?

It’s a about fraying the edges of the mind. It has the usual surreal elements and the usual unhingedness. But it has a soul and a heart if that makes sense. It’s a little bit about of death. I remember all the jobs I had in the past, like when I worked at an abattoir. But it’s also about love and celebrating coupledom. Hopefully people leave a bit happier than when they came in. That’d be nice.

You mentioned the surreal. Surreal is something you’re quite often described as. Is that label important to you?

I guess so, though I don’t quite understand it. I don’t know if it applies to my stuff. Definitely absurd does, because life is absurd. It’s absurd that we have to pay rent. It’s absurd that you can be fined for paying a visa bill late. It's punishing people for being disorganised. So I think absurd fits better. Yeah, definitely absurdist fits better.

I know a lot of your fans, myself included, are budding stand-up comedians. Is there anything you want to say to them?

Don’t do it, there’s no money for anyone with integrity, you can’t say what you want to say and you end up disappointing most people who aren’t budding stand comedians and other fun people. But if that’s what you want to do, and you want to just make a little money and have a fun life then go for it. But do what you think is funny, don’t just put on a jacket and notice stuff.

A lot of your bits are based on faux history. Do you ever research them in advance?

Well, I’m a history nerd. I never need to plan or research because I know my history. For me it’s the most interesting of the humanities because it includes all the others. It includes philosophy. It includes politics. It includes geography. That makes it the most appealing of all the humanities. To me at least.

Do your family ever come to your shows?

Yeah, quite often. Well my wife usually watches from the side. Sometimes we even get the kids on stage. But that’s only ever at festivals.

Would you ever want your kids to go into stand up?     

I don’t know. My daughter possibly because she’s really clever. I think that she could be really good at it. She’s intelligent and quirky so I think she could do something interesting with it. But she’s already really funny so I don’t want to force her into anything. So yeah, it’s tough.

Is there anything you want people to take away from your show, apart from being happier than when they entered, like a message?

Well, I know it sounds fucking wank, but really the only message is that it’s okay to just be yourself. You know? It’s alright. Whatever you do it’s alright. Drink too much, don’t drink, smoke, don’t smoke it’s alright. Just try to be kind and polite. I know that I sound inarticulate. But hey, it’s alright to be inarticulate.

Tony Law: Enter the Tonezone is touring the UK until 28th November, before coming to London for three weeks in December and January. To see tour dates visit the website here.

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Comedian Holly Walsh is taking a brand new show to Edinburgh Fringe this year, which is her first since the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award nomination Hollycopter in 2012. Holly wrote the co-acclaimed BBC3 series Dead Boss with Sharon Horgan which is being made for the US by Fox, and she regularly appears on the most popular TV and radio comedies, starring Mock the Week, 8 Out of 10 Cats and Would I Lie to You?

I met with Holly and asked her a few questions about her Edinburgh Fringe gig, her opinion on women in comedy and her involvement with the BBC show Dead Boss.

We’re looking forward to your gig at Edinburgh Fringe this year! Are you looking forward to it?

Yes! Yes I am. I have to keep telling myself that because the weeks leading up to it are always hard work – preparing the show and doing re-writes – but once I’m actually there, Edinburgh is brilliant.  

Do you ever get nervous before a big gig and what do you do to calm your nerves if you do get anxious?

I have a bottle of beer and a banana. I didn’t drink at all last Edinburgh apart from one small bottle of real ale before every show.  It was like a performance enhancing drug.

As well as a stand-up comedian you have also appeared on various panel shows - do you prefer the comedy stand-up gigs or the panel shows?

I love doing panel shows but nothing beats doing live stand up. I guess you’re more in control when you’re doing a gig. With panel shows and TV in general, you have no idea how you’ll come out in the edit. But when you’re doing stand up, it’s just you and the audience. And you get instant feedback as to whether a joke went well.

You received a nomination for Best Newcomer at 2011's Fringe festival for Hollycopter; do you think you can gain the same recognition again this year at Fringe?

Ha! I’m not even thinking about that. Hollycopter was a very particular show – I was writing about an accident I’d had the previous year, so it felt like therapy. The fact that I got a nomination at the end was lovely silver lining. This year, I’ll just be happy if I get a good crowd and enjoy the month!

Comedy coinosseurs will know you from the popular panel shows Mock the Week, 8 Out of 10 Cats and Never Mind the Buzzcocks, as well as your own stand-up. But you're also a seasoned scribbler of comedy, and wrote a sitcom called Dead Boss a little while back. What got you in to script writing as well as stand-up comedy?

Well… I love writing sitcoms. Writing scripts is a very different skill from stand up, but I think it still comes from the same part of the brain. I was also lucky that I met Sharon Horgan and we started working together, and she’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever met.

Dead Boss also has a slightly dark tale to the story. The series follows Helen Stephens (played by Sharon Horgan), who is wrongly imprisoned for murdering her boss. Where did your inspiration for the program come from?

Who hasn’t wanted to murder their boss at some point? I certainly have, and I’m self employed.

You’ve also been involved with the show Crackanory in recent years, how was that and what was your story about?

I’ve done a couple now – one’s coming out in the new series. The story for the first series was about a woman who wakes up and finds her eight-year-old self standing at the end of her bed. They got Jessica Hynes to read it, which made my year.

Was there any sense of playful competition or deadly rivalry between you and the other Crackanory writers?

Hahaha. I don’t think you realise how lonely being a writer can be.

[descriptionshort] =>

We met with comedian Holly Walsh and asked her a few questions about her Edinburgh Fringe gig, her opinion on women in comedy and her involvement with the BBC show Dead Boss.

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Actor and comedian Tim Vine is very kindly supporting The Cure Parkinson’s Trust once again by participating in trading firm City Index’s “Celebrity Trader” initiative. We caught up with Tim to find out about his new involvement in the financial initiative Celebrity Trader, his opinions on swear words in comedy and his own personal message about religion.

What made you choose the comedy circuit?

Well, I didn’t go into it originally as a job; it was just something to do for a laugh to be honest, just for a hobby. 

I was working at an office in Croydon and I remember looking through a thing called The Stage newspaper with a mate of mine; they showed an advert for a comedy night where anyone could ring up, put your name down, you do five minutes and the audience vote who the winner is.  I said let's go do that, it'll be a laugh! So we went along and I sort of got into it from that.

We used to go every Wednesday to this place, it was called the comedy cafe in Rivington Street and it just grew from there. It was quite a long time before I thought to myself ‘oh, maybe I will do this as a job’, it’s only because it started taking up more of my time - I thought I might as well then.

Was it the career you'd always set your eye on or was there another career you tried previously?

Well, the job I was doing before, I can’t say it was a career. I was working in a pension firm, in their admin department in Croydon. I still to this day have no idea what the job was.  I spent most of my time climbing on the roof and being stupid. I treated it like school.

I would have loved to have been a darts player; I play a lot of darts. I remember before I was doing comedy, I had a secret desire to be a professional darts player but unfortunately I’m not good enough.

I love the sitcom Not Going Out. It could be said it was your big break in to the comedy circuit - how did that come about?

That was probably the biggest thing I did on television, in terms of being on BBC 1 and that sort of stature. I was in that because I was in a sketch show with Lee Mack, who writes Not Going Out. We were in a sketch show maybe five years before that on ITV called The Sketch Show.  He had worked with me before so he tried me out for that role, so I thought I might as well do it.

What’s your stance on the more risky set of comedy that you will find from comedians such as Ricky Gervais and Frankie Boyle? You yourself been classed as 'family friendly', so how do you feel about 'risky' comedy?

I think it’s great that there are all types of different comedy.  I certainly don’t think these people should be told to stop. I think everyone should do exactly what they want.

That’s the great thing about the comedy scene in this country; there is something for absolutely everybody. If your thing is Frankie Boyle, and a lot of what Frankie Boyle does I enjoy as well. If that’s your thing, that’s great! If you’d rather watch myself or Harry Hill, that’s great. There is something for everyone. That’s the way it should stay.

What is your chosen charity? Why is it important to you?

My chosen charity is the Cure Parkinson’s trust. What I like about the charity is that they put the word ‘cure’ in there. This is a horrible disease, it’s a great thing to aim to try and cure it. I don’t know how far off that is, but any help we can give them, that’s great, because there are lots of people who suffer from this disease. As a population we are all getting older and I guess more of us are going to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s, so anything they can do to get rid of it is great, and I think they are a great charity.

What’s the particular appeal of puns for you?

They’re short. At least they’re over quickly, and then we can all go and do something else.

What is your favourite ever pun? Whether it’s your own or not...

Well, I don’t know who did this originally, but one of my favourite puns is, and this isn’t mine, Ted Robbins, a comedian, told me this one, so you will have to ask him whose pun it is.

I’ve just found out I’m colour blind. That came as a bolt out of the green.

That’s one of someone else’s, of my own I like:

One armed butlers, they can take it but they can’t dish it out.

I heard you play drums in church and you have appeared in a Christian festival, Spring Harvest – is your faith a big part of your life?

I guess it is, it’s always there yeah. I don’t go around, maybe I should really, standing on street corners preaching in a loud voice.  Perhaps one day I might get the boldness to do it; you might as well - we’re only here once!

Do you think religion should be part of comedy, or should it be left alone? Do you ever/would you ever use it in your own comedy?

Well my own comedy doesn’t have any message at all really, other than let’s all laugh and be happy. I’m just trying to get as many laughs as possible. There’s no other message except laughter is good, and maybe life is good.

If you want to bring anything into comedy, any kind of message, whatever it is, religion whatever then that’s fine. But the one thing you must always remember is that an audience has paid so you would make them laugh. If you can put across some form of message and you really want to, that’s all very well, as long as the audience is still laughing. The second you are putting across some form of religious message and the audience is not laughing any more then you are not doing your job.

It’s a bit like saying to a bricklayer... actually its nothing like that at all. I was going to say it’s a bit like saying to a bricklayer, do you think it’s alright sometimes to not lay bricks, but do your job and tell people about Christianity. The answer is you have still got to make the wall.

Making people laugh is the most important thing, that’s what you’re paid to do.

You’ve just had the World Record for the most jokes told in one hour reinstated after the comedian who beat you “breached the guidelines” – will you be trying to beat your own record?

I don’t think so; it was a bit of a surprise when that happened. I have a certificate at home and it turns out it is no longer irrelevant - it means what it says again. I’m happy to leave things as they are at the moment.

The trouble is with that record, it’s more about speed than it is comedy. Particularly when you get into a lot of numbers.  When it starts getting to over 500 jokes in an hour, it’s becoming less to do with comedy and more to do with how fast you can speak or how much can you learn. Like I say it turns out this certificate I have got is valid again so I’m not in any hurry.

Tim Vine, thank you very much!

Please see more at: http://www.cityindex.co.uk/spread-betting/celebrity-trader/traderstimvine

To see what Tim has to say follow Tim at @RealTimVine

[descriptionshort] =>

We caught up with comedian Tim Vine to find out about his new involvement in the financial initiative Celebrity Trader, his opinions on swear words in comedy and his own personal message about religion.

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Tolulope Ogunmefun has been making us laugh for years, facilitated by his Nigerian alter-ego, T-Boy.

His YouTube vlog Don’t Jealous Me has drawn in audience from all over the world, collecting over 100, 000 subscribers and in excess of 32 million views to date.

Now, he has landed his own TV show.

The new show extends from award-winning web sitcom Meet the Adebanjoes, which portrayed the lives of an animated Nigerian family living in London and saw T Boy play goofy Cousin Femi.

Now, fans can look forward to seeing the London funnyman in The T-Boy Show on brand new channel, London Live, which launched last night.

T-Boy describes the show as "a cross between ‘Coming to America and Fresh Prince of Bel Air", inspired by the likes of My Wife and Kids.

He describes his character as “very pompous” and “just trying to make some money, trying to be an actor (which is actually what I want to do), find a girl and come to terms with the fact that it’s very, very cold in London!"

In a generation where everyone and quite literally their cat and dog has a YouTube channel, how does T-Boy find himself breaking through to TV?

"I started of just doing the little vlogs and stuff," he says. "It’s all improvised; I’ll just go in front of the camera and literally just start rapping."

The Don’t Jealous Me vlogs included a series of ‘letters’, featuring side-splitting rants inspired by the bitter annoyances of T-Boy’s everyday-life experiences.

"I started to say to myself, “I’m sure I can do more than just vlogs,” so that’s when I started to do skits."

He adds: "That was just spontaneous, there were no scripts or anything, literally I just thought – “Ok, I’ll create a scenario” and just put that together really. That all started in 2008 and we’re still kicking now!"

His short dramas became a shared platform for UK talent, showcasing the best in young actors, comedians, producers and directors. One of his most memorable performances was in collaboration with Brit comedian Adot (Afolabi Dasaolu) in a comical short film about clashing brothers, ‘Don’t Jealous Me vs. Adot’.

The ‘Smokey’s Barbers’ series was another YouTube hit, featuring fellow comedians Humza Arshad (Diaries of a Bad Man), Bricka (The Vujanic), Jazzie Zonzolo and common collaborator Adot. The series was incredibly popular and whilst T Boy stresses that “everyone’s working hard”, he promises that ‘Smokey’s Barbers’ will not be the last of their collaborations.

A guy of many talents, T-Boy has been pretty busy over the last five years – often jetting overseas to perform.

You may know that he has released a number of well-received Afrobeat tracks including ‘Talking Drum’ and ‘Somebody’, adding the title of singer to his resume. Right now however, he says comedy is his main focus but hints that “new music is a possibility.”

Comedy hasn’t always been the plan for the ambitious 24 year old - somewhat surprisingly, he was previously a nursing student. He says: "I found out I didn’t really like what I was doing, going on wards, waking up early to do placements... so I stopped."

He goes on to talk about the beginning of his career: ‘I was at a friend’s house, eating a burger," he says. "She started recording me and the first thing I said was “Don’t Jealous Me” and she was just laughing’.

What happened thereafter would be the beginning of a new career path for the young, fresh-faced Tolulope.

After making the "no-brainer" decision to leave uni, T-Boy began to pursue his passion for comedy and acting.

He appreciates his parents for supporting his diversion from the ‘conventional’ route of education, saying: "It's very rare that you will find parents who will actually encourage that."

Lately, T-Boy has turned most of his attention to his TV work, although fans can expect a relaunch of his YouTube channel later this year.

"There will definitely be some behind the scenes material coming later on this year," he says, "after the summertime.

"We’ve got some stuff coming and hopefully a documentary about all that’s going on as well.’

What has been the key ingredient to his success?

He responds without a moment’s hesitation: "Consistency, you’ve just got to remain consistent and don’t listen to what everyone else says and just focus and give it 100%.

"With time, everything’s timing – you can’t just start off something and if it doesn’t work, give up. Like Kevin Hart, it took him eight years to get to where he is, so keep on going and it will pay off."

T-Boy sends a shout out to a few of his own comedy idols: "Jim Carrey – he’s a very, very funny guy, Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence – obviously the man of the moment is Kevin Hart."

As for the end goal, he simply replies with ‘Hollywood.’

To see the premier of The T-Boy Show, tune into London Live (Sky 117, Virgin 159, Freeview 8, YouView 8) on Tuesday 1st April at 6pm.

[descriptionshort] =>

YouTube comedy king T Boy has landed his own TV show.

[movie] => [publication_date] => 2014-04-01 [publication_date1] => 1st April 2014 [publication_time] => 10:12:50 [tags] => television, interview [meta_keywords] => dontjealousme, tboy, comedian, londonlive, new show, london, tv, sitcom, funny, comedy, t-boy, london live, london live review [meta_description] => YouTube comedy king T-Boy has landed his own TV show. [createtime] => 2014-04-01 [lastactiontime] => 2014-06-09 15:23:43 [user_name] => Alice O'Donkor [desc1] => YouTube comedy king T Boy has landed his own TV show. [desc2] => Tolulope Ogunmefun has been making us laugh for years, facilitated by his Nigerian alter-ego, T [comments] => 0 [cat] => Array ( [name] => Comedy [news_categoryid] => 22 [parentid] => 8 [link] => Comedy/ ) [link] => Comedy/2014-04-01/Interview_TBoy.html [picture] => admin/images/basic/min/11796_300_200.jpg [picture1] => admin/images/basic/min/11796_120_90.jpg [picture3] => http://www.thenationalstudent.com/admin/images/basic/11796.jpg ) [8863] => Array ( [newsid] => 8863 [position] => 0 [score] => 0 [state] => 3 [visits] => 1264 [news_categoryid] => ,22, [universityid] => 0 [userid] => 62 [userid1] => 99 [ban_main] => 0 [ban_cat] => 0 [main_page] => 0 [title] => The wisdom of Bill Hicks [urltitle] => Comedy/2014-02-26/The_wisdom_of_Bill_Hicks.html [alternate_title] => [description] =>

Today it’s 20 years since comedian Bill Hicks departed the world. He was funny, like, really funny.

Bill HicksBut he was also clever, really clever.

Outspoken, irreverent and willing to say what others were afraid to. He was not just a stand-up comedian but a huge middle-finger to society he was trapped in.

For many people he is the greatest stand-up comedian ever. Unless those people happen to be religious fundamentalists, marketers, right-wingers or bigots – those people think he was the antichrist.

To be honest that just makes him more worth listening too.

His Guardian obituary from 1994 came with the headline ‘Exposing lies with a laugh’ – this sums him up beautifully.

To celebrate the life of Bill Hicks (not his death, that kinda sucked) revel in some of his unique observations:

On religion...

On drugs...

On marketing....

On gun crime...

The war in Iraq...

Porn...

UFOs...

[descriptionshort] =>

Today it's 20 years since comedian Bill Hicks departed the world. Check out some of his unique observations.

[movie] => [publication_date] => 2014-02-26 [publication_date1] => 26th February 2014 [publication_time] => 14:52:40 [tags] => comedy [meta_keywords] => features, comedy, bill hicks [meta_description] => Today it�s 20 years since comedian Bill Hicks departed the world. Check out some of his unique observations. [createtime] => 2014-02-26 [lastactiontime] => 2015-06-17 14:48:05 [user_name] => Chris Marks [desc1] => Today it's 20 years since comedian Bill Hicks departed the world. Check out some of his unique observations. [desc2] => Today it’s 20 years since comedian Bill Hicks departed the world. He was funny, like [comments] => 0 [cat] => Array ( [name] => Comedy [news_categoryid] => 22 [parentid] => 8 [link] => Comedy/ ) [link] => Comedy/2014-02-26/The_wisdom_of_Bill_Hicks.html [picture] => admin/images/basic/min/11652_300_200.jpg [picture1] => admin/images/basic/min/11652_120_90.jpg [picture3] => http://www.thenationalstudent.com/admin/images/basic/11652.jpg ) [8196] => Array ( [newsid] => 8196 [position] => 0 [score] => 0 [state] => 3 [visits] => 992 [news_categoryid] => ,22, [universityid] => 0 [userid] => 203 [userid1] => 99 [ban_main] => 0 [ban_cat] => 0 [main_page] => 0 [title] => Video: Seann Walsh's shortcuts in life [urltitle] => Comedy/2013-11-27/Video_Seann_Walshs_shortcuts_in_life.html [alternate_title] => [description] =>

We all know that students don’t have much time on their hands. In between dashing from lectures to the pub to the library (err... maybe), it can seem like your day is over before you’ve really had much chance to do anything.

We know this feeling, and we sympathise.

It’s a good job, then, that comedian Seann Walsh is on hand to save you time. With tips on everything from cooking to accommodation to shopping, his genius tips will save you hours of your day. Probably.

Seann Walsh’s ‘Seann To Be Wild’ is available now, priced at £19.99.

He will be touring his ‘The Lie-In-King’ show during autumn 2013.

For full dates and listing information visit www.seannwalsh.com or www.offthekerb.co.uk.

[descriptionshort] =>

Seann Walsh is on hand to save you time. With tips on everything from cooking to accommodation to shopping, his genius tips will save you hours of your day. Probably.

[movie] => [publication_date] => 2013-11-27 [publication_date1] => 27th November 2013 [publication_time] => 09:33:40 [tags] => comedy, video [meta_keywords] => channel 4, comedy, channel 4 comedy, seann walsh, sean walsh world, comedy roadshow, michael macintyre, seann to be wild, comedy dvds, edinburgh 2013, edinburgh fringe [meta_description] => Seann Walsh is on hand to save you time. With tips on everything from cooking to accommodation to shopping, his genius tips will save you hours of your day. Probably. [createtime] => 2013-11-27 [lastactiontime] => 2014-06-11 11:03:51 [user_name] => Lucy Miller [desc1] => Seann Walsh is on hand to save you time. With tips on everything from cooking to accommodation to shopping, his genius tips will save you hours of your day. Probably. [desc2] => We all know that students don’t have much time on their hands. In between dashing from le [comments] => 0 [cat] => Array ( [name] => Comedy [news_categoryid] => 22 [parentid] => 8 [link] => Comedy/ ) [link] => Comedy/2013-11-27/Video_Seann_Walshs_shortcuts_in_life.html [picture] => admin/images/basic/min/12188_300_200.png [picture1] => admin/images/basic/min/12188_120_90.png [picture3] => http://www.thenationalstudent.com/admin/images/basic/12188.png ) [8169] => Array ( [newsid] => 8169 [position] => 0 [score] => 0 [state] => 3 [visits] => 954 [news_categoryid] => ,22, [universityid] => 0 [userid] => 1255 [userid1] => 99 [ban_main] => 0 [ban_cat] => 0 [main_page] => 0 [title] => Interview: Stephen K. Amos [urltitle] => Comedy/2013-11-22/Interview_Stephen_K._Amos.html [alternate_title] => [description] =>

Sophy Coombes-Roberts chats to funny man Stephen K Amos ahead of his new tour ‘The Spokesman’.

I could all but laugh when worldwide comedy veteran Stephen K Amos told me he was excited to gig in Exeter next month. A big star in America, Australia, New Zealand and of course right here in the UK, Amos admitted to only having visited the city of Exeter once before.

Naturally, I have promised him a night to remember, when in fact, it is he who will be delivering an unforgettable evening to those in attendance at his show.

His new tour is called ‘The Spokesman’, an anagram of his name. “Not a lot of people spot that” Amos pointed out, “it is very clever of me I think”. He spent the summer testing out his material for the new show at the Edinburgh Fringe “to try and see what sticks - not everything is going to be funny and that’s why you need to go out on a limb and try it, and if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work and if it does then you get that gem of an idea and it’s worth it.” Regardless, he informs me that much of his material did make it into the tour and having seen ‘Work in Progress’ (his Fringe show) in August I predict the full fledged gig will certainly not leave the audience short of laughter.

So how does he write his shows? Strangely enough it differs each time, he tells me: “Sometimes I will sit and be very meticulous about it and do five hours writing and see what happens, and then other times if something comes to me I just write it. Alternatively, I just grab my friends and say can we just have a chat and see what happens; invariably they often come out with the most outrageous things.” Of course Amos is a dab hand at this now having been on the circuit for over ten years, yet he admits it is still “so tempting just to keep rehashing out the same stuff but the point is you need to try and stretch yourself every year in a new show”. Obviously, his die-hard fans love his old sets and Amos seems very aware of that, exclaiming, “What is the point in going out with the same old stuff? I know it works, so it is always a good challenge to try something new”.

Being a global comedian Amos does not just write material to please us Brits, but is a regular performer ‘down under’ and in America. “Lots of audiences are very different,” he explains whilst discussing collating material for his global tours. “What might work really well one night could fall flat on its face the next night, you just have to keep trying and have faith in it, really.” However, the reception his material receives around the globe is essentially the same: we speak the same language, have similar history and all find Stephen’s comedy a hoot.

Nevertheless, things are a little different in the States. He laughs: “When I am over in America the main difference I find is that people tend to scream a lot more.” At this point Amos proceeds to imitate a fanatic shouting after which we both pause for laughter, “and I could do without that, but a reaction is a reaction, right?” He jokes: “the Americans are not used to seeing a British person, let alone a black British person so they always ask: “Oh my gawd, do you know the Queen?” But I just play along with it and usually reply something like: “Of course I know the Queen, I just had breakfast with her last week.”

Over the course of our interview thus far, Stephen has failed to disappoint. He comes across just as he does on the TV: likeable, charming and a really good laugh. I couldn’t help but probe if he was like this all the time, a constant funny man? “I’ve always been a gregarious type of person” he replies, “but I don’t go around being funny twenty-four-seven, how annoying and irritating would that be? The weirdest thing about that is that people think I am funny all the time and expect me to say jokes constantly, so in a social situation where I don’t know that many people I tend not to say anything, because I know if I do they will say: “He’s not funny at all.’”

However, after interviewing the man I find it hard to believe he could disappoint in a conversation, but he hardly seems plagued by the pressures of being amusing: “That must be what it is like to be a doctor; I would hate that. Could you imagine if you were on a flight and someone shouts for a doctor on board? Then you have to stand up and help, but that would never happen to a comedian. I can’t imagine a situation where someone calls “do we have a comedian here? I am in need of laughter.”

Although he might not be stopped on the street to save a life, he does admit to being recognised due to his success. “People usually think I am someone else, which is quite amusing. They stop me, but don’t quite recognise me out of context off the TV or stage so they often ask “did we go to school together” or “are you sure you’re not Regional D Hunter?” Somebody once told me I looked like a black Alan Sugar”. Thankfully I reassured him I couldn’t see the connection, “Exactly!” he responds “We are a different colour and he is Jewish – WOW!”

So on top of touring the world, working on his sitcom, hosting a radio show and being recognised in the street, what does he do to relax in his snippets of free time? “I try and see my friends who just aren’t in comedy in my spare time to try and get a break from it all”. However, he never really pushes comedy completely out of his mind: “I am quite weird as because I always carry around a pen and paper to jot down anything amusing that my friends say so then I can pass it off as my own humorous wit.”

Amos also uses his success to do good. Last year he was asked to do the Great British Bake Off for Comic Relief: “My mum is a massive fan of the show and she told me I had to do it, but I had never baked in my life before… and it showed. Having never made a cake before and being asked to bake a chocolate cake, I was like: “You what?” and when Mary Berry tasted my cake her face said it all, it was the most bitter cake they had ever had on the show.” He also does a number of gigs for charity including the Comedy Store’s 30th Anniversary Comedy Gala. As if that was not enough, Amos tells me he also did an episode of ITV’s game show The Chase for charity a few days ago. Yet without giving anything away he hinted he was not hugely successful on the quiz show saying: “If you need a general knowledge pub quiz team… I am definitely not your man!”

It was never his intention to go into comedy, and after learning how he prepares his material for big gigs I was interested to hear about his first ever time on the stage.

“I don’t think I was very good” he admits, “But at my first ever gig my friends were there, they laughed at my stuff and I thought it was comedy gold. So I did it again, different audience, without my friends and I didn’t get a single laugh.” This is far from uncommon in the world of stand up, but picking yourself up and carrying on is part of the battle. “It was a learning curve; you have to work at these things. I just kept going and thought I am having a laugh, it’s not rocket science or brain surgery, I am just having… and then I got it right, I think.” It surprises me how modest Amos is, considering the fact he has his own sit-com, radio show and sells out tours, but I reassure him that he certainly has got it right.

After he told me his beginnings in comedy, I couldn’t let Stephen go before asking for some expert advice to aspiring student comedians. “I would say find your own voice. Go and watch some comedy, get an idea of what you like, what your friends laugh at and then start writing stuff, book a five minute slot (like I did) and try it out give it a go and what is the worst thing that can happen? They don’t laugh at you? So what?”

This article originally appeared on Exeposé.

Image courtesy of Mines and Money on Flickr

[descriptionshort] =>

Sophy Coombes-Roberts chats to funny man Stephen K. Amos ahead of his new tour 'The Spokesman.'

[movie] => [publication_date] => 2013-11-22 [publication_date1] => 22nd November 2013 [publication_time] => 09:39:54 [tags] => arts, comedy, interview [meta_keywords] => comedy interview, stephen k amos, exeter expose, comedy review, comedy interview [meta_description] => Sophy Coombes-Roberts chats to funny man Stephen K. Amos ahead of his new tour 'The Spokesman.' [createtime] => 2013-11-22 [lastactiontime] => 2015-06-17 14:48:24 [user_name] => Sophy Coombes-Roberts [desc1] => Sophy Coombes-Roberts chats to funny man Stephen K. Amos ahead of his new tour 'The Spokesman.' [desc2] => Sophy Coombes-Roberts chats to funny man Stephen K Amos ahead of his new tour ‘The S [comments] => 0 [cat] => Array ( [name] => Comedy [news_categoryid] => 22 [parentid] => 8 [link] => Comedy/ ) [link] => Comedy/2013-11-22/Interview_Stephen_K._Amos.html [picture] => admin/images/basic/min/13211_300_200.jpg [picture1] => admin/images/basic/min/13211_120_90.jpg [picture3] => http://www.thenationalstudent.com/admin/images/basic/13211.jpg ) [8165] => Array ( [newsid] => 8165 [position] => 0 [score] => 0 [state] => 3 [visits] => 2574 [news_categoryid] => ,22, [universityid] => 0 [userid] => 62 [userid1] => 1 [ban_main] => 0 [ban_cat] => 2 [main_page] => 0 [title] => Top 10 Monty Python sketches [urltitle] => Comedy/2013-11-21/Top_10_Monty_Python_sketches.html [alternate_title] => [description] =>

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Monty PythonFewer people expected the Python’s to work together again.

But it’s happening! The Python’s ARE working together again – well all except that one that went and died.

Anarchic, controversial and confusing, but extremely bloody funny, their Flying Circus changed the face of comedy and let us with some of the most memorable and quotable sketches of all time.

As we doff our collective caps to the greatest comedy troupe ever, here are ten of our favourite Python sketches.

Argument clinic

Spam

Dead parrot

Spanish Inquisition

Self Defence 

Ministry of Silly Walks

Hungarian phrase book

The Lumberjack Song

Four Yorkshiremen

[descriptionshort] =>

As the Python boys announce a special one off gig in London next year, here are ten of our favourite Python sketches.

[movie] => [publication_date] => 2013-11-21 [publication_date1] => 21st November 2013 [publication_time] => 13:12:37 [tags] => comedy, tv [meta_keywords] => monty python, flying circus, sketches, michael palin, john cleese, terry jones, eric idle, terry gilliam [meta_description] => As the Python boys announce a special one off gig in London next year, here are ten of our favourite Python sketches. [createtime] => 2013-11-21 [lastactiontime] => 2015-06-17 14:54:36 [user_name] => Chris Marks [desc1] => As the Python boys announce a special one off gig in London next year, here are ten of our favourite Python sketches. [desc2] => Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Fewer people expected the Python’s to work togeth [comments] => 0 [cat] => Array ( [name] => Comedy [news_categoryid] => 22 [parentid] => 8 [link] => Comedy/ ) [link] => Comedy/2013-11-21/Top_10_Monty_Python_sketches.html [picture] => admin/images/basic/min/11085_300_200.jpg [picture1] => admin/images/basic/min/11085_120_90.jpg [picture3] => http://www.thenationalstudent.com/admin/images/basic/11085.jpg ) [8135] => Array ( [newsid] => 8135 [position] => 0 [score] => 0 [state] => 3 [visits] => 1030 [news_categoryid] => ,22, [universityid] => 0 [userid] => 203 [userid1] => 99 [ban_main] => 0 [ban_cat] => 0 [main_page] => 0 [title] => Comedy Clip: Seann Walsh - Seann To Be Wild [urltitle] => Comedy/2013-11-18/Comedy_Clip_Seann_Walsh__Seann_To_Be_Wild.html [alternate_title] => [description] =>

Star of Channel 4’s Stand Up For The Week and his own show Seann Walsh World, comedian Seann Walsh today releases his debut live DVD, ‘Seann To Be Wild.’    

Promising huge belly laughs from his observational and completely relateable humour, ‘Seann To Be Wild’ comes hot on the heels of Walsh’s nomination for the Best Show Award by Edinburgh Fosters Comedy earlier this year.

Walsh is also known for Comedy Central's Big Bad World, and BBC1's Live At The Apollo.

He will be touring his ‘The Lie-In-King’ show during autumn 2013.

For full dates and listing information visit www.seannwalsh.com or www.offthekerb.co.uk.

Filmed at the Hammersmith Apollo, we have a clip from the DVD to give you a taste of what to expect...

Sean Walsh’s ‘Seann To Be Wild’ is released by Universal Pictures (UK) today (Monday 18th Nov 2013), priced at £19.99.

[descriptionshort] =>

Star of Channel 4's Stand Up For The Week and his own show Seann Walsh World, comedian Seann Walsh today releases his debut live DVD, 'Seann To Be Wild.'

[movie] => [publication_date] => 2013-11-18 [publication_date1] => 18th November 2013 [publication_time] => 10:26:16 [tags] => comedy, entertainment [meta_keywords] => channel 4, comedy, channel 4 comedy, seann walsh, sean walsh world, comedy roadshow, michael macintyre, seann to be wild, comedy dvds, edinburgh 2013, edinburgh fringe [meta_description] => Star of Channel 4's Stand Up For The Week and his own show Seann Walsh World, comedian Seann Walsh today releases his debut live DVD, 'Seann To Be Wild.' [createtime] => 2013-11-18 [lastactiontime] => 2014-06-11 11:16:59 [user_name] => Lucy Miller [desc1] => Star of Channel 4's Stand Up For The Week and his own show Seann Walsh World, comedian Seann Walsh today releases his debut live DVD, 'Seann To Be Wild.' [desc2] => Star of Channel 4’s Stand Up For The Week and his own show Seann Walsh World, comedian Se [comments] => 0 [cat] => Array ( [name] => Comedy [news_categoryid] => 22 [parentid] => 8 [link] => Comedy/ ) [link] => Comedy/2013-11-18/Comedy_Clip_Seann_Walsh__Seann_To_Be_Wild.html [picture] => admin/images/basic/min/11055_300_200.png [picture1] => admin/images/basic/min/11055_120_90.png [picture3] => http://www.thenationalstudent.com/admin/images/basic/11055.png ) [7453] => Array ( [newsid] => 7453 [position] => 0 [score] => 0 [state] => 3 [visits] => 794 [news_categoryid] => ,22, [universityid] => 0 [userid] => 576 [userid1] => 99 [ban_main] => 0 [ban_cat] => 0 [main_page] => 0 [title] => Edinburgh Fringe Interview: The Three Half Pints [urltitle] => Comedy/2013-08-02/Edinburgh_Fringe_Interview_The_Three_Half_Pints.html [alternate_title] => [description] =>

With Edinburgh Fringe kicking off today, many acts have their work cut out. For slapstick comedy trio The Three Half Pints, it's no different. Meet the three men of less than average height but with hearts of pure comedy gold... The Three Half Pints (Ernie, Derek and Dick)

Firstly, why the name The Three Half Pints and who exactly are they?

The Three Half Pints are three brothers Dick, Derek and Ernie played by Richard Franks, Callum Donnelly and Robin Hatcher. Dick is an utter moron who struggles to comprehend even the basics of normal existence, Derek is the upper class buffoon, convinced of his own intellect and skill and Ernie is the showman, eager to please the audience. The name came about as the three of us are all very short (5’7 being the best we can manage if we stretch!) and so we thought about things that are smaller than the norm. Plus, at the time of talking about it we happened to be having a beer, so the name stuck.

How did Three Half Pints get started?

We started at a university module that focussed on variety theatre, something which still inspires us enormously. At the end of term we put on a full variety show, we chose to be a slapstick trio and loved it so much that we wanted to continue.

Who/What are your influences?

Our influences are very varied. As mentioned, we began by looking into variety and so the likes of Norman Wisdom, Max Miller, Morecombe and Wise and Laurel and Hardy are hugely important to us. More contemporary influences are people like Fry and Laurie right up to the IT crowd and Scrubs.

Could you describe the difficulties you encountered when you first started up?

When we first started the difficulty for us was funding, and it remains a difficulty two years into working together. We have been very lucky in that we get to perform regularly as the Gulbenkian Theatre's group in residence, and that has been amazing for us. Balancing student life and performing was easy; we decided early on that being Half Pints was the most important thing to all of us, and so that has taken the priority for two years. We were lucky we could get credit for it in our degrees!

What's the most rewarding part of performing as The Three Half Pints?

The most rewarding thing by far is doing shows to entire families, and having people as young as six laughing alongside their 85-year-old grandparents. Its brilliant when some jokes have all the kids rolling around with laughter, but then in the same breath we include a joke specifically for the adults, that’s a really great feeling.

Describe the challenges you face performing this particular type of comedy in today's world. How do you make it accessible for a modern audience?

We firmly believe that our style of comedy has legs to modern audiences, and so far have been proved right. However it helps to mix in modern references in the otherwise nostalgic and retro world the Three Half Pints work in.

This type of comedy is so well known and with so many points of references, is it challenging to keep your sketches fresh and original?

We don’t really struggle, we find ourselves sitting down and thinking about what we would like to see, and whether we would laugh, and if so we go for it and give it a go. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Once we cut open a mattress for a gag so one of us could get into it, but the springs were too rusty and the spiders inside far too large so we abandoned ship on that one!

What's the hardest thing about working together and being friends?

Sometimes it can be stressful, however we find each other utterly hilarious all of the time, and so even when we have had a stressful rehearsal or situation we can normally laugh it off within the hour. The fact we find one another so funny is essential for our comedy, as we hope people will laugh as much as we do.

What can we expect from your forthcoming show?

Expect to see Dick, Derek and Ernie struggling along in a world that is just too big for them. There will be high energy slapstick comedy for the whole family from the go. Also, you’ll probably see us get some lines wrong at some point and desperately try to cover it whilst the other two openly mock the one at fault.

Lastly, any tips for those attending or performing at Edinburgh this year?

Jump straight into it, absorb every possible opportunity as it is truly the best place we have ever been. If you’re performing just chat to everyone you meet, you’ll meet some amazing people who will support you from then on. Another tip would be to come and see the Three Half Pints, as you wouldn’t want to miss out.

The Three Half Pints will be performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival from the 12th-24th August at the Space UK: Surgeons Hall. See http://www.threehalfpints.co.uk/ or @threehalfpints for more details.

[descriptionshort] => With Edinburgh Fringe kicking off today, many acts have their work cut out. For slapstick comedy trio The Three Half Pints, it's no different. Meet the three men of less than average height but with hearts of pure comedy gold... [movie] => [publication_date] => 2013-08-02 [publication_date1] => 2nd August 2013 [publication_time] => 09:34:09 [tags] => comedy, interview, entertainment [meta_keywords] => comedy, edinburgh fringe, fringe festival, student drama, students fringe, funny, three half pints, fringe tickets, comedy festivals, laugh [meta_description] => With Edinburgh Fringe kicking off today, many acts have their work cut out. For slapstick comedy trio The Three Half Pints, it's no different. Meet the three men of less than average height but with hearts of pure comedy gold... [createtime] => 2013-08-02 [lastactiontime] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [user_name] => Naomi Joseph [desc1] => With Edinburgh Fringe kicking off today, many acts have their work cut out. For slapstick comedy trio The Three Half Pints, it's no different. Meet the three men of less than average height but with hearts of pure comedy gold... [desc2] => With Edinburgh Fringe kicking off today, many acts have their work cut out. For slapstick comedy tri [comments] => 0 [cat] => Array ( [name] => Comedy [news_categoryid] => 22 [parentid] => 8 [link] => Comedy/ ) [link] => Comedy/2013-08-02/Edinburgh_Fringe_Interview_The_Three_Half_Pints.html [picture] => admin/images/basic/min/10427_300_200.jpg [picture1] => admin/images/basic/min/10427_120_90.jpg [picture3] => http://www.thenationalstudent.com/admin/images/basic/10427.jpg ) [6670] => Array ( [newsid] => 6670 [position] => 0 [score] => 0 [state] => 3 [visits] => 1464 [news_categoryid] => ,22, [universityid] => 90 [userid] => 1076 [userid1] => 99 [ban_main] => 0 [ban_cat] => 0 [main_page] => 0 [title] => BRANNIGAN: The word that should have never been lost [urltitle] => Comedy/2013-03-06/BRANNIGAN_The_word_that_should_have_never_been_lost.html [alternate_title] => [description] =>

The English language is a great thing. It’s convenient, sounds nice, and is often the language people on the telly speak in so we don’t have to deal with subtitles and all that. I’ve spoken to a few mates and the general consensus is that the best thing about the English language is the words. We’ve had some real greats over the years. Some real classics; Curmudgeonly is a good one. Doubloons, hyperpolyglot, saucy, and phantasmagoria are also good shouts.

The thing with the English language is, it’s always getting bigger. New words are always popping up. 2012 saw the introduction of soon-to-be-household-favourites such as Cyberchondriac; one who imagines that he is ill, having just read about the symptoms on the internet, Nonversation, which is a conversation that seems meaningless or ridiculous. Facekini is another one. It’s a kind of mask which is worn around on the beach to prevent facial tanning. The less said about ‘Facekini’, the better, really.

But now, just because we’ve got all these fun new words doesn’t mean we should forget about the old ‘uns. Of course, solids like Doubloons and Phantasmagoria will never die out. But, unfortunately, some old reliables’ get left by the wayside. I’m of course talking about those old favourites such as Bablatrice (A female babbler. A lady who enjoys a good chat. Or a babble) and of course Curwhibble (A thing-a-ma-jig or a what-ya-ma-callit). It’s a widely known fact that you simply could not purchase anything from 1750s B&Q without having a ‘curwhibble’ or two in your arsenal.

We all know how hard it was as a language to lose those last two but there’s one word whose sad and untimely demise has hit us as a nation a lot harder than any others. I’m of course referring to ‘Brannigan’. A great word from a great time (1927) created by a great man (Terry Brannigan). It means ‘a drinking spree’. It can also mean ‘squabble’ but I’m not referring to that bit. Brannigan only had 80 short years on this good earth and of course died out in the great fire of Brannigan (2007). Brannigan isn’t just fun to say, it’s also useful. I don’t know about you, but there’s probably about 25-30 conversations a day in my home that could easily make room for Brannigan. Not just make room for it, welcome it.

‘What are you up to tonight?’

 ‘Not really sure, might pop out for a few drinks, then might have a few more, you?’

 A great answer to a great question, obviously, but Brannigan could make it a bit more concise;

‘What are you up to tonight?’

 ‘Going to have a bit of a brannigan I think, you?’

Or maybe even just;

 ‘Going out branniganing’ or simply just ‘BRANNIGANS. LOTS AND LOTS OF BRANNIGANS’.

I know what you’re thinking, and I’ll tell you what, I’m thinking the same thing too; Brannigan could change everything. At this moment in time, the word the national media tend to most frequently use for defining ‘going out for a few drinks’ is ‘binge’. Personally, I’m not really a fan of it. It sounds negative. And a word that makes our national pastime (getting pissed) sound negative is frankly not alright in my books. There’s also the fact that ‘binge’ might be one of the roughest words this side of Collins Dictionary Towers. It’s widely accepted that the only words in the English language more disconcerting and worrisome than Binge are; trough, moist, residue, gusset, and effusion. Binge is a bloody horrendous word.

Binge:

– to overdrink/overeat or eat immodestly; make a pig of oneself; "She stuffed herself at the dinner"; "The kids binged on ice cream."

It’s unpleasant. It makes drinking excessively seem like not a very nice thing to do and it when you say it out loud, it kind of sounds like the noise someone makes when they’re being sick.

There’s only one reason I can imagine that the word ‘brannigan’ is still not around, and that’s that the great and powerful elders of the dictionary world have probably decided that we’ve got enough words that mean going for a crafty beverage or two. There’s only one thing for it; binge has to go. It’s dying out as it is; I can’t personally recall a time it came up in a conversation regarding anything apart from today’s Daily Mail front page. The swift swap of ‘binge’ for ‘brannigan’ would not only change our normal run-of-the-mill conversations, it would change the face of all English language journalism.

Articles like the one in the Daily Mirror on the 3rd of March entitled ‘Strippers, binge drinking and 'cheating' – have One Direction become grubby cliches?’ could become so much more. Sure, it’s not a bad headline as it is. Not a bad headline at all. But imagine if it was ‘Strippers, BRANNIGANS, and ‘cheating’ – have One Direction become grubby clichés?’ My god. Could you imagine such a world? It’s the sort of world you want your kids to grow up in. Maybe even your grandkids too. Or how about this article which recently appeared in The Daily Telegraph entitled ‘Boris Johnson condemns David Cameron's minimum alcohol price plans’ The lead-in is; Boris Johnson has criticised David Cameron's "regressive" plans to bring in a minimum alchohol (sic) price, saying it will not stop binge-drinking. Fine lead-in, we can all agree on that. But it could be better; Boris Johnson has criticised David Cameron’s “regressive” plans to bring in a minimum alcohol price, saying it will not stop BRANNIGANS. Is that a sentence or IS THAT A SENTENCE?

Interesting side note from that Daily Telegraph article, you may have noticed that they spelt ‘alcohol’ wrongly in the opening sentence (alchohol). Another interesting side note; it’s been online since February 18th and no one has noticed. It did feel good quoting the Telegraph and knowing I’d have to put that little (sic) thing in there, though.

Anyway, back to Brannigan. Another great thing I’ve decided can be done with brannigan is that it can be combined with the word ‘shenanigans’ to make what is described as down the local wordsmithery as ‘a mega-word’. Or in other words; just a bloody good word. The new mega-word I’m talking about is, of course; ‘shebrannigans’.

Definition of SHENANIGAN:

: Mischief, prankishness

WORLD PREMIERE OF THE DEFINTION OF NEW WORD ‘SHEBRANNIGANS’

: A drinking spree, but with a bit of mischief on the side.

How about that? Not bad, is it? You couldn’t do that with ‘binge’. Shebingigans? No. That’s stupid.

It’ll change everything. It’s not just a word; it can be a whole sentence. A question. Think of the time you’ll save. Texts, phone calls, emails, faxes, SOS’ could all be condensed to one word; ‘SHEBRANNIGANS?’ And then they text back with YES and then that’s your evening sorted. 

Words are a great thing and it’s about time we stopped letting them disappear. It won’t be long until there aren’t any words left at all. If we keep on like that then it’ll suddenly be 2033 and we’ll all be in a sub-par episode of Black Mirror.

Long have I hoped for a time where my children can write ‘brannigan’ on a computer or a phone and that bloody little red line doesn’t pop up underneath. Long has that notion haunted my dreams. Long have I imagined a world where mothers describe the wonders of brannigans to their infant children. Together, we can accomplish this. Spread the word (brannigan). Get it out there. Say it to your nan, put it on your Friends Reunited page. Shout it at a confused fellow-commuter on the tube. Write it on a piece of paper, screw it up and then throw it at a baby.

I’ll come out and say it; ‘brannigan’ should have never been lost. Its demise is down to poor leadership from the upper echelons of society and we all know it. I’ll end with a quote from our first and most beloved king; Aragorn (son of Arathorn). Except I’ll change a bit to make it about brannigans.

"Sons of Gondor! Of Rohan! My brothers. I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of BRANNIGAN. A day may come when the courage of BRANNIGAN fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the Age of BRANNIGAN comes crashing down, but it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you stand, Men (and women) of the West!"

 

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Perhaps contrary to the loud, hyperactive, sexually ambiguous figure who accompanied Radio One heart throb Greg James on Unzipped last year, Posturing Delivery, Kane’s second major stand up tour, is surprisingly grown up, introspective and insightful to what it means to be a young man wanting to be a parent in today’s world.

His show is centred on how he would bring up his fictional child Ivan who becomes a vehicle for funny tidbits accented with his experience of class struggle and appearing middle class, his blatantly difficult father-son relationship and his constant protestation that contrary to popular belief he is not in fact gay.

Ivan becomes the comical centre to explore his own childhood, often more concerned with discussing how he is not going to become his father, his love for his mother and how children can pretty much be split into two categories - angelic or demonic.

Though he might have offended a few new parents through his assertion that parenting was easy and bad children were the result of weak parenting, he never failed to make his often sweeping statements truly hilarious and stayed true to style, pirouetting around the stage.

His true skills lie in language manipulation often juxtaposing the most unlikely of words together to give birth to hilarious outcomes and genius jokes which make the dullest of his anecdotes still come off as funny - though sometimes it does feel like a ‘you had to be there moment’ (particularly true of his story of clubbing with his mum).

His energetic style and interaction with the audience is another strong point with his unpractised and improvised jokes often getting the biggest laughs, particularly his jokes about northerners, and more specifically northern pipe fitters. Younger fans of Russell Kane’s humour demonstrated on BBC3 may leave disappointed as this show is more about growing up than you’d expect, though his unfortunate sex stories do leave a little for those fans to feel satisfied with too.

Perhaps the most satisfying outcome of his stand up is his glorification of his audience, claiming that the show he performs with that particular audience is ‘their own baby’ and an experience which can never be re-experienced or recreated or indeed recaptured - maybe like childhood, parenting and growing up. Sounds a little like a disclaimer to all those parents he may have offended, but a lovely sentiment all the same!

Often, he’ll make himself the butt of the joke, perhaps the ghost of his father will continue to haunt his stand up, but his show was as a result, genuinely funny, poignant and if you’re starting to grow up yourself - definitely a must see!

 

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We are all lucky to be alive according to Chris Ramsey, which seems quite a deep subject for a comedy set.

But the South Shields man, who has enjoyed unparalleled success in 2012 with a sold-out UK tour and Edinburgh show, probably has reason to feel lucky. He kicked off his 2013 schedule in a dark and cosy room at the University of East Anglia in Norwich on 11th January and had fellow Northerner Carl Hutchinson join him as his support act.

Nobody in the audience was expecting or had even heard of the latter comedian, but Hutchinson’s dry wit instantly got the crowd onside and in fits of laughter with hilarious tales of his short-lived teaching career and run-ins with overzealous waiters. His use of imaginary objects was of particular personal amusement.

With the 1,500-strong crowd now sufficiently refreshed with cheap alcohol and looking jollier, Hutchinson made way for the main attraction to an encouraging noise of cheers and claps having played his part well. Ramsey started his set with a simple ice-breaker kind of game with a big fluffy dice, but unfortunately the dice landed with people who were either pretty dull or unwilling to engage in conversation with a comedian.

I was slightly crestfallen by the opening sequence, but the show went on and as it did Ramsey seemed to grow in confidence - weird anecdotes from previous stand-up gigs looked like good improvisation too. Rattling off jokes at breakneck pace, he tries to power through his set but things are a tad scrambled and he has to apologise for being quite rusty; Ramsey says it has been 17 days since his last gig. One audience member who has an incredible on-going case of the hiccups for two years actually seemed to aid and hinder him in equal amounts. When Ramsey was firing off quick-witted gags like a human machine-gun a small squeak from the teenage girl in the front row would put him off. But it also rescued him a couple of times when he looked to have hit a cul-de-sac in his diatribe. The recurring theme of how lucky we are to exist was then back up with a paraphrasing of Bill Bryson’s scientific book ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’ and Ramsey followed this up by speaking of his near fatal incidents as a child and focussed on his relationship with his Dad.

By this time his set had overrun but the audience didn’t seem to notice as Ramsey leaned into the audience, emptying his mind of jokes and gaining the full attention of the whole crowd. His finale consisted of a skydive video which Ramsey had done a voice over to and related back to a recurring joke in the set.

In reflection the night was good fun, and for £8 a ticket is was good value too considering there was a quality support act alongside a rusty but undoubtedly talented Chris Ramsey.

 

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