Comedy Awards 201714 January
There's still time to vote for your favourite comedy shows of 2017 in the Comedy.co.uk awards. Covering ten categories across TV and radio. Nominees include Tracey Ullman's Show, GameFace, White Gold, Detectorists, Catastrophe, Tracey Breaks The News, Keep Calman Carry On, Car Share, Austentatious and many, many more...Shortlists were compiled from public votes for each programme on comedy.co.uk last year. Final voting round closes 27th January 2018 midnight and winners announced 29th January.
Best New TV Sitcom
Best Returning TV Sitcom
Best Radio Sitcom
Best TV Sketch Show
Best Radio Sketch Show
Best TV Panel Show
Best Radio Panel Show
Best TV Entertainment Show
Best Radio Entertainment Show
Best TV Comedy Drama
Bah Humbug!04 December
Christmas is coming so let's all get in the spirit like these festive hooligans...
“Christmas, here again. Let us raise a loving cup; Peace on earth, goodwill to men, and make them do the washing up.” – Wendy Cope
"Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people only once a year.” – Victor Borge
"A lovely thing about Christmas is that its compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together” - Garrison Keillor
"That’s the true spirit of Christmas; people being helped by people other than me.” Jerry Seinfeld
“I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store, and he asked for my autograph.” – Shirley Temple
"Arent we forgetting the true meaning of Christmas? You, know, the birth of Santa.” - Matt Groening
“Who’s the bane of Santa’s life? The elf and safety officer.” – Catherine Tate
“The one thing women don’t want to find in their stockings on Christmas morning is their husband.” – Joan Rivers
“Christmas sweaters are only acceptable as a cry for help.” - Andy Borowitz
“Next to a circus there ain’t nothing that packs up and tears out faster than the Christmas spirit.” – Frank McKinney Hubbard
Women in Comedy27 September
October is a good month for women in comedy, especially if you’re a new face. With the Women in Comedy Festival taking place across Greater Manchester from 19th to 29th, with a line-up which is focused on new talent including Jane Postlethwaite, Janice Perry, Harriet Dyer, Maisie Adam and Daphna Baram and several open mic opportunities. And this year they’ve combined forces with the Funny Women Awards 2017, so you can kill several birds with one stone (if you’ll excuse the bad pun). Heats for the FW Stage Award will be running throughout the festival with regional finals and the big charity final taking place in the new year. There’s also a writing competition - Category 1: a three minute comedy sketch or monologue; Category 2: Humorous Short Story of less than 1,000 words – so get your funny on quickly because the closing date is 12th October and the prizes will be CA$H-money. I could bang on about why there is still a need for a gender-specific comedy prize and festival (despite the rise and rise of new big name comedy acts like Sarah Pascoe, Bridget Christie and Pippa Evans, there is still a lamentable gender-imbalance across comedy as a whole) but let's hope the acts will speak for themselves and those birds kill it in Manchester.
New guest curator16 March
We are delighted to announce the start of Funny Women's 6 month residency as guest curator of MIMOtv. Funny Women is the UK's leading female comedy community, best known for the Funny Women Awards, a talent contest which has nurtured and launched some fantastic talent onto the mainstream stand-up comedy circuit including Bridget Christie, Katherine Ryan, Andi Osho and Sarah Millican.
Founded by Lynne Parker in 2002, Funny Women's mission is to help women find their voice through performing, writing and using humour in business and everyday life. They run comedy workshops, weekend events and conferences in London, Manchester, Brighton and Edinburgh on stand up, comedy writing, improvisation, sketch and character, and ‘Time of the Month’ a scratch night to try out new comedy ideas. They also get behind upcoming new comedy acts on screen and the internet through their Comedy Shorts award and writing awards, which is why they are such a perfect partner. Over the next few months (while Imo is on maternity leave) they will be curating the video content and bringing new opportunities to the MIMOtv community.
TV Comedy Picks 201717 January
It’s that time of year when it’s hard to drag yourself off the sofa to venture out into the dreak night. But while your social life may suffer, the good news is there is plenty to entertain you on the box. Yes TV can save you! So here are ten of the best of the comedy series and serials to look forward to in 2017...
1. Series 3 of Uncle has started in BBC3, an immediately addictive sitcom about an unlikely alliance between an immature, out-of-work musician and his sensible schoolboy nephew who decide to set up a band. Starring comedian Nick Helm and 30 Rock star Daisy Haggard and written by newcomer Oliver Refson. All three series are available on iPlayer for 6 months. More
2. Witless returns to BBC3 on 25th January. In the first series of this highly original comedy, flatmates Leanne and Rhona are placed in witness protection after witnessing a gangland killing, putting even more strain on an already creaking relationship. Brilliant comedy double-act from Kerry Howard and Zoe Boyle. More..
3. Decline and Fall: We can’t wait for the spring release of BBC Two’s three-part adaptation of the Evelyn Waugh’s classic 1928 satirical novel. Jack Whitehall would appear to be well cast as Paul Pennyfeather, an inoffensive divinity student at Oxford University who is wrongly dismissed for indecent exposure having been made the victim of a prank by The Bollinger Club.
And further ahead...
4. We're looking forward to a new Channel 4 sitcom Morning Has Broken in which Julia Davis stars. Gail Sinclair is "Queen of Daytime television" when things start to go wrong for her. Nick Mohammed and David Schwimmer also star in this satirical sitcom about topical tv news show.
5. Little Big Lies – Sky Atlantic: HBO’s much-anticipated, big budget comedy drama about motherhood with an all-star cast including Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Alexander Skarsgard and Laura Dern. The director of the brilliant Dallas Buyers Club takes on this adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s bestselling novel.
6. Well, this is going to be interesting. Graham Linehan and Adam Buxton have penned The Cloud, a dystopian sitcom set on a data space station in orbit around the earth. The job of the hapless crew (which includes Buxton) is to protect the mostly mindless data stored "in the cloud" on an unreliable voice-activated space ship.
7. White Gold is a new BBC Two sitcom from the creator of The Inbetweeners Damion Beesley which tells the legend of a bunch of double-glazing salesmen from Essex in 1983. Expect dodgy dealings and sales aplenty, plus loadsa drugs, sex and filthy lucre.
8. Urban Myths has already made big news when Sky Arts were forced to cancel the episode where Liz Taylor goes on a roadtrip with Michael Jackson and Marlon Brando, due to a major objection from the Jackson progeny who considered Joseph Fiennes’ portrayal of their dad “insulting”. The seven other one-off shows will "look at remarkable stories from well known cultural figures, which may or may not have happened in real life..." eg. Cary Grant and Timothy Leary on LSD and Hitler at art school.
9. Hooray! Channel 4’s deliciously dark, dysfunctional family comedy Flowers is back this year. Series One opened with Maurice, depressed dad and author of gothic children’s books, trying to kill himself and then having to cover up his failed suicide from his family. Where will Series Two take the bonkers Flowers family? Stars Olivia Colman.
10. 2017 is the year Motherland gets a full series release, after the success of its BBC Two pilot. With an A-star writing team including Graham Linehan, Sharon Horgan and Holly Walsh, this is a sitcom about the guilt-ridden trials and tribs of middle-class motherhood, that centres around a cabal of so-called ‘Alpha Mums’ headed up by Amanda (Lucy Punch). With Anna Maxwell-Martin as the harassed mum-of-two who will never join the club. More...
Beyond a Joke? Top Ten Trump spoofs15 November
If, like me, you've spent the last couple of weeks jaw-jammed-open, unable-to-compute and scrambling for the ‘Eject’ button as we contemplate The Triumph of Idiocy (Trump reinvents Fascism as showbiz), The Scourge of the So-Called ‘Liberal Elite’ and, frankly, what feels like The End of Western Civilization and possibly The World… then you may be in need of some light entertainment. And since we can’t get away from that blonde, blue-eyed, arse-faced Neanderthal, we may as well try to see the funny side of him. So here it is: those Top Trump comedy videos you’ve been waiting for…
Top Ten Trump Impersonations: compiled by WatchMojo
Donald Trump Interviews Himself In the Mirror: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. The Donald appears as his mirror image. “Me interviewing Me? That’s genius.”
Donald Trump's Next Wife: Angelina Jolie? @midnight with Chris Hardwick. With the news that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are getting divorced, Donald Trump (Anthony Atamanuik) sees an opportunity for his next conquest.
Donald Trump Sabotages His Wife Melania’s Interview, courtesy of The Key of Awesome
Melania Trump On Her Life, Marriage And 2016: Morning Joe, MSNBC. This is a real interview but has to be seen!
Trump vs. Bernie in the First Ever @midnight Presidential Debate, courtesy of Comedy Central
Donald Trump's Phone Call with Hillary Clinton: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Featuring the actual Hillary Clinton.
The World's Greatest Troll: the Humor of Donald Trump, courtesy of This Information. This is no spoof and the voiceover is a bit weird but the footage of Trump performing in a panto, disco dancing and trolling politicians and the media is worth it.
Funny Women Comedy Shorts Award29 September
MIMOtv was delighted to be on the judging panel for this year's Funny Women Comedy Shorts Award and it was great that this year the prize money was equally weighted between the stage award, shorts and writing. The winner, announced at the Funny Women Awards on 28th September to a packed house at KOKO, Camden, was Carolyn Goodyear for her bitter-sweet short Ambition. It was a tough choice as there was a great variety of styles and the other finalists Christine Entwistle (Manhunt), Lolly Jones (Tinder Finger) and Kirsty Mann (Mary Berry's Little Lamb) were so brilliant. Sponsored by Benefit, this was a fantastic opportunity for budding writers / directors and performers to showcase their funny short and win £2000 (plus £250 in Benefit products which should at least cover the make-up budget for their next film). It was refreshing to see a musical comedy act win the Funny Women stage award too: hats off to Harriet Braine for her kooky and beautifully performed art-history inspired ditties. Also congrats to Carol Walsh who took the Comedy Writing Award for Savages.
Best of the Fringe05 September
The Edinburgh Fringe is over for another year. Sad but phew! Foot rubs and hot tubs all round. Despite wearing out several pairs of shoes, we still only managed to get to a fraction of the shows we wanted to see, but you can read all about what our resident reviewer Nina Millns did at the Fringe in the Mimo Blog. Meanwhile, critics have been poring over which were the best shows. But, guess what? Everyone has a different view. So for your convenience we’ve done a round-up of the top ten “most critically acclaimed” shows and where to see them next...
Richard Gadd: Monkey see, monkey do
This brave and visceral piece of personal theatre based on Gadd’s experience of sexual abuse took this year’s Fosters Edinburgh Comedy Award.
James Acaster: Reset
Despite just missing the Edinburgh Comedy Award (for the fourth time – aw!) critics gave Acaster’s brilliant stand-up show five stars.
Bridget Christie: Because you Demanded It
We love the fact that she delivered a completely different show to what was on the billing (‘Mortal’) in the wake of the Brexit vote. And she still got five stars. Just what we’d expect from the super-talented, versatile and socially acute siren.
Mark Watson: I’m Not Here
The Times called it 'Terrifyingly funny’, a bit of shocking hyperbole which must be qualified by seeing this show in the flesh. Luckily it’s touring until December
Nish Kumar: Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Unless You Shout the Words Real Loud
A sell-out show from the unstoppable joke machine about history, democracy and capitalism.
Katherine Ryan: Work in Progress
It was titled ‘work in progress’ but by now it has been honed into a razor sharp, masterclass in stand-up from the Canadian comediva.
See her next at the Hobgoblin festivals
Daniel Kitson. Mouse - The Persistence of an Unlikely Thought
Daniel Kitson can do no wrong (despite having lost most of his hair). Audiences raved about his new show which takes familiar themes like friendship and loneliness, doubt and hope and turns them inside out. No current gig dates but join his mailing list
Lolly Adefope: Lolly 2
Upcoming character comedienne Lolly is everyone’s freshest new face to watch after the success of her Fringe show.
Colin Hoult / Anna Mann: A Sketch Show for Depressives
Upcoming gigs: http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/artist/colin-hoult-tickets/892151
Norris & Parker: See You at the Gallows
Hotly anticipated sketch and character comedy from the dark side which lived up to the hype. Don’t go into the woods tonight…
Kieran Hodgson: Maestro
28-year-old Comedy Award nominee Hodgson tells of his decade long struggle to write a symphony inspired by Gustave Mahler. Utterly original and brilliant.
Catch him in Pick of the Fringe this month in London
Nina Millns' Fringe Diary Week 427 August
Lazy Susan: Crazy Sexy Fool: Where / When: Pleasance Courtyard; 19:15
This charismatic female duo are back with another offering of character comedy and sketch. Starting the show wearing giant bear heads, they re-enact a typical heist movie through mime to hilarious effect. What follows is a delightful series of oddball characters beautifully observed with many hilarious asides and one-liners that make these two stand out from the sea of comedy duos up at the fringe. Both women are endearing and talented individually, but the real magic comes from their great connection. From the well-observed Youtube stars giving vacuous advice to young women, to the wannabe pop star and her best friend rapper, the jaded northern DCI and the brilliantly executed American, womanising anchor man and his long-suffering female reporter the Susans were a pleasure to watch.
Zazu: Raisins To Stay Alive: When / Where: 3rd - 29th August; 18:15; Gilded Balloon
This talented comedy foursome present a show about the end of world in the strange parallel universe of zazU. What follows is an increasingly surreal collection of scenes and characters performed brilliantly by all four performers - including a talking monkey, a Liverpudlian mermaid and a strange oracle that also sells bric a brac. The story is a little weak at times and the surreal genre is taken to the extreme, but the sheer talent, energy and charisma of the actors makes this unique hour a pleasure to experience.
Revan And Fennell: When / Where: 4th - 28th August; 12:05; Just the Tonic at the Caves
This double act are back with a new selection of comedy sketches at the Caves, this time showcasing more than just their comedy timing, including dancing and singing skills to great effect. In a sketch that stood out from the others, a strong-voiced backing singer slowly but surely overtakes the performance of a Whitney Houston song to hilarious effect. The clowning and originality of that particular piece making them strong contenders on the comedy scene. Other amusing characters included Eastenders actors contending with an over-eager percussionist and a pretentious dinner party host attempting to impress her hipster guests with increasingly ridiculous trends and vocations. A delightful serving from this great comedy duo.
Ria Lina: Dear Daughter; When / Where: Gilded Ballon Teviot; 3rd-29th August; 21:15
Ria Lina has always had a way of getting the audience onside from the first and her new show is no exception. Her mix of effortless wit, impossibly quick quips and intelligence make for yet another impressive show and her musings on what is not an obvious choice for a comedy show - death - are both entertaining and thought provoking. Sharing personal anecdotes, incorporating clever comedy songs and imagined letters to her daughter, this is a delightful hour in the presence of a comic talent that is going from strength to strength.
The Kagools When / Where: Just The Tonic Caves; 4th-28th August; 17:15
The silent comedy duo are back with another offering of entertaining, boundary-pushing physical comedy. They push audience participation to the limit, at one point spitting their chewed up Skittles into an audience member's hand and soaking us at regular intervals. But the genius is their use of multi-media elements that makes them stand out from any other clown duo on the circuit. impressively designed, choreographed and realised, these elements add a unique touch that was both surprising and delightful.
NINA MILLNS' FRINGE DIARY WEEK 318 August
IT'S THEA-SKOT IN HERE When / Where: Cowgatehead; 6th-27th August 20:45
Alison Thea-Skot is back with a plethora of eccentric new characters for our bemusement and delight. She starts the show as Cher who has morphed into a bat and has the vocal chords of a young Transylvanian. And it only get wierder. From the gospel preacher who is also a doner kebab, to a Scandinavian DCI with leaking nipples and a two-headed 50's film star, the audience watches as Skot munches her way through a pepperami, hurls biscuits at the audience and pours water over herself, all the time giggling along at the mayhem. And such is Skot's charm and talent that the audience was alongside the whole way. She truly comes into her own in the moments of increasingly bizarre audience participation and improvisation, but mention must also be made for the clever skits that included Where's Wally's long-suffering girlfriend and an internet dating-themed horror story complete with torchlight. Another messy, crazy, thrilling ride with this remarkable talent, not to be missed.
ANNA MORRIS: IT'S GOT TO BE PERFECT: When / Where: Voodoo Rooms; 6-28th August; 15:55
Anna Morris is back as hilarious Tory bridezilla Georgina and she does not disappoint. Capitalizing on a successful year that has seen the character have a sell-out run at the Fringe and become a Youtube sensation, Morris starts the show with an X-Factor style video before arriving onstage herself to charm, manipulate, boss and threaten the audience into making her wedding day perfect. The turns of phrase, superficial values and priorities are accurately observed and the updated political references make the piece even more relevant and topical. Her quick-witted, sharp improvised repartees with the audience were a delight, but the clincher was the ending, a great twist that revealed the deeper message belying Morris' piece and gave this joyful journey a meaningful element. I highly recommend you catch this popular show.
NINA MILLNS' FRINGE DIARY week 213 August
ISLE OF EDNA: G STREET: When / Where: The Mash House, Just The Tonic 4th-28th August; 19:00
New comedy duo Isle Of Edna bring their show G Street to Just The Tonic's Caves. It is a clever, witty, multi-sensorial character comedy show that explores the effects of gentrification on a community through recurring, all-too-familiar archetypal characters, such as the Working Mum versus the Stay At Home Mum, the Spoken Word Poet spouting his fury at the changing neighbourhood through questionable rhyme, and, of course, the Hipsters with their increasingly absurd beards searching for the trendiest new spot to hang out in only to ridicule it immediately in order to maintain their street cred. Mention must also be made of the middle class woman who converts a public toilet into an artisan bakery and the pensioner, depicted in puppet form, who is on a heartbreaking quest to buy a rivet only to find that every local shop has been transformed into a DIY-themed club with no actual rivets to be bought. The puppetry, music, colour and audience participation give the piece a Sesame Street feel which cleverly invokes a sense of nostalgia and makes the message underlying this comedy piece all the more poignant - how many local communities, familiar faces and safe spaces have been priced out by gentrification and how long before Sesame Street itself really does become G Street? A beautifully envisioned, energetically performed piece by a fresh comedy.
COLIN HOULT / ANNA MANN: A SKETCH SHOW FOR DEPRESSIVES When / Where: Pleasance Courtyard, 3rd-28th August; 1900
Colin Hoult plays depressed, narcistic, over 25 Actress Anna Mann who giudes us through a series of characters inspired (or rather stolen) from her group therapy sessions. Accompanied by her dishy male dancers dressed in skin-tight body suits, Anna depicts each character with a tenuous change of costume, an amateur set and questionable scene changes. And it is brilliant. Beneath the faux-amateurishness, are some well-observed and nuanced characters, performed with effortlessly witty and often surreal asides to the audience. Anna messes up the big finale by cueing it in at the beginning instead so that the end is a rather muddled mess with no clear conclusion about depression or how to over come it. And of course under all the silliness and mess is a more serious message that peeps through in moments like whne Anna describes how every doctor and health professional seems to prescribe the same thing for depression: Running. Complete with disastrous forum theatre, terrible make up and bad rapping, Anna's show is a messy delight.
Nina Millns' Fringe Diary10 August
THE GLENDA J COLLECTIVE; When/Where: Pleasance Dome 5th August
Giants of the improv scene Josie Lawrence, Cariad Lloyd, Pippa Evans and Ruth Bratt came together for a magical one-night-only evening of impressively sharp, quick-witted play. Each one gave a masterclass in improvisation: from Evans and Bratt’s impromptu sketch based around different varieties of romantic ham, to Lawrence’s impressive improvised songs and Lloyd’s evil Lorraine Kelly who controls the minds of her viewers with subliminal messages, the laughter did not subside. A joy to watch and an inspiring start to this year’s festival.
RACHEL PARRIS “BEST LAID PLANS” ;When/Where: Pleasance Dome 3rd – 28th August; 18.50
Edinburgh fave Rachel Parris is back with her new one-woman show that includes not only the very best of her comedy songs, performed with aplomb on her electric piano, but also an intimate journey through the last year of her life, which has been marked by considerable upheaval. Part musical comedy, part moving personal account, the star of Austentatious and Murder In Successville made the audience simultaneously laugh and cry with catchy songs such as “Freeze Your Eggs” and, my personal favourite, “Hen Do On A Train”, as well as reading aloud her increasingly inappropriate correspondence with Jo from the Samaritans. A raw, honest account of a less than perfect life that so many can identify with. Parris won the audience over without falling into sentimentality.
TRACY; When/Where: Med Quad Underbelly 10th - 29th August (except 20th) 1:45pm
Sophie Morgan-Price returns her acclaimed supermarket comedy to the Fringe and it does not disappoint. The Welsh actor/writer gives a hilarious performance as Tracy, a frustrated, aggressive middle-manager who has been consistently overlooked for promotion. As she in turn bullies, patronises and seduces her team members, the audience are treated to an ingenious script interspersed with physical comedy and tightly contained moments of improvisation that delights.
MIMOtv's Nina Millns is performing in her own show 'Help' at Just the Tonic @Mash House
Edinburgh Shortlist19 July
This year’s Edinburgh Fringe for the entire month of August promises to be fabulous, fun-packed and frothing at the mouth with funny females. If we were to list all the hot comedy events that we’d like to see, it would convey us all the way from Kings Cross to Edinburgh central and we wouldn't get there 'til Christmas, so we’ve had to be selective. Ergo we’ve left stand-up, storytelling and musical comedy out of our shortlist and zeroed in on exciting new writing, sketch and character comedy and, of course, MIMOtv’s marvellous muses...
Click on the links for venue info. So here goes: incomplete and in no particular alphabetical order…
Critically acclaimed comedy actress Alice Marshall (BBC Radio 4 Extra) presents her hotly anticipated debut solo show. She unveils a collection of weird, wonderful and truly vicious characters in a riotous hour of all things malicious...
Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes play basketball against aliens. Over 100,000 subscribers and 11 million hits on YouTube. Hilarious sketch comedy. 'Uproarious, high-octane comedy'...
The Dudes have a mission: to make you laugh. Hard. And they will stop at nothing. Winners of the Best Newcomer Award at Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival 2016, these four award-winning comics present a joyful hour of sketches that are surreal, topical and exuberantly silly. Expect dancing and false moustaches...
The stars of BBC Radio 4’s The Croft & Pearce Show and Spirit of the Fringe award-winners return with ‘a laugh-out-loud sketch show’ (Daily Express). A BBC’s Next Big Thing act 2015, they’ve sold out theatres in London, New York and around the UK...
Star of BBC's Murder in Successville and Being Human, Colin Hoult returns as the delightful character Ms Anna Mann in a show to put down your black dog at last or at least chuck him a bone...
After last year’s critically acclaimed debut, Emma Sidi is back and with her she’s bringing passionate, obsessive and revengeful character comedy. Think Mexican passion, soap operatic pain and transglobal heartache...
Irish comedy, potato, potato, potato. [...] potato, you racist. Ireland's top comedy trio. Sold out Edfringe 2009-2015...
“Welcome to our self-help seminar where you will find yourself – help us to help you. You will be touched, physically and spiritually, by a plethora of specialist gurus covering all aspects of your life – love, money, channelling your inner animal…” from upcoming London comedy duo Bae...
In an #upandcoming neighbourhood near you – four doors down from the betting shop, nestled between a pop-up patisserie and a pet taxidermy cafe – lies a community centre. Duo, Isle of Edna, invite you to become a resident of gentrified G Street...
An explosion of gag-stuffed sketches and unhinged characters from this mischievous man-child. Star of UK improv sensations Austentatious and Racing Minds, Daniel's going it alone with a thunderbolt of daft and electrifying comedy curveballs...
Following last year’s five-star smash-hit Some Like It Thea-Skot, ‘comic monster’ (Chortle.co.uk) Alison Thea-Skot is back with another hour of chaotic character comedy...
Fresh from their hit Australian tour, UK silent comedy duo, The Kagools, return to Edinburgh Fringe. Expect the usual award-winning combination of physical comedy and interactive film as your weatherproofed guides take you on a brand new adventure...
After a critically acclaimed Edinburgh run and sell-out Soho Theatre show, seasoned lunatic Marny Godden returns with another 'sublimely silly show' (Times). An hour of pure, joyful idiocy from one of comedy’s most loved buffoons. Featuring a ragtag collection of characters including an prancing pup, a clog-wielding prophet and a toothless twit...
Kill a few birds with one stone. Critically acclaimed sketch groups Massive Dad ('performed with flair' **** Guardian), Lazy Susan (Fosters Best Newcomer nominees) and Birthday Girls ('excellently executed' **** BroadwayBaby.com) are joining forces for one week only...
Award-winning double act, Revan and Fennell, return to the Fringe after making their critically acclaimed Edinburgh debut last year. 2016 New Act of the Year finalists, 2015 Foster’s Golden Jester finalists and 2013 Best New Sketch Act finalists...
The sketch comedy quartet return to the Fringe with a show that addresses the burning issue affecting provincial communities across Middle England: the village pavilion...
Devastatingly original character comedy duo Róisín and Chiara are ‘a pair of improvising geniuses’ and Ones to Watch 2016 (Funny Women). Wild at Heart is ‘unmissable’ ***** (BroadwayBaby.com)...
This is the story of the end of the world. Not this world, another world. 'Side-splittingly funny' (BroadwayBaby.com), surreal storytellers zazU return with their most epic show yet. Set in their strange new land of alternate laws and eccentric inhabitants, this show brings together new characters and old favourites to face the greatest threat zazU has ever encountered...
TO BE CONTINUED...
Caroline Aherne: best character quotes04 July
She was, quite simply, one of the best character comediennes we have ever known: Mrs Merton and Denise Royle were household legends and who remembers weather girl Poula Fisch (Scorcio!) from The Fast Show or that other inspired creation Sister Mary Immaculate from her early live show? She cleared a pathway and softened the ground for a whole new generation of female character acts to follow in her footsteps. We will not forget her. And what better way to remember than with a selection of her funniest lines:
As chatshow host Mrs Merton:
"What first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?" (with Debbie McGee, wife of late magician Paul Daniels)
Were you breast-fed, Carol Thatcher?"
"Tell me, Germaine [Greer], what is the difference between being sexually liberated in the Sixties and an old slapper now?"
"That's what I love about you, you're one of us... You're like a big film star, but you're still common as muck!" (To EastEnders actress Barbara Windsor)
"Do you ever think, if you hadn't done all that running around playing football, you wouldn't have been so thirsty?" (to dipsomaniac George Best)
As Denise Royale:
"I'm only not smoking in front of Baby David until he's old enough to get up and walk out of the room, then it's his choice."
As Checkout Girl on The Fast Show:
"Brown bread, very posh, keeps you regular though doesn’t it."
Best of Brexit: Funny Quotes, Tweets , Soundbytes23 June
In the EU Referendum debate we’ve seen desperate politicians stoop to the lower depths, the Tory party torn apart, and Corbynites and Cameroonies fighting tooth and nail for the same cause. We’ve heard some outrageous propaganda, personal insults and utter nonsense being hurled from both sides. And after £20M squandered, Britons are more confused than ever: 4% were undecided before the campaign started and in its last week that figures was 13%. To commemorate this fantastic farce, here's a selection of funniest Brexit moments in Tweets, quotes and soundbytes:
"Some say he thinks Brexit is a laxative. And for tax purposes is classified as a biscuit." Matt Leblanc commenting on a racing driver's turn in Top Gear.
“The Brexit is, to put it simple/ not like an ordinary pimple. /You take some cream, you put it on / a few days later it is gone.” Eugen Freund, MEP, Austria, raps on Last Week Tonight.
(Cartoon by Marian Kamensky)
“The island-man is lowbrow and subsists on fish in old newspapers that loses the odor of decay, partly with vinegar.” … “The Brit is a remote relative of the modern European. As a living fossil he lives on a few rainy islands in the North Sea - and in three pubs on Gran Canaria.” German comedian / presenter Dietmar Wischmeyer, on ZDF Heute Show (a show which claims to be ‘satirical’ but only boosts the stereotype that Germans aren’t funny).
“Brexit sounds like a cat food from LIDL.” Oliver Welke, co-presenter of the ZDF Heute Show. Is that even a joke or an observation about how shite their supermarkets are?
“OMG. Cooperation between nations?! The whole reason God gave us other countries is so we can have places to burn, plunder & destroy.” King Henry VIII (Twitter)
Boris Johnson has the “look and economic insight of Bamm-Bamm from The Flintstones." John Oliver, on HBO’s Last Week Tonight
“To those saying I interrupted BJ too much... It felt like being a fly heckling a steamroller, or twig trying to intervene with a waterfall.” Andrew Marr on grilling Boris Johnson (Twitter)
“Is it just me or is Boris floundering here? Not sure the bumble-bluster, kitten smirk, tangent-bombast routine is cutting through.” Ruth Davidson, Tory MP (Twitter)
(Spotted in a #Remain leaflet produced by StrongerIn proving desperation on both sides)
And we'll leave you with this image:
Brighton Fringe for a Day07 June
Quality can be hit and miss at the Brighton Fringe as emerging acts try out their material on a live audience before honing it for Edinburgh. Often the acts on the Free Fringe can be better than the ones who charge and they performed to packed rooms rather than audiences of six.
Cassie Atkinson: Supernumerary Rainbow @Caroline of Brunswick (free) Supernumerary Rainbow, we are told, is the title of an autobiographical play of Atkinson’s alter ego, a bit-part American actress who is addicted to everything, especially her own drama. She talks us through her unhappy acting career, providing a narrative vehicle for Atkinson’s other characters. Andy is a sound technician from Bolton (Atkinson’s home town) who’s convinced that Britpop couldn’t have happened without him. While his comedy potential doesn’t immediately smack you between the eyes, he gets funnier and funnier as he pulls 'interns' from his audience and gives them a dressing down. There was a tragicomic musical interlude with the ‘Great White Male’ who sings about the decline of his kind due to feminism (“I liked Ocado, I don’t want to downgrade to Sainsburys”). Atkinson’s last persona, a bonkers kids TV presenter called Lassie, is the most memorable: singing disturbing nursery songs and giving wildly inappropriate responses to children’s letters. She’s so wrong that she’s bang on. Atkinson is a terrific live performer and provocateur. Her often surreal writing feels original and spontaneous. She’s like a Jagermeister bomb with unpredictable side effects. The show could do with a little polishing though: maybe one character less and more material from Lassie? Incidentally, a supernumerary rainbow is a rainbow which doesn’t follow the usual pattern.
Chickass Comedy @Hobgoblin (part of the free fringe) was full to the gills. It positioned itself rather cleverly in the 6.15 warm-up slot which meant acts who were performing later could give the audience a taster. Sarah Iles makes a delightful host. On the one hand she’s a bubbly blonde from Croydon who you’d want to share dating stories with, on the other she’s a rapier-sharp musketeer. Tamar Broadbent was previewing her 'Get Ugly' show with two deliciously saucy songs about dating: the wonderful ‘Hipster Without a Cause’ (which I’d like to think is relevant to people who don’t leave in east London) and a graphic number about being caught unawares without having waxed for weeks (I had no idea there were so many euphemisms for m**f). Delightful light entertainment and she had some great gags going too. ‘Lucinda Jezebel Defunk’ then took the stage. (Hang on, isn’t that a hairy bloke in a wig?) It was of course none other than misogynist gangsta LJ Da Funk (aka New Comedian of the Year 2015 winner Zak Splijt), masquerading as a right-on Fe-Male Against The Patriarchy! His off-the-cuff set was made more hilarious by the fact that the front row was filled with a Gay Feminist Meetup group. His nervous hysterics were catching.
I had to slip off then to see a three man sketch group called Giants @Theatre Box: The Warren made up of former Oxford Revue presidents Barney, Will and David. Apparently they weren’t having a good night: they were down a man and had lost their ‘tech’ on the way down after dropping a Mac. That meant the audience had to close every sketch by calling out ‘Giants!’ and as their sketches were of the of the scatter gun spew everything out and see what sticks nature, while punchlines were anything but, it was not always easy to see where a sketch ended. If you check out their rather good YouTube videos you will see that irony their stock-in-trade but it this show felt unrehearsed. One or two sketches had great potential (the young Freud and the war correspondent reporting back to studio, which made ingenious use of delays in transmission), and they can clearly write but quite a lot of editing is needed to make this act giant.
At the end of a packed day, it was great to relax in the capable hands of Alison Thea-Skot, mistress of absurd character cabaret @Komedia. It wasn’t her new material (we have to wait a month for that) but her successful touring show 'Some Like It Thea Skot'. Her Celine Dion is a phenomenal force of nature (“I sang into his face until he went blind!”).She sings like a diva and clowns like Jim Carey. It’s a high octane opener to a hyperbolic, supersonic and hydroponic strength show. “Always Keep Your Dignity!” she admonishes her audience as the facilitator of the Respect Heartbreak Club. This skit required a level of crowd manipulation which only a pro could pull off - but she did. There were more hilarious creations like the pregnant Supergirl from Rhyll (“I fanny-farted a bus!”), a Blind Date skit and an increasingly surreal and semi-improvised chatshow segment with an apparently 400 year old diva. Thea-Skot is hot stuff.
call out for Sketches and Shortform24 May
MIMOtv has been asked to curate funny shortform (sketches, musical comedy skits, character blogs) to be broadcast on a certain TV channel accessible by satellite dish. As of NOW we are looking for fresh, funny material. Please send your submissions to Imogen imo(at)mimotv.tv with links to the content or alternatively upload it via SUBMISSIONS.
DEADLINE: 20th June
Katie on the Blog!28 April
These are some great comedy blogs which I discovered this week on my inter-ger-web-tic travels, by MIMOtv's resident small person Katie Pritchard...
1. Samantha Baines: "Funny poetry, travel and fashion. Written by Samantha Baines: actress, comedian and lactose intolerant tea drinker."
Do you like poetry? Do you like funny things? Well, Sam has fused them together to write some very funny poems about news stories, fashion, and travel pieces. It's a brilliant blog. And something a little bit different for those commutes!!
2. Elf Lyons
Join Elf in her blog, as she chats about the 'every day'. I wish every one of my days could be so funny and well written. Brilliant blog, it makes you feel like you have a new best friend!
3. "What's Wrong With Me Today?" By Zoë Tomalin and Siân Docksey
Find out about all the illnesses you never knew you had in this brilliant spoof of the British Health Service website!!
4. "Funnier Than That" by Carmen Ali
Join Carmen on her everyday adventures. This is a brilliantly chatty blog, giving you insight into the wonderful world of Carmen. A very positive blog about achieving your dreams, and about being able to laugh when things go wrong. We're really enjoying keeping up to date with Carmen's blog (real life)!!
5. "Sanderwiches" by Alice Sanders: "A blog in which all the world is related back to the sandwich. Please read the post with the recommended sandwich." This blog is definitely for a lunch time, as all the blogs should be served with a sandwich. A fantastic take on life. Some poems, some stories, some rantings, some ravings, but 100% sandwich.
Join Sophie on her hilarious blog, where she spends a lot of her time mocking the Internet. A great writer, Sophie's blog now makes me chuckle every time I see an ASOS t-shirt.
Well, I hope you've enjoyed my list!
Coming Comedy Happiness09 March
Good news for comedy festival junkies: no need to wait until August to smack yourself up. There’s a fest every month until the summer but you'd better get your seven league boots on as they’re opposite ends of the country. Here’s the dope…
Machynlleth, on the other hand, is not the most obvious place to host a festival. (Aside from all the fun that can be got out of its monstrously difficult pronunciation.) Yet despite its obscure location, it is gaining a reputation as the most intimate and compact quality comedy festivals. This year the curators have done a cracking job at pulling in some top billing, however, including: Isy Suttie, Trygve Wakenshaw, Harriet Kelmsley, Simon Munnery, Stewart Lee, Josh Widdicome, Mark Watson, Grainne Maguire and of course a bit of local talent. And when you’ve filled your belly full of laughs you can go hiking in them beautiful hills.
Udderbelly Festival has settled its enormous upside-down purple belly in on the Southbank for the summer and features a packed programme of comedy, circus and family entertainment. Acts include Adam Buxton, Alex Edelman, Abandoman, James Acaster, Nina Conti, Frisky & Mannish, Zoe Lyons, The Beta Males, Massive Lazy Girls, Jessie Cave: I loved her, Tom & Bec's Awesome Laundry and many more...
Comedy is just one limb of the Brighton Fringe but we think the sexiest. There are some tasty morsels this year and a lot of sell-out shows from Edinburgh such as Adrienne Truscott's Asking For It, Abandoman: Life & Rhymes, The Maydays Pitch a Show, the Casual Violence sketch troupe, plus Sarah Kendal, Alisdair Beckett, and many many more which we’re not going to list here because we found the programme too tiresome to navigate.
If you happen to be in the area, the Guildford Fringe has a rather lively comedy segment. MIMOtv’s Katie Pritchard, Abi Roberts, Aidan Goatley’s Joy of Retail and You Must Be Stoking comedy club.
New Year, New Comedy31 December
Three cheers for the nuuuuuu year! OK, let's make it ten... of the best live comedy shows to lighten your mood during the annual blue period...
1. Bill Bailey – Limboland (Vaudeville Theatre, London until 17 Jan) Last chance to see Bill Bailey’s Limboland in London on the tail end of its Christmas run. Effortlessly funny and ever-playful, Bailey treats us to some more personal myths, meandering gags and musical spoofs.
2. Sophie Hagan – Bubblewrap (1-6 Jan – Soho Theatre; 5-7 Feb – Criterion Theatre, Leicester). A bright new light on the stand-up scene, Hagan’s debut show is apparently about her teenage obsessions but also bravely tackles her mental health issues during those choppy years. It scooped the Best Newcomer Award at Edinburgh last year. cAtch it while you can in London or Leicester.
3. Nish Kumar - Long Word, Long Word, blah, blah, blah....I'm so Clever (Soho Theatre, 12-23rd Jan). The show with the preposterously long title won Kumar a Foster's Edinburgh Award in 2015. It’s full of smart, thought-provoking and relevant comments on the post-election political landscape. Kumar argues that comedy is a lefty art form.
4. Trygve Wakenshawe –Nautilius (Mon 11 - Sat 23 Jan, Soho Theatre, London). The follow-up to his cult sell-out physical comedies Kraken and Squidboy, if you don't already know this mad-cap mime artist from New Zealand, then this is your chance.
5. Sarah Millican: Outsider (National tour continues). South Shield’s most illustrious sister is a comedy force majeure. See the People’s Choice: Queen of Comedy (another one of medals) on tour until October 2016.
6. Sarah Kendall – A Day in October (22-27 Feb - Soho theatre; 8 Feb - Leicester Comedy Festival): In this hour-long narrative, Sarah takes audiences back to a day in October 1990, when her best friend died for exactly 11 seconds.
7. Eddie Izzard: Force Majeure Reloaded (18-20 Feb Palace Theatre, soho): Britain’s surrealist-in-chief has toured his epic show in 28 countries, performing it in four languages and in February he comes back to London for a few days. Don't miss it!
8. Frankie Boyle - Hurt like you’ve never been loved (18-19 Feb, Apollo Hammersmith and then on tour until March). The Glaswegian shock-jock hasn’t lost any of his fierceness but his return to stand-up after a couple of year’s sabbatical finds him apparently more sincere and political.
9. Seymour Mace: Niche as Fuck (5-15Jan, Soho Theatre). Mace’s off-the-wall showwon him a nomination for the Fosters Edinburgh award in 2014. This is London’s chance to see it again. Using puppetry, singing, giant props and a gameshow format, it’s delightfully stupid and inventive.
10. Twisted Loaf - Stale Mate (2-5 Mar, Soho Theatre): Twisted sisters Nina Smith and Libby Northedge have to be seen to be believed. Stale Mate is two parts clowning and physical comedy, one part-performance art and several parts insanity.
Musical Comedy Awards open for submissions29 October
Calling all musical comedy genii! Submissions are now open for the WeGotTickets Musical Comedy Awards 2016 but only until 13th December 2015. Now in its eighth year, the MCA is an annual competition to support, promote, expose and celebrate the best emerging musical comedians in the UK. Over the years the event has provided a launch pad to superstar acts like Frisky and Mannish (2009 Finalists), Abandoman (2010 winners) and Jay Foreman (Best Newcomer 2009 and now touring with Dave Gorman) and created a thriving independent platform to celebrate the artform that is musical comedy.
And here's how the cookie crumbles: after the entry deadline to enter has passed, the top 40 entrants will be selected by a panel of judges and entered into the heats stage. Fans of musical comedy can catch the heat on Saturday afternoons between January and March 2016 at the Phoenix in Cavendish Square (London), with the Quarter finals taking place on February 27th and March 5th and the semis on March 19th and 26th. The top prize for the winner is £500 with £300 for the 'audience favourite' and £200 for the WeGotTickets Best Newcomer. To enter you will need to post a link to your material on the MCA Facebook page and fill in an entry form.
For more info go to MCA website.
Season's best comedy24 September
As those long winter nights draw in, it’s a comfort to know there’s some decent comedy on the box and online. Something to get the circulation going as we do another lap on the sofa. So here it is: MIMOtv's round-up of the best comedies this season (in no particular order)...
1. Silent Comedy Season - Sky Arts (Thurs 9pm throughout September and on Catch Up)
Sky presents four one-off experimental comedies:
Brilliantman! Kevin Eldon stars as wannabe suburban superhero with Johnny Vegas as his sour-tempered landlady Mrs. Wardle and brilliant (woman) Jo Neary. It follows the adventures of humble council worker Ian Hedge who, having assumed his secret identity as Brilliantman, tangles with a variety of local characters including a mugger, a burglar and a potentially murderous parrot. Written by Eldon.
Ruby Robinson is a silent, physical comedy starring Kim Cattrall. It was written by Mike Wozniak, who plays the scheming nephew and his sadistic wife is played by character comedienne Cariad Lloyd. Ruby lives in a huge, isolated and dilapidated house with a troupe of unusual acrobat helpers that she has come to take for granted.
Three Kinds of Stupid is a three stooges style physical comedy starring Seann Walsh, Marek Larwood and Jocelyn Jee Esien, written by Chris Reddy. It follows the misadventures of three community police officers who befriend a blind man, played by Jim Moir (aka Vic Reeves). Things go badly wrong when one of the gang accidentally kills the blind man's guide dog with a prawn sandwich...
Rotters : Blending Oceans 11 with Dumb and Dumber, Rotters follows a blundering gang of idiots who attempt to rob an auction house owned by an antiques dealer, played by Frank Skinner. Continually stepping on each other's toes, the motley crew - played by Phil Burgers (aka 2013 Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Dr Brown), John Kearns, Sam Simmons, Lolly Adefope and Daniel Simonsen - battle against a dazzling array of security devices, a meddlesome traffic warden played by Pat Cahill and their own incompetence.
2. VEEP - Sky Atlantic 10.10pm (also on Sky Box,Amazon and Google)
Taking a sharp, satirical look at the insular world of Washington politics, Armando Iannucci's Emmy® nominated and Writers Guild Award winning HBO comedy (now in its 4th series) follows the whirlwind day-to-day existence of Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) as she puts out political fires in her public and private life. Radio Times has described it as "the tautest, snappiest, most vicious sitcom on TV". Cast includes Emmy® winner Tony Hale as Selina's devoted bodyman Gary and Anna Chlumsky, as Amy, her chief of staff.
3. BBC Three Comedy Feeds – pilots (online)
Comedy Feeds are part of a BBC Comedy and BBC Academy initiative to develop the next generation of comedy talent, both on and off screen. 2015 pilots available at the click of a mouse include the following assortment of comedy treats:
People Time (available until 18 Oct) is a character comedy sketch show written by and starring the new wave of Britain's comedy writer/performers including Jamie Demetriou, Natasia Demetriou, Daran Johnson, Claudia O'Doherty, Alastair Roberts, Ellie White and Liam Williams.
Fishbowl (until 11 Oct): After Hattie's disastrous first term at university her parents decide it's probably best to bring her home to recover... and the utter impossibility of escape.
Radges (until 4 Oct): Sitcom pilot set in a Scottish pupil referral unit. Mab deals with trying to get a new boyfriend before getting rid of the old one. Lauren tries to shake off unwanted attention.
4. Cradle to Grave - BBC2 Thurs 9pm
Peter Kaye is brilliant as Danny Baker in this instant classic sitcom about the ups and downs of The Baker’s family, set in the 1970s. Nuff said.
5. Bad Robots - E4 Tuesday 10pm
Sir Michael Gambon is the voice of the eponymous vengeful robot in this mock-sci-fi hidden camera show. Technology has advanced and humans are more reliant on machines than ever before. But with our increased dependency on mobile phones, laptops and self-service machines comes continued exasperation, and often technological abuse. Well, the machines have had enough... No longer will they stand for being bashed about, kicked around and taken for granted. The Bad Robots are out for revenge. Fictional company TezCorp Industries is starting a high-tech revolt, determined to create chaos with unsuspecting members of the public interacting with everyday machines.
6. Benidorm - ITV Mondays 10pm
ITV’s hit comedy series about first-time and regular holidaymakers as they visit the Solana Resort in Benidorm. All the guests have one thing in common: a quest to get value for their hard-earned Euros. A guaranteed chuckle. A recent episode in the series had a appearance from the late, great Cilla Black.
7. The Kennedys - BBC1 Fridays, 21.20 from 2 Oct
A 6x30min multi-generation family comedy set in the 1970s loosely based on Emma Kennedys’s hilarious memoirs The Tent, The Bucket And Me. Each episode is introduced by Emma (played by Lucy Hutchinson), a 10 year-old Star Wars obsessed tomboy. The family has just moved into a new estate in Stevenage, New Town, where they find a concrete maze of identical houses, and are enthused by the fact they are now on the cusp of being considered middle class.
8. Modern Family - Sky 1 Mondays 8pm (also on Catch Up)
Deservedly snatching a fifth outstanding comedy Emmy this year, this warm and twisted family sitcom is in its 5th season (with a 6th on the way). Making use of the popular mockumentary format, the show follows the lives of three related but disparate families.
9. Comic Strip Presents The Red Top. Gold (broadcast date tbc 2015)
Satirising News International and its controversial executive, Rebekah Brooks The Comic Strip Presents... The Red Top (a working title) marks a welcome return of the nation's favourite anarchic comedy collective. 75 minute comic fantasy was penned by Peter Richardson. Maxine Peake plays Rebekah, with Nigel Planer as Rupert Murdoch, Stephen Mangan as Blair and Russell Tovey as Andy Coulson. Johnny Vegas, Alexei Sayle, Harry Enfield, James Buckley and John Sessions will also appear.
10. Mrs Brown’s Boys – BBC1 Christmas Specials
The cast of this outrageously popular sitcom will assemble to record the first of two new Christmas specials of Mrs Brown's Boys. Brendan O'Carroll stars as Agnes Brown, a foul-mouthed Dublin matriarch who interferes in the lives of her children and friends. Nearly 10 million viewers tuned in on Christmas Day 2014 so there’s no pressure to make this year’s even funnier. Written by O'Carroll for the the BBC.
Fringe Final Days02 September
This Fringe has gone ridiculously fast. I spent my last Saturday in Edinburgh bingeing on three shows. First I saw Matthew Crosby at The Mash House. Matthew is one third of Pappy's sketch group and a co-star/co-writer of BBC Three's 'Badults'. His solo show focused on his obsession with Vladimir Putin and featured a memorable dance break. He's a very good stand-up act. Next up was Clusterf**k's last show of the Fringe was billed as a sketch and character comedy special but one half of opening act Lunchtime of Champions didn't turn up so the remaining part of the duo, Jami Fraser, did a breezy, charming stand-up set and, slightly tongue-in-cheek, told people to watch his other sketch troupe Princes of Main at The Pleasance Courtyard who haven't ever let him down.
Three woman sketch group The Kitten Killers provided a few bawdy musical numbers and a sketch that was interrupted by the venue's fire alarm, which had been accidentally set off. In a way it added to the atmosphere. The trio delighted in playing against type with their blueish material belying their innocent appearances. Kitten Killers' main show 'Woof' was at The Wee Coo, 16.10. Two-man sketch group Best Boy rounded off the show with some solidly funny sketches, finishing with a card trick that they took to admirable extremes. Hosts for the evening Jed Marshall and Liam Webber peppered the in-between bits with sketches of their own, including a brilliant Facebook sketch.
I had bumped into Karl Schultz in Cowgate earlier that day while he was flyering for his show and promised to come. His show was originally booked into Cowgatehead but ended up in Pleasance Below at 00.10. His surreal and silly character Matthew Kelly is a soft-spoken American with a giant beehive wig a balaclava-beard and a taped on moustache. 'Hypnagogia' is a bizarre and fascinating show which, as the title suggests, is a bit like being stuck in a weird dream. Several people walked out (it wasn't for them) but those who stayed felt the love - especially when Schultz's real-life father was drawn from the audience and persuaded to pretend to be Gregg Wallace. He seemed resigned to his son's peculiarities. It was hysterical for those in the right frame of mind (Harry Hill has called him a 'genius') but completely inexplicable to anyone who isn't.
On Sunday everything was winding down and costumes were being recycled and swapped at Fringe Central. I wanted to adopt a dragon costume which had been left behind but sadly there was no room in my suitcase to take back to London. Hopefully it will find a good home.
The 2015 Fringe Diary was brought to you this year by the marvellous Elise Harris.
Elise Harris's Fringe Diary30 August
'Cariad and Paul: A Two Player Adventure' has run at the Fringe for a number of years and also proved a hit in London. Veteran improvisers Cariad Lloyd and Paul Foxcroft take one word from the audience, which leads them both into brief reminiscences and then on to an entirely improvised series of vignettes. Their rapport means that the show looks and feel as though it has been carefully honed. It is an exciting show and the duo manage to create satisfying storylines, surprisingly deep characterisation and plenty of laughs. The onstage musicians help to create atmosphere and are an essential part of the production. Cariad was nominated in 2011 for Best Newcomer at the Fosters Edinburgh Comedy Awards and has since appeared in 'Crims' on BBC Three. She is also one of the founder members of the hit Jane Austen show 'Austentatious', also at Edinburgh this year.(Pleasance Courtyard, Venue 33; 23.00)
In other rooms, Rhiannon Vivian's show 'Doors to Manual' features character comedy and a true-life tale of her fear of flying. She plays five of her fellow passengers and the manically cheerful chief steward Sophie 'Snow' White. Each of the characters is well-observed and artfully written. (Cowgatehead, Venue 32; 12.15)
Elise Harris's Fringe Diary26 August
At the Pleasance Courtward are two upcoming sketch acts which have featured on Radio 4's Sketchorama: The Beta Males are Edinburgh stalwarts and this year they have brought Alpha Sketches, a compilation of their most popular skits from the past few years. The audience seemed familiar with the material, sometimes cheering and clapping before the meat of the sketches, which raised the energy. They are enjoyable, breezy sketches (just what you would expect to hear on Radio 4) and the four performing members (a fifth writes but does not appear) are all very likeable.
Casual Violence take a slightly more violent approach to sketch comedy. They have more members and an on-stage musician, Ben Champion, who got a chance in the spotlight with a song about programmes which auto-correct. Their material is dark and twisted, but delivered in such a way that you might not notice just how twisted it all is as you are laughing. Two members of the "multi award-winning" Casual Violence have their own separate shows at the Fringe: Ben Champion at The Liquid Rooms and James Hamilton (who writes and creates all the Casual Violence material) at The Voodoo Rooms.
Bodell and Maxwell’s 'Chromatic Character Menagerie' features an appealing bunch of characters, though there's no thread linking them until the end when Laura Bodell's psychopathic child and Shamus Maxwell's immortal storyteller interact. It's a showcase for the pair's creations rather than a solid show, with Svetlana, the Russian Oligarch’s wife and self-identified beat poet Carlo Adams standing out. It's an enjoyable, gleefully hit-and-miss hour that just needs a bit more direction.
'An Interview with a Genius' looks at the life and work of artist and film maker George Vere, a man who has taken on every genre and triumphed. George is so self-obsessed that he refuses to believe he isn't the best at everything. Semi-improvised, with live music, so you get a different show every day, but with filmed inserts. It's a mix of character comedy, sketch and multimedia, strongly influenced by the work of Christopher Guest. The show, which was put together by recent East 15 graduates, is a tricky one to sell but it deserves an audience.
Elise Harris's Fringe Diary24 August
It's the start of Week Three at the Fringe and somehow it feels like Week Two slipped through my fingers. I have been zipping around doing shows myself with little time to watch much in between. I did manage to catch Sofie Hagen, whose show focuses on teenage obsession, mental health and body issues. Her likeable, reassuring persona cajoles the audience laughing at uncomfortable topics and listening to material that in other hands might have been pretty traumatic. The show also features some of the younger Sofie's fan fiction (the stuff she couldn't get taken down from the internet). 'Bubblewrap' is at Liquid Room Annexe at 19.15 and at George Next Door, 21.45pm, on August 29 only.
Top Joe is a tragi-comic figure in a hi-vis jacket who "only comes out at night". He has not left his house for weeks after the death of his dad and the audience is invited into his world to help. The interaction between Joe and his audience is a masterclass in how to work a room: he draws us into his inner experience with a quiet charisma and a manner that self-effacing and thoughtful. Such a contrast to the thousands of attention-grabbing comedy shows happening around the city. To spoil the illusion, Joe is actually the creation of Chris Jenkins, although that doesn't make him any less real. 'Leaving the House With Top Joe' is in Space S at George Next Door, 20.00 until August 29.
Top Joe also makes an appearance in a cabaret show, entitled 'The Best Top Quality 5-Star International Gold Standard 100% Extraordinary Cabaret at the Fringe Ever: Top Acts Guaranteed', in the same building (Space M) at 16.30. The cabaret is presented by Alastair Clark, a young man in a sparkly jacket and waxed moustache who has earnestly and sincerely decided to put on "the best show Edinburgh has ever seen". Unfortunately he got his sound technician Chris to book all the acts. Genuinely hilarious for people in the mood but inexplicable if taken at face value (one wonders what a tourist might think). The Fringe needs more experimental shows like this: it is proper variety. George Next Door Space M, 16.30 and Alastair's solo show is at Cabaret Voltaire Room 2 every day at 13.20.
Fringe Diary20 August
Alison Thea-Skot (Some Like it Thea-Skot, Cowgatehead, venue 32; UpTwoL 20.45) is an extraordinary performer. From the opening moments when 'Celine Dion' welcomes the audience to the space, she is in full-tilt character mode. Her delivery of diva Dion is in many ways more real than the real version, with manic eyes and a strangely unbending arm while her voice is no less powerful. It is hard not to be won over by her high-energy and versatility and this crowd certainly was. One male member of the audience seemed so smitten that he hung around outside the venue afterwards, apparently desperate to get an autograph or an air kiss. The show ends with a big production number (at least it is big for the Free Fringe). Thea-Skot is already making strides in the comedy world (she has been nominated for awards for her acting and been on Radio 4) and is the sort of performer who could fill a stadium.
Later on in the same venue, one floor down (UpOneM) at 22.15, Alexander Bennett hosted 'Hell to Play', a game show set in Hell and written by Paul Savage. Featuring cameos from historical hell-dwellers Elizabeth Bathory, Bernard Manning, Jeffrey Dahmer and Hitler and guests from other fringe shows competing to see who gets to escape from an eternity in Hell. A dark comedic look at the worst of humanity. It promises a rotating cast of dead monsters and two new contestants every performance. Late-comers seemed confused. It was all about context.
Elise Harris for MIMOtv
Elise Harris's Fringe Diary19 August
The sketches in 'Clare Plested The Essential Collection' (Ciao Roma, 8-29 August, 5.50pm, Free Fringe) are interspersed with "DVD extras" of her husband's "helpful" comments during the development of the show. Clare's characters are all exuberant and slightly deluded, though Clare herself has an admirable and healthy self-awareness, as her inclusion of her husband's hilarious but sometimes less than flattering comments demonstrates. Standout character is probably Pansy, a theatre director and self-appointed guru on confidence-building, although each character has a well-developed back story. All the sketches draw the audience in, making them a part of the narrative, acting as extras in the scenes. It's an engaging and funny show and Clare is a warm and friendly companion.
Elise Harris's Fringe Diary18 August
Emma Sidi's debut Edinburgh solo show ('Emma Sidi's Character Breakdown', Pleasance Courtyard Bunker 2; 20.00) is a profound and yet profoundly silly show, in the best possible way. The surreal elements are never overwhelming and the characters seem entirely real, and strangely touching, even when they are lost in their fantasy worlds. It is hard to make show with multiple characters flow together well but here simple, uncomplicated costume changes (a jacket, a shirt, a scrunchy) were all that was need to transform from one persona to another. Sidi's physicality and vocal variety is very impressive and the dance and movement elements segueing each section are nothing less than extraordinary. Without knowing what Sidi is like in real life it is impossible to tell where any of these characters end and where she starts. The finale was massively popular with the crowd and involved a psuedo-academic lecture in a kind of ridiculous Spanglish. At the end the audience emerged grinning and muttering how that was "amazing" and "wonderful".
Funny Women Semi-Finals15 August
The Funny Women Awards semi-final took over the 23.45 Voodoo Rooms slot usually taken by Jayde Adams, winner of the 2014 Funny Women Awards; so Jayde still got to perform as host of this year's semis. Stand-out performances of the night came from the winner Helen Monks and runner-up Sophie Duker. Both based their material on race and identity, but from very different perspectives. The other finalists Mairead Connell, Lisa Casey, Roya Shadamand and Grainne McKeever were well-received and all managed to win over a rowdy late night audience. The room was packed and I ended up behind a pillar, at the back of the room, in front of both the ladies and gents toilets, and had to do a lot of peering, shifting and jumping around to see much of anything. The final is takes place in London at Kings Place, N1, on September 23rd. The date stuck in my mind as earlier that day I'd run into a man who didn't seem to be flyering for anyone muttering, "look out for September 23rd" in an ominous voice. Spooky.
Elise Harris's Fringe Diary14 August
12th August: I saw Paula Varjack's show today - 'How I Became Myself By Becoming Someone Else' (Cowgatehead UpTwoS at 12.30pm). It is a one-person, multi-media extravaganza telling the story of how Paula became her new, liberated self when she moved to Europe from the States, ditching her birthname, her clothes and everything that tied her to her old life. Describing herself as "Bi-racial, bi-sexual and bi-national", it is not surprising that her show focuses on identity and how who you are may not be who you thought you were. It's a funny, thoughtful and innovative show that makes you wonder about your own personality and if it is really as fixed and immutable as it seems. Paula has already made a name for herself as a spoken word artist and curator of the popular Anti-Slam poetry event and now she is moving into performance art/theatre; so her life experiment seems to be going pretty well.
On Monday I took part in 'Test Tube Comedy' at the Voodoo Rooms Ballroom. It was fun to get back to short stand up after focusing on longer pieces for a while. The other act was Nick Purves who did a confident set and it was hosted by Dec Munro. Both of them also did sets in my 'InExpert Opinion Show' at George Next Door, 17.45pm, and are booked in for more. Dec was a little flustered as he had lost his laptop and all his work that night (fortunately it was recovered), consequently he hadn't noticed the doors were locked and there were 80 audience members rather than the 5 he had thought were there! There was a lot of audience interaction - a heckler was invited on stage and ended up doing her first ever stand up. Two more front row audience members turned out to be burgeoning stand-up acts and closed the show with some promising sets .
11 Aug 2015
Last night I caught Sarah Franken's show 'Who Keeps Making All These People'. Franken came out as transgender in March. She lived as a woman in San Francisco 15 years ago for a few months but went back in the closet when she started gaining recognition as character comedian Will Franken. Despite the fact her show is billed as 'Will Franken: Who Keeps Making All These People' she ditches Will to perform as Sarah, her "true self". Franken therefore opened the show by pointing out that Sarah is not a character but the real her. But having lifted the fourth wall, she then dived into full satire mode presenting an array of diverse characters and voices. The show dealt with free speech, fundamentalism and taboos and seemed to court controversy. It was an impressive, thought-provoking, pioneering show and - most importantly - it was very funny. Look out for her next project which is a first person narrative where she opens up her life to public scrutiny. She promises to talk about stereotypically 'female' topics from now on like "cake and shoes."
@The Stand in Edinburgh until 30 August. Buy Tickets
Summer of Comedy07 July
Well done to one of our newest acts Katie Pritchard for making it to the finals of the Funny Women awards. Watch her hilarious hip-hop-opera Size Matters on MIMOtv... There's still time to catch the Fringe previews at venues across London - keep checking our new EVENTS section for full listings. Next month we'll be heading to Scotland's bonny capital for the annual binge fringe and this year there’s a record number of women on the comedy bill including MIMOtv artists The Kagools, Loren O'Brien, Alison Thea-Skot, Eleanor Morton, Revan & Fennell and Croft & Pearce. In fact an eye-popping 30% of the shows are by women or feature a leading lady (that's a 57% increase on last year for the statistically-aware) and that has to be worth a full bagpipe salute.
Last chance to save BBC317 June
Let’s step up the pressure on BBC bosses to save BBC3! The decision to axe the terrestrial channel (which has fostered new comedy since 2002 and launched shows like the Mighty Boosh, Bad Education, Gavin and Stacey and Little Britain) was announced last year but the decision has been delayed until later this month following outrage from celebrities and fans. In early June an open letter signed by 750 industry folk including Imelda Staunton, Olivia Colman, Rob Brydon, Russell Howard and Anna Morris was sent to the BBC Trust urging them to drop the plans which they say will be detrimental to new comedy.
The BBC plans to make BBC3 online-only in 2016 in line with the changing viewing habits of the target audience (16-24) but in effect it means the budget for young adults will be slashed to 0.6% and the money redirected to drama for older audiences. "Disastrously, the closure and move online will remove at a stroke a vitally important outlet for new talent and innovative ideas, where some of the most successful and influential names currently working in British television were given their first chance," the letter reads.
The decision seems out of synch with the channel’s popularity: in May BBC3 took as many awards as BBC1 at the BAFTAs and it was recently voted Channel of the Year. MIMOtv urges its users to get involved in the campaign to save the channel and a vital platform for upcoming comedy. You can also email your messages to Rona Fairhead, head of BBC Trust, to email@example.com and spread the word through Facebook and Twitter #saveBBC3 or on yourbbcthree.com.
Comedy writing awards and showcases14 May
There are opportunities throughout the year for budding comedy writers and performers to get their funny out there – if you can only stay on top of the deadlines... 1. BAFTA Rocliffe has a current call out deadline (23rd May 2015) for Comedy (sitcom and sketch) scripts. The shortlisted extracts will be workshopped and showcased to a live audience and panel of professionals. Rocliffe has been connecting aspiring writers with agents and development execs for 14 years and puts regular calls out for scripts. www.Rocliffe.com
2. The deadline's looming for Crooked Pieces (1 June 2015). The pilot podcast show ‘And Then She Said a Funny Thing’ was first broadcast in September to platform more women's voices in radio comedy. The team is back to create three more monthly episodes and is looking for new writers. For more info visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/opportunities/crookedpieces
3. London Comedy Writers is a great forum to test out your raw scripts. There are regular meet-ups to read through new work. You can submit sketches throughout the year and the best material of the year is showcased at an annual event called Sketchageddon (29th and 30th May). http://www.londoncomedywriters.com/index.php/2013-10-03-21-19-15/sketchageddon-live-iv
4. The Amused Moose comedy award for undiscovered acts has become a staple of the Edinburgh Fringe smorgasboard. You will need to have footage of your show to upload by 3rd August. http://www.amusedmoose.com/media/1024/how-to-enter-14t-06-02_amla2014_entryconditionsandcriteria_v2.pdf
5. Last year Funny Women launched a new comedy writing award alongside its annual stand-up award. Applications are open for 2015. Find out more here… http://funnywomen.com/funny-women-awards/comedy-writing-award/
6. Comedy Women In Print is brand new award (so new it hasn't yet been launched) and the brainchild of actress and writer Helen Lederer. The aim is to help funny women get into print. For more info:http://comedywomeninprint.co.uk/
Other useful websites to check throughout the year for opportunities:
BBC Writers Room http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/opportunities/
London Screenwriters Festival http://www.londonscreenwritersfestival.com/dates-and-deadlines/
What the Frock! comedy night at Rip Roar Bristol05 February
Friday night saw the arrival of the first What the Frock! comedy night of 2015. In its new location at the Rip Roar comedy club in Bristol's Broadmead, the venue was full to bursting with a mixed crowd keen to be impressed by the all-female line up.
The show kicked off with an introductory warm up set from Jayde Adams, the show’s hilarious and accomplished compere and Funny Woman finalist 2012. A loud and proud Bristolian, Jayde is the first person to ever make me realise just how funny my beloved Bristolian accent is. Full of energy and vibrance, Jayde read the audience perfectly and her gags were quick and well-timed. Also a lady of many talents; her incredible voice had me whirling around in my seat trying to figure out if she was miming. Comedian and opera singer: the perfect double threat!
Anna Morris was next up, contrasting the stand-up style of the night with her take on character comedy. With the Hunger Games soundtrack blaring, Anna introduced us to the nominees for her very own Woman of the Year Awards: a Scouse super-mum and a drug-pushing baker. The satirical sketches were well thought out and the audience participation by way of a sing along to Mary Poppins Spoonful of Sugar added a weird and wonderful twist to the night.
The final act to the stage was the wonderful Canadian Mae Martin. Introducing herself as Justin Bieber, her self-deprecating and conversational style was a huge hit and truly the highlight of my evening. She had us giggling at her silly stories ranging from her neurotic parents and Facebook stalking, but also had us cheering in earnest at her thoughts on gender and sexuality within society. Just like a true performer and comedian, we wished it would never end, especially as she dramatically raced out to catch her taxi just seconds after her set was over.
A real interesting mix of acts and talents, What the Frock is a night set to only get bigger in Bristol.
What the Frock! took place on Friday 30th January at Rip Roar Comedy.
New Kids On The Frock returns on Friday 27th February.
The NATYS Award27 January
The list of NATYs finalists who have made it to the top is as long as Nigel Farage’s bar tab and includes luminaries such as Eddie Izard, Daniel Kitson, Catherine Tate and Simon Amstell; and so it was with not inconsiderable glee that we tucked into the latest crop of hopefuls at the Bloomsbury Theatre on Sunday night. Apologies to the row in front who got showered with my packet of cheesy pretzels, which prematurely burst open in the excitement...
The top prize (a framed poster) was given to Daniel Duffy, alias Michael Stranney, for his loveable cloth-head Irishman act. He shuffled on stage in a tatty cardie done up wrong, slopping a pint glass around, apparently straight from a leprechaun’s arse to talk about his funny mates from the pub. Friends like “probably…def’nitely” autistic shop worker Padraic who wonders at seeing a cow in a field with no legs, pulling along an equally legless calf by its tail. Poking fun at Oirish parochialism is as old as the hills but it worked for Father Ted so why not for Duffy, who does it with remarkable aplomb and comic timing. It’s also refreshing that a character act should bag the top prize.
Coming in equal second was Spencer Jones as “The Herbert”. This act was straight from the school of clowning and involved a lot of miming and props but it was pure joy. A reminder that you don’t need much to make an audience piss themselves – just a silly haircut, a box of ‘groan tubes’ and a tweety thing in your mouth. Obviously it helps if you’ve got funny bones too, which Jones certainly has. He’s like Mr Bean - only funnier.
The judges couldn’t decide between Jenny Collier and ‘The Herbert’ and I can see why. Jenny’s approach to stand-up feels fresh. She comes across (intentionally) as a rather naïf, daffy blonde (people often mistake her for a kid and ask her where mummy is) but after a couple of lines it’s clear this is one twisted toddler. She has a delightfully filthy (in the “poo-tea” sense of the word) imagination, turning her dull job in a bathroom store into a gold mine of material.
Francis Foster came third with a smart and self-assured routine born out of his ‘mixed race’ identity. Being equal parts Venezuelan and Wigan (but “looking jewish”) has apparently not helped him with the ladies. Foster’s schtick is that he’s the opposite of the latino lover he strives to be.
The other act we loved was Cheekykita, shortlisted in 2014 for the Funny Women award. Her theme “The Wow of Space” was a surreal dance into Brian Cox territory, clearly aided by healthy dose of space cake. She bounced in, singing ‘Walking on the Moon’ while beating time on her head with a stick; then becoming a black hole, she attempted to swallow up the audience. Delightful lunacy.
10 Reasons to be cheerful in 201523 January
The year might have got off to a terrible start (Nous Sommes Charlie Hebdo) but the good news is there are plenty of laughs up ahead. Read on for our comedy highlights of 2015 including Bridget Christie, Beth Vyse, Simon Amstell, Dylan Moran and Doll and Em.
1. Girls - Series 4
It might be the excuse you needed to get that grey dish up on your roof. Lena Dunham’s ground-breaking series comes back to Sky Atlantic to spread a little joy on Monday nights.
2. Alex Edelman
He’s 25, super-smart, self-consciously Jewish and very funny in an old fashioned way. After winning Best Newcomer at last year’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards for his show Millennial it seems there’s no stopping this Generation Y New Yorker. Catch him if you can at Soho Theatre, London, 13 to 31 January
3. Simon Amstell
Judging by his latest tour To Be Free, Amstell still has a complex - but what a complex! Shame, masturbation, wet dreams and lashings of social angst – bring it on! Falling in love has made him happier but not blunted his rapier. Grab a ticket while you can – they are going fast.
4. Bridget Christie
She’s still a feminist and unapologetically ungrateful. Since winning the Foster’s Edinburgh comedy award in 2013, Bridget has gone on to beat past form with this superbly-crafted show. We love her for tackling unpalatable subjects like FGM (look it up) while still making people LOL.
5. Comic Relief
Rumour has it Peter Kay will be performing seven special live shows for Comic Relief 2015, featuring a strangely familiar Potteresque character and a battered old working man’s club. Kay is warming up for a new series of Phoenix Nights later in the year on Channel 4. Can’t wait.
MARCH - MAY
6. Dylan Moran
The only Irish drunk I would pay good money to be cornered by in a bar. Off The Hook is a chance to see this comedy legend back in action (his last live show Yeah Yeah was 2011).
7. Beth Vyse
Beth Vyse (pronounced vice) is a wicked name for a comedy dame and her show Get up with Hands lives up to the lustre. Expect surreal character comedy from her alter ego the desperate daytime TV hostess Oliv Hands. Soho Theatre.
AND LATER ON...
8. Morning has Broken
Daytime TV is obviously fertile ground for comedy. We are looking forward to this new six-parter written by Julia Davis in which she plays Gail Sinclair, the 'Queen of Daytime', when after eight years at the top, things start to take a turn for the worse. No release date yet from Channel 4.
9. Doll and Em
Hooray! Comedy actresses and lifelong pals Emily Mortimer and Dolly Wells are coming back to Sky Living with a second series of their sitcom which lays bare the ups and downs of female friendship.
10. Toast - Series 3
If you’ve been feeling bereft without your dose of hot, buttery Toast on Monday nights, take comfort in the fact that a third series is cooking. Hopelessly pompous, hairy thespian Steven Toast is back with the brilliant Doon Mackichan as his equally ineffectual agent, plus Clem Fandango and friends. Matt Berry rightfully took six nominations at last year’s comedy awards for his brilliantly ersatz comedy. You’ll have to wait until November for it though…
Best of Joan Rivers15 September
Paying tribute, Howard Stern said that he didn’t want to live in a world without Joan Rivers and we have to concur. La Rivers was the great aunty of comedy, emerging in 1965 when female stand-ups were as rare as card-carrying communists or drag queens. She practically invented the tradition of cringingly confessional comedy with her brassy “Shall we talk about it?” style that delved into marriage, sex, plastic surgery and ageing. Good old Joan blazed a trail for funny women the world over and managed to remain not only relevant but hilarious into her eighties. It’s tragi-comic that her death was the result of an investigation into those famous vocal chords. She would’ve found a joke in there somewhere. Here are 10 of her funniest moments...
The Ed Sullivan Show, 1967 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpPCFoXXhF0
The Carol Burnett show, 1974 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDHgAtFUaXE
1982 Monologue "To my husband I said what’s your favourite sexual position? He said, Next door!" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWncIpPuNJo
Joan Rivers in "An Audience With Joan Rivers" 1983 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_9N_z6Wmkc
Funny Monologue 1984 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lEX6HI4Mew
Vintage Joan on the Tonight Show 1984 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feRb6rK_rl8
Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show 1986 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcBFlL8zBBQ
Live at the Apollo London 2009 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNUkLzi46OI
Joan Rivers Special 2009 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8aVGtLW0Zw&list=PLB2A63FF1E2550076
Just for Laughs "No man will ever put his hand up your dress looking for a library card." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bwa9Q6wYq5E
Cecilia Delatori's Edinburgh Festival22 August
“Rick Mayall and Robin Williams are dead and Jim Davidson is selling out the Assembly rooms. Look me in the eye and tell me there's a God.” (Mitch Benn in Don't Believe a Word at The Stand, 3pm.)
It's been another amazing Edinburgh Fringe full of stars, rising comedians, aspiring comedians and, er, Nancy Dell'Olio. I'm a musical comedian who popped up for a gig at great little poetry and music show called The Word Café (Pleasance, Bunker 1; 2.05pm). It’s hosted by delightfully dotty Liverpudlian poet Julie Mullen and on the day featured some terrific acts including comic poet Mab Jones, UK slam champion Sarah Hirsch and the hauntingly beautiful music of singer-songwriter Jasmine Roberts. It's exhausting trying to do Edinburgh in a few days - all the excitement, all the hills, all the crap food snatched between shows - but to be there for a month doing a show! Wow. I guess I’ll find out next year.
Highlights for me this year include the very talented Rachel Parris in Live in Vegas at The Pleasance (4.30pm), performing a range of lounge singers at the fictional Bette Midler Memorial Hotel including fabulous sequined narcissist Felice.
Then at Just the Tonic at The Mash House I saw several stand up comedians in excellent storytelling shows. In West End Story, set in 1995, (when you could buy two pints and a packet of fags for a fiver), Paul Ricketts tells the utterly hilarious story of his youthful adventure in late night Soho, a place frequented by film stars, members of Blur, politicians and other prostitutes. I warn you, you will never be able to listen to flamenco guitar music again without imagining a certain famous flamenco guitarist and politician pleasuring themselves together.
That was followed by Njambi McGrath in Bongolicious (until 22nd August). Originally she had planned to do an hour of stand up but at her father's funeral in Kenya in January she learned for the first time about her family's unimaginable suffering at the hands of the British. She researched the topic and was so horrified at what she discovered she changed the topic of her show. A comic handling tragic and harrowing subject matter is very difficult and as a result Steve Bennett at Chortle refused to give the show a rating because he felt comedy was the wrong category for it. I found the show compelling and very moving but also funny - Njambi never forgets she's a comic: “In Kenya we have man eating tigers, no I'm not talking about Katie Price…” “I married a British man. I think he did it for a Kenyan passport.”)
Another comedian who combines storytelling and song is the amazing octogenarian Lynn Ruth Miller in Not Dead Yet (C Nova, Victoria Street, 6.05pm). Poignant and uplifting, this is a show about life, death and the dinners in between. Lynn deservedly won the 2013 TO&ST (Time Out and Soho Theatre) cabaret award for Granny's Gone Wild in which she sings, tells jokes and strips. She's 80 years old and as feisty as f%*k! She’s performing Granny's Gone Wild again at C Nova at 7.15pm.
Lynn Ruth Miller
Another gem is My Brother's Turning into a Zombie (Pleasance 11.15am until 25th August), a riotous adventure on bunk beds from a musical comedy duo.
My final tip is Mab Jones supporting Phil Jupitus's Porkie the Poet at The Jam House, 5pm. You can also catch her in her own show Poor Queen, 4.05pm at George Next Door, Venue 430. And finally, my top funniest café title at Edinburgh is “The Firth of Froth” on Broughton Street.
Cecilia Delatori’s next gig is Laughing Labia at She Bar 23a Old Compton Street, 17th September, 8pm.
Award Alert15 July
Funny Women is running two competitions which you might be interested in:
COMEDY SHORTS AWARD
What they're looking for:
A 1-3 minute film (sketch, funny song, sitcom, comedy drama or animation or anything - as long as it's funny).
In the words of Funny Women Founder and Chief Executive Lynne Parker: 'We've been working up to launching a Comedy Shorts Award for the last six months in recognition of the fact that short form film is a great entry point for comedy. '
The film must be produced and devised by a woman, although male cast members are acceptable, and it must be an original piece of work. Existing films can be entered as long as they adhere to the criteria.
The deadline for entries is 5pm 15th August 2014. First prize: £1000. To find out more about further prizes and submission criteria, visit the Funny Women website
COMEDY WRITING AWARD
Funny Women, in association with production company The Comedy Unit The Huffington Post present the 2014 Comedy Writing Award.
Andrea Mann, Comedy Editor of The Huffington Post UK, had this to say about working with the Comedy Writing Award this year: "As someone who likes to champion women in comedy- as well as being a woman myself- I'm delighted, as Comedy Editor of The Huffington Post UK, to be involved in the Funny Women Awards. There are so many brilliant, funny women trying who deserve to have the spotlight shone on them- especially those who work behind the scenes as writers- and I believe these awards help to do just that."
The Prize: £500 script option fee for a 12 month development period, including three weeks intensive mentoring to complete the 30 minute script with dedicated access to a professional script editor.
What they're looking for:
An 8-15 page extract of a 30 minute comedy script for television. The script can take the form of a sitcom, sketch show, comedy drama - indeed anything that has a comic twist.
To find out more, visit the Funny Women website
We have lift off!04 June
Welcome to our blog, a place to to gain shiveringly personal access to the inner workings, outer musings and other thoughts of the MIMO machine (that's Mim and Imo) as it strides into the ether, head up, heart on sleeve, out and proud. This is a new venture so there are improvements to be made, a community to be built and an audience to gather. Please give us your feedback, comments and suggestions so we can hone our platform for new writers, performers, directors and producers of the best new British comedy.