Tag Archives: Comedy

INTERVIEW: Star of Taskmaster, Derek and Afterlife, Kerry Godliman

Kerry Godliman is a woman who gets things done, as anybody who saw the comic win series seven of Taskmaster in 2018 knows. And now she is touring her new stand-up show, BOSH, the title of which is inspired by that experience.

She explains: “Greg Davies [Taskmaster’s presenter] used to say, ‘Here comes Godliman, boshing along’. I wouldn’t describe myself as intellectual but I am quite a rational person and don’t over-complicate things. I work out what’s useful and then crack on, and that seemed to work on the show.”

She stops and recalls with a laugh: “I certainly didn’t overthink it, and one time Greg said I was like Phil Mitchell, which wasn’t very complimentary.”

She describes BOSH: “It’s just me talking about the last year or two, observations I’ve made and experiences I’ve had. I suppose it’s essentially about being in your mid-forties and being a parent and trying to be a good human being.

“One of the themes of the show is about what it is like living in 2020, trying to manage modern life, my slight bewilderment at consumerism and trying to be ethical.”

Much of Godliman’s material comes from her own life – “a cartoonish, exaggerated version of it” or “sometimes a line might come from something I’ve said on Twitter and it’s caused a response that I find interesting”. But she’s not the kind of comic who listens to other people’s conversations in cafes or on buses for material. “Oh no, I don’t do that,” she says, laughing. “People can chat away with no fear of turning up in my show.”

Godliman admits she can be a bit of a worrier, and reads a lot of lifestyle books and articles, taking “positives from some and discarding others that are less helpful. The trick is in knowing which is which, of course”.

She reserves scorn for the modern profusion of parenting books, many of which she finds judgmental or downright unhelpful. “There used to be just one parenting book and now there are whole sections of bookshops with them.

“I talk a lot about parenting in the show, although it’s not specifically about my kids [a son and daughter aged 12 and nine] because they didn’t ask to be on stage.

“It’s more about my failings as a parent, of always trying to do the right thing. I read a lot of parenting books and I always seem to fall short of what they expect – I think for a lot of people parenting is just managing guilt to varying degrees.”

Aside from her stand-up, many will know Godliman through her extensive acting CV, including starring in two of Ricky Gervais’s comedy dramas, Derek and After Life. “I had met Ricky at gigs and had bit parts in his other shows before he asked me to appear in Derek,” she says.

“I’ve been lucky that I’ve always done both acting and comedy, and I love what I do so none of it is arduous or a pain. But the work-life balance is something I always have to keep an eye on, and I’m getting better at saying no to some work.”

That means Godliman can spend more time at home with her husband and children in south London. She’s a homebody nowadays, she says. “When I was younger I went travelling and was out all the time and did a lot of partying, but now I want to be at home as much as I can. I miss the kids and try not to be away for more than a couple of nights.”

She did have to be away for a few weeks last year [2019] to film Treadstone, a US television series based on the Jason Bourne films. She loved the experience.

“It was so out of my comfort zone,” she says, “but that was good. For a start I was playing an American, the first time I’d done that. It was a big, high-production-values, flashy US TV series. It was unlike anything else I have ever done.”

She adds drily: “Most parts I’ve played as an actress have involved a tabard, and here I was on set watching this amazing fight scene being put together. It was a like a dance – the choreography was extraordinary – and it was amazing being part of this world.

“I love acting because I get to work with other people, it’s storytelling and I can play a character I’ve never played before. But in a big Hollywood production like Treadstone you are a small cog in a very big machine. I had something like 20 recalls before I got the part and although I loved it, it made me grateful that I do stand-up as well.”

Stand-up brings different rewards, Godliman says, and she made her debut in the Royal Variety Show in December [2019]. “I enjoyed it. It’s a long day doing teching and so on but it’s fun. It’s always difficult to find some appropriate material, but I did some stuff about parenting because the Cambridges can relate to it. They seem nice people, it was a nice gig and it’s for a good charity.”

We get back to BOSH. “I’m bringing my kids up in the 21st century and we have to wrestle with social media and smart phones,” the comic says. “But I was brought up in the 20th century, when I was allowed to be bored, and kids now don’t get much opportunity for that. It feels now that you have to be engaging with your children all time, which is ludicrous.”

One of the ways she would like to engage more with her children, though, is camping, which they now think is boring. But Godliman loves it and is sad they have already outgrown it. “My parents used to take me and I suppose it’s in my bones,” she says. “I have a bizarre love of camping; it starts with concertina’d colanders and goes from there.”

Veronica Lee

Kerry Godliman’s new show  BOSH  reaches  The Stand, Glasgow  on  Wednesday, 25th March.

WHAT’S ON MARCH: Kerry Godliman’s BOSH comes to The Stand Glasgow this month

Kerry Godliman’s new show BOSH reaches The Stand, Glasgow on Wednesday, 25th March. 
Kerry Godliman is back on tour after what she thought would be a little ‘she’ time. No chance. Her bosh-like nature will never let her rest. Well, that and a needy cat, a constantly disappointing camper van, and ever-raging feelings of mum guilt and bewilderment at the phasing-out of thimbles. All will be explained!
As seen on Derek, Bad Move, Mock The Week, Live at the Apollo, Taskmaster, Michael McIntyre’s Big Show, 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown and Call The Midwife, and heard on The News Quiz, The Now Show and I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue. Kerry has performed stand-up throughout her
comedy career, encompassing national tours and successful runs at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Following on from a successful first series, Kerry will again star in Ricky Gervais’ After Life on Netflix – and series two hits the screens on 24th April. The show’s first series was hugely popular on both sides of the pond, so the second is eagerly awaited – and Kerry will return as the protagonist’s deceased wife, Lisa.

 

Besides this, in summer 2019 Kerry joined the cast of Adult Material, a new Channel 4 drama about the porn industry – in which she plays the part of MP Stella Maitland. It will air in the spring. And in April, Sky Atlantic viewers will see Kerry reprise her role as Teens in the mystery Drama Save Me.

 

Kerry also performed a hilarious set at the 2019 Royal Variety Performance from the London Palladium, which aired in December.

WHAT’S ON MARCH: Star of Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights Clinton Baptiste hits with “The Paranormalist Returns!

Due to popular demand, the tour of Clinton Baptiste – The Paranomalist Returns has been extended into 2020 with thirty new dates added, taking it into the spring of next year.  The added dates will take the paranormalist sensation further across the UK with a hilarious yet touching journey through his life, out the other side and beyond the Celestial Curtains.

The show hits the Glee Club Glasgow on March 12

In The Paranormalist Returns tour, Clinton will give readings to audience members up and down the land, offering advice from beyond the grave.  He will predict their futures, tell them about their pasts and perform all manner of spooky stuff an’ that.

But more, he tells the story of his demise, his comeback and finally…finally on this special night, he will attempt to pass over to The Other Side … and return (before the venue throw the audience out)….with THE ANSWER!

Clinton Baptiste is the hapless, clumsily inaccurate and occasionally brutal clairvoyant medium and psychic created by the comedy actor Alex Lowe for Peter Kay’s smash hit Channel 4 sitcom Phoenix Nights back in 2001. Now, some eighteen years after the show aired, Clinton returns to conjure up his extraordinary powers for a new generation.

Alex Lowe is well known for playing ‘Barry from Watford’, his wondrous 82 year old creation from Radio 2’s Steve Wright in the Afternoon and Noel Edmonds’ Channel 4 quiz Cheap Cheap Cheap.

Among various acting roles are a number of credits with Kenneth Branagh – who he met as a child actor of 14 years of age whilst in the West End play Another Country.  Later he joined Branagh’s Renaissance Theatre Company, touring with Richard Briers. He also appeared in Branagh’s film’s Peter’s Friends and Much Ado About Nothing
Alex played the role of Simon Marriel in the 1995 feature film Haunted, alongside Anthony Andrews, John Gielgud and Kate Beckinsale. He was part of the BBC Radio Drama Company for a year, and has appeared in scores of radio plays ever since. Currently, he plays Brian in the BBC Radio comedy Clare in The Community

Alex is also well known for his work with comedian Peter Kay appearing in That Peter Kay Thing as Sparky as well as Phoenix Nights as Clinton Baptiste.  He revived Clinton Baptiste for an appearance in Peter Kay’s Britain’s Got the Pop Factor. In 2015 he also revived Clinton for Manchester Arena’s Phoenix Nights Live, which raised £6 million for Comic Relief.

Recently has been gigging as Clinton Baptiste on the London circuit and also performing as Barry with his double act partner Angelos Epithemiou (BBC1’s Shooting Stars). His work with Angelos was recently nominated for Best Comedy at the British Podcast Awards.  Clinton Baptiste’s Paranormal Podcast also continues to sit high in the podcast charts.

Recent TV appearances include Brassic and In the Long Run both for Sky One, Don’t Tell The Driver for BBC2 and for film, The Devil Outside released earlier this year.

As a writer, Alex has written for Alistair McGowan, Ronni Ancona, Paul O’Grady, Iain Lee and Lewis Macleod. In 2016 he wrote the Radio 4 comedy series Barry’s Lunch Club featuring his creation, Barry.

NEWS: The Glee Club Go Bananas to Mark First Anniversary

The Glee Club Glasgow served up a slice of comedy gold last night at their eagerly awaited first birthday bash. An edible pair of The Big Yin’s ‘big banana boots’ took centre stage and proved to be the icing on the cake at the popular comedy club’s celebratory show.

Guests were able ‘to fill their boots’ with slices of the eye catching life-size birthday cake which was created by award-winning Scottish cake designer 3D cakes. Handcrafted from toffee sponge and airbrushed to depict detail, the comedy cake was the brainchild of The Glee team who voted Billy Connelly’s famous fruity booties their favourite Scottish comedy icon.

A stellar line-up of Scottish comics entertained the crowd throughout the evening, including the award winning Mark Nelson, the hilarious Christopher KC and Ashley Storrie and up and coming stars Christopher Macarthur-Boyd and Shona Lawson . Freshly made food, drinks and a lively after party ensured that a fun-filled evening was had by all to mark the one year milestone.

Since opening its doors in early 2019, The Glee Club Glasgow has welcomed a raft of top comedians to its stage, including Sean Lock, Joel Dommett, Larry Dean, Janey Godley, Suzi Ruffell, Tom Stade, Fern Brady, Rosie Jones, Gary Meikle and Des Clarke. In addition to its popular weekend shows, the club has hosted a series of sell-out events such as book tours, drag shows and a hugely successful series of Christmas and Hogmanay comedy nights.

To further fly the flag for Glasgow’s thriving creative and entertainment industries, The Glee Club partnered with leading Scottish festivals throughout the year to deliver a series of unmissable events including Celtic Connections, Glasgow Film Festival and Glasgow Comedy Festival.

The Glee Founder Mark Tughan commented: “Billy Connelly has some pretty big boots to fill in terms of Scottish comedy, so what better way to celebrate our first year in the city than by paying tribute to him with our wonderfully banana’s cake.

We opened the club to showcase and support stand-up comedy in the city and we are thrilled that our first year has been such a success. Glaswegians are known for their humour, so the top notch acts that the club has attracted and sold out shows really is testament to this. Our team is incredibly excited to bring more must-see shows to the city and fly the flag for Scottish comedy’”.

The Glee Club Glasgow’s 400 seater interior, is theatre-style with great views to the round Glee stage, plus excellent lighting, acoustics and atmosphere. An extensive menu of delicious freshly made food and a great quality drinks offering enables guests to enjoy both an evening of entertainment and dining experience under one roof.

Prices: Friday night tickets £11 / students £8 / ticket + food £20, Saturday night tickets £17 / students £8 / ticket + pizza + drink £27

The Glee Club box office: 0871 472 0400 / info@glee.co.uk

www.glee.co.uk

www.facebook.com/gleeglasgow, www.twitter.com/GleeClubGlasgow

www.instagram.com/gleeclubglasgow

WHAT’S ON GLASGOW: Sam Serrano the 20-year-old rising star of comedy comes to Glasgow

Sam Serrano is one of the most exciting new acts on the comedy circuit. After coming second in Great Yorkshire Fringe Comedian Of The Year, being a finalist in Leciester Square New Comedian Of The Year 2019, and a runner-up in Comedy Bloomers LGBT Comedian Of The Year 2019, Serrano is expected to be the next big thing is stand up comedy.

BOYish is Serrano’s debut show all about learning to love yourself despite your differences. It has already had successful runs in Manchester, Nottingham, Liverpool, and Leicester with many more dates being added. In the show, Serrano talks about having learning difficulties, having mental health issues, being bisexual, and being young through their well written and well-delivered routines that captivate audiences. Also, Serrano has shown themself to be a master of crowd work with fantastic off the cuff lines, improvisations, and being able to riff on whatever the room throughs at them.

Sam’s Glasgow show will take place on the 21st March at 2 pm at Dram! As part of the Glasgow Comedy Festival.

Tickets are £5

Ticket link: https://www.ents24.com/glasgow-events/dram/sam-serrano/5864287

INTERVIEW: Scottish comedy legend Janey Godley

She’s been dubbed the ‘godmother of Scottish comedy’ and numbers Billy Connolly among her fans. Now, Janey Godley is set to spread her appeal across the nation as this quintessentially Glaswegian comic takes the Soup Pot Tour over the border and down south. “There will be a different demographic politically at these shows, but remember Nicola Sturgeon gets it in the neck from me as well. I will have to speak slower and make sure that it’s not all about just hating the Tories, though that will be difficult. But by and large, people who come to stand-up are open-minded people, they tend not to be died-in-the-wool Brexiteers who hate the Scottish.”

This tour has Janey wielding a variety of talents, as she delivers the kind of forthright stand-up which has earned her a strong reputation on the comedy circuit and a loyal band of followers. But she will also be displaying her skills at improv, as she stands by a screen and narrates adlibbed voiceovers of people (many of whom are today’s crop of politicians), giving them a heavy Scottish accent and inventing a story, many of which involve making soup for the community.

“The soup pot is very universal: if you’re in Australia, America, Brazil, France Germany or Alaska, and someone dies or gets married, people will make soup. The soup pot is the hub of the community. When somebody died near us when I was a kid, somebody would make the big soup pot so all the visitors had something warm to drink and eat. It’s part of us all being in it together. Of course, that was before people discovered they were gluten free and worried about being allergic to lentils.”

Janey first discovered that she could develop this new strand of her career on the night of the Scottish Independence vote in 2014. “I first did the voiceovers live at the Wild Cabaret club in Glasgow where the big screens were up. When the news came through and it was all looking a bit bleak, we turned the volume down and I started talking over the top of people. The audience loved it and I realised this was something I could do really well.”

 

She then poked fun online at the likes of Theresa May, Ruth Davidson and Nicola Sturgeon, replacing their talk of policy and elections with chat about big Isa and her soup pots. A recent piece she did on Kim Kardashian (largely mocking her for walking backwards) also went down spectacularly well, while clips of supermodels, Pathé newsreels and Fanny Craddock (the original celebrity chef) are given the Godley treatment. “I started off doing it for me, really. I liked the fact that I could give those politicians a whole new background persona and the idea that they might have these ordinary conversations; I love the idea of that normalcy which cuts through all that bulls**t. The ones that are the hardest to do are of Katie Hopkins, because the audience just boo like they’re at a pantomime.”

Since the voiceovers took off, an unusual trend started which reminded Janey of the halcyon days of Spitting Image when politicians would tune in avidly on a Sunday night, desperate to see if they had been captured in wax and caricatured in song. “MPs will say ‘are you going to do me?’ I’d like to do some international ones; I do Trump but I want to do Australian and Canadian politicians. There’s a lot of fodder to go on.”

When she started performing comedy in the mid-90s, there were very few female acts kicking about, but Janey Godley has now become a standard bearer in Scotland for young women who might fancy a career in stand-up. “I did Have I Got News For You and I was the first working-class Scottish female comic to do that: the first and last. There are girls from Glasgow who saw comedy and it would be Kevin Bridges and Frankie Boyle, so they all thought ‘that’s not our job, that’s for Scottish men’. But when they see me and they see someone like Fern Brady, they think ‘yeah, that’s also a woman’s job.’”

Recently, Janey has ramped up her acting CV, appearing in Wild Rose (staring Jessie Buckley, Julie Walters and Sophie Okonedo) about a young woman trying to make her way in the world of Country music, and has written and directed a short film entitled The Last Mermaid. She’s also had a one-woman play run Off-Broadway, and will be on TV screens soon playing the lawyer of Martin Compston’s character in Traces, a crime drama from an original idea by Val McDermid.

But for now, she’s enjoying making people laugh all over the country with both her no-holds barred stand-up and the unique nature of these new voiceovers. “The most important thing is that this has never been done before, no other comic in the world is doing this. I’ve been doing stand-up for over 20 years but it took a Tory called Theresa to make me famous.” Mrs May might now be virtually out of the public eye, but the moment has surely arrived for Janey Godley to take centre stage.

Contributed by Brian Donaldson

Images: Murdo Macleod

NEWS: WHYTE & MACKAY GLASGOW INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2020 PROGRAMME

• WMGICF turns eighteen in style with over 500 shows at 60 venues and over 140,000 tickets on sale

• Comedy legends Steve Martin and Martin Short usher in the festival with a curtain-raising performance at the SSE Hydro

• Jimmy Carr, Stewart Lee, Arabella Weir, Frankie Boyle, Jerry Sadowitz, Trevor Noah plus many more set to appear.

 

The Whyte & Mackay Glasgow International Comedy Festival (GICF) reveals its full programme, as this hugely popular event in the city’s cultural calendar returns 12 – 29 March 2020. 60 venues across Glasgow are taking part – the most ever in the festival’s history.

 

The eighteen-day comedy extravaganza features international stars Trevor Noah, Steve Martin and Martin Short at the SSE Hydro and performances from household names including Jimmy Carr, John Shuttleworth, Dane Baptiste, Arabella Weir, Stewart Lee and Fascinating Aida.

 

It’s a bumper year for home grown talent with Janey Godley, Susie McCabe, Jim Smith and Jerry Sadowitz all gracing the stage of the King’s Theatre. Other top Scottish acts appearing across the festival include Rob Florence and Iain Connell in ‘Uncles’ at the Tramway, Craig Hill, Phil Differ, Fern Brady and Alan Bissett at Oran Mor, Frankie Boyle at the Stand, Elaine C Smith at Oran Mor, Phil Kay at Blackfriars, Darren Connell at The Stand, and Des Clarke at the Garage.

 

Comedy fans on the look out for critically acclaimed stand up can catch rising stars at a series of specially programmed venue takeovers. At the Old Hairdressers, Berk’s Nest present a line up including Desiree Burch, Jordan Brookes, Mawaan Rizwan, Sophie Duker; and Gilded Balloon are bringing Jayde Adams, Micky Overman and more. ARG are popping up in Blue Arrow and the Hug & Pint with a line up that features Evelyn Mok, Mat Ewins, Adam Hess and Annie McGrath. Local cult favourites CHUNKS descend on the State Bar promising Richard Brown, Planet Caramel, David Callaghan, and a gender-swapped live read of the screenplay to the 1995 Paul Verhoeven film Showgirls.

 

As well as stand up shows in some of the city’s biggest venues and intimate gigs in pubs, the Whyte & Mackay Glasgow International Comedy Festival features plays, sketches, improv, film and comedy for kids. This year’s theatre line up includes a brand new play from Chris McQueer at the Tron, Jason Manford in whodunnit Curtains at the King’s, and A Play, A Pie and A Pint at Oran Mor. Families can head to the Tall Ship, the Scottish Mask & Puppet Centre, and The Stand to catch laughs for little ones.

 

Other shows offering something a little bit unusual include a dog-friendly comedy club at Drygate, Hoppy Days beer tasting with comedy, Ray Bradshaw signing his show in BSL live as he performs, a drag parody of First Wives Club, and a special free show of dementia-friendly comedy at the Fred Paton Day Care Centre.

 

Events take place every day throughout the festival and tickets for all shows are on sale now, with some performances already selling out.

 

Sarah Watson, Whyte & Mackay Glasgow International Comedy Festival Director, said: “We’re so excited to launch GICF 2020 with our biggest and most international programme to date. To have a comedy icon like Steve Martin performing at the event with Martin Short is just amazing, but to also feature Trevor Noah in the same year – well it’s just a dream come true.  They’ll set the tone for the festival’s eighteenth year as we welcome performers from all over the world, while also shining a spotlight on all the incredible Scottish talent that can be found in Glasgow in March.”

 

Ruairi Perry, Head of Blended Whisky Brands at Whyte & Mackay, said: “For the 3rd year running it is an absolute pleasure to partner with the Glasgow International Comedy Festival! We’ve had a very busy year as a brand, having celebrated our 175th year by launching our new look smoother bottle and also a ‘lighter spirit drink’ at 21.5% ABV – ideal for those looking for a brilliant tasting spirit but with lower alcohol.

 

There’s nothing light about the programme for this year’s festival – it’s packed again with top class acts from Scotland and around the world. It is amazing to see record number of venues involved across the city in 2020 with a fantastic blend of new talent and household favourites on offer. As a whisky born and bred in Glasgow, we are very proud that festival goers will be enjoying a dram or 2 of Whyte & Mackay whilst enjoying a great laugh & night out. Slàinte!”

 

Councillor David McDonald, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “Whyte & Mackay Glasgow International Comedy Festival is always a keenly anticipated highlight of the city’s cultural calendar and this year the programme is guaranteed to be hugely popular. Glasgow has produced some of the finest comedians who have ever taken to the stage and has welcomed some legendary performers and this year the Whyte & Mackay Glasgow International Comedy Festival ensures that legacy continues.”

 

Keep up to date with all the latest news by registering at glasgowcomedyfestival.com and follow on Facebook and Twitter @glasgowcomedy.

 

 

INTERVIEW: Foil Arms & Hog

Foil Arms and Hog will be heading to the  King’s Theatre, Glasgow on Sunday, 23rd February 2020.  Here they talk about their new show Swines.

Sean Finegan, as befits his status as the straight man in the Irish sketch group Foil Arms and Hog, is the spokesman for the trio off stage. It makes life easier for us to speak directly, he says, adding drily: “Otherwise I might say something witty and you’d attribute it to one of the other guys.”

We chat about their latest show, Swines, which is touring the UK after a sell-out season at the Edinburgh Fringe, but first Finegan explains how the trio met and got their distinctive name.

Finegan (Foil), Conor McKenna (Arms) and Sean Flanagan (Hog) were studying at University College Dublin (reading architecture, engineering and genetics respectively) 12 years ago, when they met through their shared love of performing.

“We were friends through the drama society but it was Sean Flanagan writing a play based on Father Ted that led to us forming the group,” says Finegan. “He was Dougal, I was Bishop Brennan and Conor was Father Ted. We had permission to tour round Ireland from [Father Ted’s creators] Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews, and when the play finished we decided we should do a sketch show together.”

And the memorable name for the trio came out of good-humoured banter. “We came up with loads of naff names that punned on the word ‘sketch’ and rejected them. And then we were at a party one night and we were slagging each other off and came up with them.

“I’m the straight man, so I’m the foil; Conor is all arms and legs and very clumsy on stage; and Sean always hogs the limelight and steals all the laughs. They’re roles that we very easily fall into on stage.”

Finegan admits that some of the sketches they wrote and performed back then “we wouldn’t get away with now, they were quite insulting to all sorts of people”, but that over the years the humour has become more sophisticated.

That’s probably down to their work ethic; they write separately and then meet almost daily to develop the ideas. “Ideas get torn to shreds in the process and then we jump on to the idea and add more jokes and develop them. It sometimes takes months to nail a sketch.” Do they ever argue? “Well there are three of us, so it usually works out as two-to-one. No one has ever stormed out, put it that way,” Finegan laughs.

Finegan recalls when the group started out. “In the UK there’s a big sketch comedy scene but in Ireland that doesn’t exist. In our early days a lot of people would see three guys come on stage looking like Boyzone or something and they’d be instantly against us. But performing on the same bill with stand-up comics, we learnt so much about audience interaction. As any stand-up comic will tell you, you need to engage with the audience quickly and get them on your side.

“So we learnt pretty quickly and our comedy has become a sort of weird hybrid of sketch and messing with the crowd.”

But Foil Arms and Hog’s audience interaction is not cruel or humiliating. “I hope we’re not,” says Finegan, “because the intention is to bring everyone on board as it can be terrifying for some people [to be picked on]. But we love doing it because you never know what the audience may do, and we get a bit of a buzz from it. It’s the element that makes every show unique.”

In their second year at the Fringe they saw Edinburgh Comedy Awards winner Dr Brown (clown performer Phil Burgers). “I think we had thought clowning was the ‘honk honk’ kind of thing but then we realised that it’s about going with the flow. A couple of years later we attended one of his courses and it’s one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. It was brilliant stuff.

“It helped us so much on stage, particularly when things go wrong, as we might get to a funnier place with those skills we learned.”

Foil Arms and Hog have a dedicated following that they have built up over 11 Edinburgh Fringe shows, and for the past six years have posted short films on YouTube – they have clocked up an astonishing one million hits and have nearly 950,000 followers on Facebook. They have a broad demographic and, as Finegan says: “When we look out into the audience and see people from eight to 80 it gives us such a buzz. We have people tell us after a show that their son or daughter has found us online and introduced them to our comedy, and they come to see us together. It’s great.”

Thanks to YouTube, the group’s reach is global – and sometimes unexpected, says Finegan. “We were worried that one recent sketch – about Irish people not really being able to speak Irish – may not necessarily appeal to non-Irish people. But then we got an email from a fan in Sri Lanka saying he loved it because, ‘We’re all forced to learn Tamil when we go to school, it’s exactly like this’.”

But Swines – like all Foil Arms and Hog’s live shows – doesn’t contain any sketches fans may have seen online. “Some people may think they’re going to see the YouTube videos performed live on stage, but absolutely not. We make a point of never performing the online videos live. What works online usually doesn’t work on stage. It’s a very different kind of comedy, and much more surreal live.”

They also have more songs in their shows now than when they started. “They crept in,” Finegan jokes. “My singing’s certainly improved – the lads were carrying me in the beginning – but Conor is a very good singer and Sean knows all about harmonies because he’s been in choirs and stuff. The songs help the flow of the show and we like doing them. Who knows, in 10 years’ time we may be topping the charts.”

Contributed by Veronica Lee

 

WHAT’S ON MARCH: Trevor Noah’s tour is heading to Glasgow

Award-winning comedian Trevor Noah is bringing his Loud & Clear tour to the UK in 2020. The show will visit Glasgow on Friday, 20 March at the SSE Hydro.

The most successful comedian in Africa, and host of the Emmy® award-winning The Daily Show, Trevor Noah has sold out shows over five continents and has written, produced and starred in eight comedy specials.

Don’t miss Trevor live in the UK.

In 2018, The Daily Show won a GLAAD award for Outstanding Talk Episode, and received nominations for a Writers Guild Award (Comedy/Variety Series) as well as two NAACP Image Awards, for Outstanding Talk Series and Outstanding Host in a Talk or News/Information Show. Noah also won Best Host at the 2017 MTV Movie & TV Awards, as well as a 2017 Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Short Form Variety Series for his hosting role on The Daily Show – Between The Scenes.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah received three 2018 Primetime Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Variety Talk Series, Outstanding Interactive Program and Outstanding Short Form Variety Series. Trevor recently received the 2019 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series, as well as nominations for Outstanding Talk Series, Outstanding Variety Show, and Outstanding Host in a Talk or News/Information Show.

Born in South Africa to a black South African mother and a white European father, Noah has hosted numerous television shows including South Africa’s music, television and film awards. In April 2018, Noah launched The Trevor Noah Foundation, a youth development initiative that enhances youth preparedness for higher education or entry into the workforce. Noah’s vision is a South Africa that advances because each generation builds and must grow beyond its predecessor. Through a partnership with Microsoft, the foundation is able to provide under-resourced schools with the opportunity to use technology as a tool to enhance the learning experience, as well as increase digital literacy beyond the classroom.

TICKETS

Glasgow – www.thessehydro.com

www.trevornoah.com

TWITTER: @Trevornoah

REVIEW: Jack Whitehall Stood Up – SSE Hydro Arena, Glasgow

The song The Greatest Show with sparkle-clad Vegas show dancers, a tumbling routine and fire canons, is not quite what you expect as the intro to a comedy gig, but this isn’t any old comedy gig, this is the first night of a 2-date run at the 13000-seater Hydro Arena and Jack Whitehall’s new show for 2019, Stood Up.

It’s a testament to Whitehall’s skill and affability that apart from the dazzling intro and finale (which we’ll come to later) that this isn’t an evening of comedy on steroids, it’s just Whitehall telling stories in such an engaging way that he has the audience eating out of the palm of his hand. Such is his skill, that it’s all he needs. The act is tight throughout (there’s not a murmur of heckling) and Whitehall never wavers, never looses the thread, keeps the jokes coming and the audience firmly on his side and invested in what on earth is going to come next.

There’s the inevitable, but perfectly knowing schtick about how he’s just like you or I (he’s not) and the posho-references, but that’s what the audience comes for, that’s what he’s loved for.

There are surprises aplenty throughout that would be churlish to reveal to anyone attending the tour and an eye-popping seasonal spectacular to end the show, that cleverly ties into an anecdote from the first half.

He may not be everyone’s cup of Earl Grey, but it’s a masterclass in comedy performance that keeps the laughs coming from start to end.

Catch it on tour if you can.

 

Reviewed on 19/11/2019 Jack Whitehall continues touring throughout the UK.

 

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