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[Image courtesy of Greg Stewart]
Many a Comedy Chord reader and many of our writers are budding comedians so, in the run up to the Edinburgh Fringe we shall be asking established comedians for tips of the trade that they have picked up on the circuit. We’ll be providing a series of these articles and hope all budding comedians find words of wisdom here or something that convinces them that it’s by no means time to throw in the towel.
Wandering through the emblazoned walls of graffiti dominating the North Lanes (my personal favourite is John Peel on The Prince Albert), it would be fair to say that it’s hard to imagine a more Bohemian or fitting platform for a music festival introducing new and raw music to the British public and media. It surely is the only festival where quiff combing hipsters, impressive taches, mutton chops, Mohawks, skin designs of various size and colour, ball gowns, tiaras and Edwardian three piece suits rub along nicely. It’s hard not to hit the instagram trigger every minute that you are soaking in this mercurial atmosphere and harder still not to be seduced into a café-dwelling, people-watching haze and forget you are there to review music…ur hem…Even those without a formal stage, busking in whatever vacant space the heaving pavement will allow them are of an impressive standard. Although not always appreciated by the office workers above, this amplified madness sets the scene nicely for The Great Escape. Brighton itself and the many varied venues such as the dark basements of The Haunt, the outdoor picnic feel of the bullet stage in Jubilee Sq to the chandeliered decadence of The Old Ship’s Pagannini Ballroom give you an idea of the breadth and depth of the musical tastes on offer from the whimsical Estonian folk gems of Ewert and The Two Dragons to the raw punk ranting of Parquet Courts. Over the next few articles I will be bringing the reviews and the recommendations to your attentions and attempting to catch up with a few of the amazing artists on offer at the moment. On with the show…………..
Most people know Jessie Cave as the charming Lavender Brown from Harry Potter And the Half-Blood Prince, but it’s definitely worth getting to know Jessie Cave – stand-up comedian. She did stand-up for the first time in November 2011 and did a full Edinburgh run with her first show, Bookworm. It sold out quickly,
It was already a sold out charity show at the Bloomsbury Theatre featuring my all time favourite stand-up, Michael McIntyre. I was so lucky to get a ticket. I had begged for a ticket from anyone that I knew, in any and every charity that could help get me a ticket. Eventually, I heard there were a few standing room only tickets…boom! I was in like Flynn. We had to stand but it was worth it.
This Is Your Laugh comedy nights will be venturing up to the Edinburgh Fringe for the first time this year, going under the moniker of This Is Your Trial. The event organiser, David Allison, has so far planned five shows between the 5th and the 9th of August which will be staged at comedian Bob Slayer’s new Fringe venue, Bob’s Bookshop. The event is currently being financed by means of a Kickstarter crowdfunding page. and there are still a few days for you to help fund this great, unique comedy event so all help is more than worthwhile.
Doug Segal is one of a new breed of entertainers known as mentalists. He gets compared to Derren Brown a lot but as well as boggling your mind, Doug also has a comedic element to the show which many people find makes it even more enjoyable.
His 2012 Show, How to Read Minds and Influence People, won many awards including Best Cabaret at Brighton Fringe and a Three Weeks Editors Award for being one of the ten best things (out of 2,700) at the Edinburgh Fringe and so I put it to him that his star was on the rise.
First Dog on the Moon (real name: Andrew Marlton) may not be known to audiences outside Australia (and indeed, to a large number of uninformed Australians as well), but ignorance here is no longer bliss. Cartoonist for the website Crikey, First Dog has taken time out of his busy schedule of scrawling and shaping daily toon-based missives to tour his first show, ‘Cartoobs and other Typos.’
Cartoobs is a wander through the mind of one of Australia’s unsung political satirists. I write ‘unsung,’ but the man could easily print ‘Acclaimed Journalist’ on his business cards without feeling a pang of conscience. It seems that he likes a challenge, and just to make us all wonderfully jealous, has embarked upon his first Comedy Festival Show, made possible by crowd-funding site Pozible.
While his cartoons are the only reason why a sane and balanced mind opens up the Crikey daily newsletter of an afternoon, does his stand up (pardon me here) stand up? To this question that I have just posed myself, I answer: yes. Resoundingly so. Unlike some acts who deliver a whizzbang of lights and sounds and noise to bamboozle the senses into a form of pre-epileptic submission, First Dog wisely chose to deliver ‘Cartoobs’ via PowerPoint. In a small room in a hotel where there would be nothing to mask the shame of an unprepared comedian or an unfunny joke. It’s fortunate that he has the comedy to back up the chutzpah because it was a hoot.
Cute cartoons, cat photos and a whole lot of false bravado were cleverly interwoven with heart-warming tales of feminism and family and then booted home as he sang Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ whilst playing a ukulele and wearing a bandicoot’s tail and ears.
Few grown men would do that, and even fewer during their debut Comedy Festival show. But First Dog, clearly isn’t your typical grown man (or dog). And for that we can be thankful, as we wouldn’t have had the hour of joy that was ‘Cartoobs and Other Typos’ if he was.
Accents can make anything funny, which is why Dave Hughes and Billy Connolly can always get a crowd giggling even with the most mundane of observations. It helps too, if your lovely Irish brogue is accompanied by a cutting wit and miniature keyboard skills. David O’Doherty’s 2013 MICF show ‘Seize the David O’Doherty’ is chock-full with songs, puns and a surprising number of self-deprecating anecdotes from one of the UK’s most successful comedians on tour.
From the moment the introduction began ringing out over the Forum Theatre (a large plush venue with allocated seating, for those playing along at home), the crowd was O’Doherty’s for the taking. ‘Seize the David O’Doherty’ is meant to be a life-affirming hour where he aims to fix the world. If anything, O’Doherty proves that he doesn’t even need to provide genuine solutions—he does a lot of good just rolling around the world generating belly laughs. Like Patch Adams if he were actually funny (and Irish, and not a doctor).
O’Doherty’s trademark is the rollicking good show that is a little unstructured and flits between topics. Here he is as disorganised as ever, but it’s why we’ve come to love him: The man can make a good joke out of anything. Or a silly song with good jokes which is just as great. If you don’t believe me, consider one of the show’s final pieces: a song about a man wanking on a bike. If you can construct one joke that doesn’t require an obvious rhyme, like ‘banking,’ then I suggest you close this page and get to the Edinburgh Fringe, stat. Comic geniuses are in short supply; they’ll be needing you this year.
‘Seize the David O’Doherty’ is naturally meant to be a show all about positive thinking and bouncing back after a relationship breakup and depression.
While it is very much so a peppy affair, it largely really ends up being about how great he is.
Not in the content itself (typically, O’Doherty is caustic about his own self and inability to attract the opposite sex: “People see me and think: Wow, Chris O’Dowd has let himself go!” he says at one point, rather incorrectly), but the overall Carpe O’Diem experience reveals just how funny, interesting and amusing he is.
Rapid-fire jokes sent a delighted audience into raptures, and I believe I did not stop laughing until the very end when I had to run to catch a train. Emergency pulls on my drink were necessary to ensure that I made it out of there alive, but there certainly are worse ways to die. A bit of CPR from one of the funniest comedians on tour today truly would be the Kiss of Life.
‘Seize the David O’Doherty,’ proves that David O’Doherty is getting better and better with every year that passes.
London born Gina Yashere has had a very successful carreer in the UK. Having made many appearances on Mock the Week, Live at the Apollo, The Lenry Henry Show, and winning multiple awards over the years does make her a successful comic in anyones’ mind but her intense drive to take her career even further has paid off as she has further established herself in America. Having been in America for a number of years now, she became a finalist on NBC’s Last Comic Standing, made several appearances on Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien and even became the first British comedian to feature on the famous Def Comedy Jam.
Andrew Maxwell just returned from the Altitude festival, where some of the world’s best comedians take turns skiing, snowboarding, drinking and doing comedy shows. Andrew is the co-founder of the event, which takes place every year, and he has joined Comedy Chords for a quick chat.