'Booed off in 17 seconds' – comedians recall their first gigs
Shappi Khorsandi felt as if she’d walked on the moon. Isy Suttie watched a man change a dressing on a wound as she spoke. Omid Djalili fell off the stage. So how did the first gigs of Paul Merton, Susan Calman and other top comics go?I was on at midnight and did a show about a policeman giving... [Read More]
Chris Gethard: turning shame and pain into laughs
He’s guested on Broad City and starred with Amy Schumer – and the comic has also struggled with depression, now material for his brutally raw standup show, which he’s about to take to EdinburghI’m late to meet the comic, actor and talkshow host Chris Gethard at a cafe on the ... [Read More]
Watch It, Sailor! / The Vertical Hour review – trouble with the in-laws
Theatre by the Lake, KeswickBroad 60s comedy and sharp millennial political drama share a venue as the Cumbrian rep company ends an eraIt began life in 1952 as a “Blue Box” – a mobile theatre with 225 seats, towed by a military truck, delivering theatre to towns without any. But tr... [Read More]
Standout success: Edinburgh's Free Fringe is no comedy graveyard
The fringe is no longer centred around the ‘big four’ venues. Whether you’re a performer or punter, take it from an award-winning comic – and get out morePiecing together my reviews list for this year’s Edinburgh jamboree brings home to me how dramatically the fringe la... [Read More]
Zoë Coombs Marr: why a 'cranky lesbian in her 30s' should be person of the year
‘You can’t make intersectional feminism funny,’ says Coombs Marr as Dave, her alter ego. He goes on to make it hilarious, in a show that everyone should seeI’m lobbying for a new person-of-the-year award. While Time magazine’s fêted title honours one who has done ... [Read More]
Scared of standup? Making the leap from the safety of sketch comedy
Katy Brand and Kieran Hodgson were intimidated at first by the idea of going it alone on stage. But plenty of comedians journey between sketch troupes and solo performance – taking refuge in one and soul-searching in the otherIt was interesting the other week to hear a belated convert to stand... [Read More]
Nish Kumar: ‘I laughed so hard I nearly threw up’
From Catch-22 to his cousins, the standup reveals the things that make him chortle the mostOne out of Louis CK, Chris Rock, Daniel Kitson, Stewart Lee, Richard Pryor or Bridget Christie. James Acaster is phenomenal, but he’s my friend so I can’t say him or he’ll make fun of me. Con... [Read More]
Ghostbusters’ Leslie Jones: ‘The US is the most depressed nation in the world and I blame comedians’
She’s a 6ft ball of energy who slogged away on the comedy circuit for 25 years before landing Saturday Night Live and then Ghostbusters. She talks about wanting to be the new Eddie Murphy and why ‘crazy-wild-big’ laughs matterLeslie Jones is sick of smart comics. She can’t be... [Read More]
Ayesha Hazarika: 'Labour's best drinker? They're so good at it, I couldn't say'
She advised Ed Miliband and wrote gags for Harriet Harman. Now Ayesha Hazarika is turning her heady Whitehall days into standupAyesha Hazarika is hungover, but it’s nothing to do with drink. “Politics has gone on a mad bender,” says the standup. “One of those benders where, t... [Read More]
Ride our log flume! James Acaster's tips for Lindsay Lohan's Kettering trip
The Hollywood star says she’ll turn on Kettering’s Christmas lights. When she’s in town, she should check out our mummified cat and smell the WeetabixDear Lindsay Lohan, Glad to hear that you’re coming to Kettering to turn on the Christmas lights. It was a very good idea by K... [Read More]