Thursday, 22 April 2010

Will & Greg Radio 4 Pilot. Comedy Piano Bar.

So many people came to the recording of Will & Greg's Radio 4 Pilot that my friend (who was running a little bit late) was turned away! A super-fun recording with only two pick-ups; amazing.

A new sketch was added since Joke Party in which Will & Greg were talent scouts for extremely unattractive twin children. The line "where is your twin...? OH! I thought it was some kind of meaty rucksack", will never fail to amuse me.

From the recording of Will & Greg, we made our way to Comedy Piano Bar which is a new comedy night hosted by James Sherwood. Basically, a group of comedians are invited along to do a set, BUT they have to finish on a song. The first ever Comedy Piano Bar had a wicked line-up: Tom Allen, Helen Arney, Thom Tuck and Henning Wenn. ACE.

Tom Allen finished his set with a cover of Kellis' 'Milkshake' and Helen Arney finished hers with a brilliant arrangement of OutKast's 'Hey Ya!'. Soooo good. I'm looking forward to the next installment.

A thought.

I just love it when grown men gets haircuts and then suddenly look childlike. Awww, too cute.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Ten-Year Self-Improvement Challenge. Update One.

I have 5 pledges that I think will make me a better person in 1o years time. If you don't know what they are, you can read them here. I will now update you on my monthly progress:

1) I haven't read a book. I haven't even started a book. I have read the paper daily and various articles that people have linked to on Twitter, but that is all. I can't seen to motivate myself to read. I have replaced my iPod in my bag with a book, but instead of reading I stare at people/out the window/at the advertisements on the tube. Any tips?

2) I introduced myself to a comedian the other day. We'd tweeted each other and I had something to give him, so it made things a little bit easier. He was so nice. I had an extra spring in my step the following day.

3) My blog is /almost/ up-to-date. I've been to an awful lot of shows lately and just haven't been able to find the time. Maybe I should look into getting an iPhone, that way I could blog while i'm out.

4) I started really strongly with this challenge and i've forgotten about it a little bit lately. I need to remember put my notebook and pen in my apron before I start work. I'll step up my efforts this month.

5) I wrote a very long email to my Grandparents at Easter and got a lovely reply. Excerpt: "I have just attended a Senior First Aid Course at Vinnies Head Office, and I was so-o-o nervous. Was studying the First Aid Disc for days, and thankfully I passed with a mark of 18 out of 20. Gosh, I was relieved. We were given a dummy called “Mini Anne” to practice on – I have been threatening all the volunteers with CPR lessons!!".

A pretty poor effort for my first month. This month, my efforts will be doubled!

A thought.

I have opinions about varied things, but I don't have the confidence to back them and chose to say nothing. I discovered a lack of confidence in my opinions while reading Mark Watson's blog entry called "The Very Late Review"; i'm extremely apprehensive to comment.


Turns out, there are an awful lot of Tom's in comedy. Every month Thom Tuck from The Penny Dreadfuls organises and MC's Tom:foolery at the Escape Bar in Soho. This months line-up featured the likes of Adams, Cottle, Price, Deacon, Goodliffe and Wrigglesworth.

The Escape Bar is a very odd venue for comedy. I'm pretty sure drag queens kept trying to come in for a drink and were being turned away (by an enormous bouncer). I kept getting distracted by the TV behind the stage that was showing 'The Hills' with sublitles, oh, and the mirror ball.

Adams (gotta love 'The Meat Theif') and Goodliffe (maths jokes! WIN) were my favourite Tom's of the night. Poor Mr. Wrigglesworth wasn't very well, but i'm very glad he came down to headline.

A thought.

I had no idea that 'The Little Mermaid III' existed until Thom mentioned it. Even my 6 year old sister, Samantha, didn't know and she's a huge Little Mermaid fan.

Me: Did you know there was a 3rd Little Mermaid DVD?
Samantha: NO! How do you know that?
Me: A comedian called Thom Tuck told me so.
Samantha: I'll have to ask Mum to buy it for me.

Joke Party.

No more Joke Party at the Wilmington Arms until September; boo! This one was a lot of fun and my friends and I spotted some industry-type people in the audience. William Andrews was the compere and was joined by Colin Hoult, Fergus Craig, Anna & Katy, Matthew Baynton, Tommy and the Weeks, Sophie Black and Andrea Donovan.

All the comedians were on fine form and there was a great turn out. Really hard to pick favoutites, but Fergus Craig's character comedy was AWESOME (more please, Fergus!). Tommy and the Weeks' new material was great; I do like Tom Bells low energy/depressive humour. I'd not seen or heard of Matthew Baynton before and I really enjoyed his sets. His story about Jamie Oliver and why he thought "he was soooooo down to earth" was hilarious.

The last half of the show saw the return of Will & Greg as they tested out their radio pilot which was being recorded later in the week. The sketch about the "cat shouterer" was my favourite: "Whiskers! You're getting on my wick, yeah!". Will has a killer voice. Karaoke Circus? I HOPE SO.

A thought.

I didn't think i'd ever like Doctor Who, but I do. I like it a lot. Matt Smith is so, so good. He reminds me a lot of Jonny Sweet.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

An Event Of Some Kind VII.

Instead of accompanying my family to mass, I spent Good Friday at the Cavendish Arms in Stockwell. It was AEOSK's 1st birthday and they had a cracking bill to celebrate: Junior Ministers, Emi Green & Noisy Fred, Pippa Evans, Tim Minchin and 6 Day Riot.

Pippa Evans as Loretta Maine was just wonderful; her voice well and truly blew me away. She sang 'I'm Fine' (a favourite), a new song (from her new show, I pressume) and led an audience member (my friend) in a Cosmo Quiz. I'm sure she gained a lot of new fans.

Emi Green is a singer/songwriter from my hometown of Perth, Western Australia. Her songs were sweet and her voice, lovely; she was accompanied by Noisy Fred on acoustic guitar. She reminded me so, so much of my singer/songwriter friend, Jennifer Reed. Uncanny almost.

It was great to see Junior Ministers again, it's been quite a while due to a band member being overseas. H Anothony and Jim played songs from their album 'Adventure Playground'; a definite crowd-pleaser.

I LOVE 6 DAY RIOT. Bass, violin, drums, guitar, uke, awesome lead singer, catchy tunes... what more could you want? One of the most memorable moments was when Tim Minchin provided percussion (and dancing) during 'Ya Da da'.

By the time Minchin graced the stage for his set i'd had a bit too much wine and my memory became fuzzy. He sang an Easter song (which he wrote when he "didn't think anyone would listen" to him), 'The Good Book' and commandeered the bassist and drummer from 6 Day Riot for 'Mitsubishi Cult'. He previewed a song from his new radio series, played from his iPhone, while the lead singer of 6 Day Riot, Tamara, joined Tim (with acoustic guitar) for a cover of Crowded House's '4 Season in One Day'. MAGICAL.

AEOSK VII came to an end with all the performers coming back on stage to help Junior Ministers sing 'Bounce'. My night didn't end there, I stayed well in to the night drinking, talking and just having the most wonderful time.


A thought.

Some people create so much drama. It's best if I keep my distance with these people.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Return Of The Tardy Blogger. Week Four.

School for Gifted Children.

A top notch gig from Robin Ince and guests: Stewart Lee, Jim Bob, Bridget Christie, Robyn Hitchcock, Joanna Neary, Alan Moore, Darren Hayman and Kevin Eldon. It was such an awesome gig that I went straight home and booked for the next one in May.

So many brilliant moments, but I think Robin Ince sulkily standing behind Jim Bob with a bubble machine while he rocked out was a favourite. I thought Kevin Eldon and Stewart Lee were great and I just adore Bridget Christie as 'A Ant'. The evening ended by all the performers coming back onstage to join Robyn Hitcock for 'Olé! Tarantula'.

The Art of Storytelling.

Another wonderful gig as part of the London Word Festival, this one featured the likes of Daniel Kitson, Ian McMillan, Matthew Robins and Terry Saunders debuting 'Six and a Half Loves'. It took place in St Leonard's Church which looked majestic covered in candles, string and baggage labels of lost things. Photos here.

Matthew Robins' set was absolutely incredible. His whimsical songs where enhanced by paper puppets that were cast onto a screen by an overhead projector.

Terry Saunders series of video blogs where played on the screen behind him as he told the hour-long story that is 'Six and a Half Loves'. It's lovely/sad/funny/beautiful/crass and so much more. 4 chapters can be found on YouTube. About half way through, the audience awwed simultaneously. Saunders stopped, looked up, and exclaimed "oh yes, but this is fucking grim". Ha!

Ariadne the WAG's Charity Bag.

The line-up was pretty good and it was for a good cause (to raise money for Haiti victims) so I decided to go at the last minute. Nick Mohammed, The Penny Dreadfuls, Jonny Sweet and Abandoman where hits while the rest of the performers, were misses.

I hadn't seen Nick Mohammed's stand-up live before and his set was a real treat. Characters, magic, songs, power point; who knew?

The front row where very drunk and roudy which most of the acts took in their stride, but Jonny Sweet seemed to get a little bit frustrated. He's still ace, though. He did the part from 'Mostly About Arthur' in which he attempts to read the blurb from "My Irish Life" in an Irish accent. HILARIOUS.

A thought.

Since reading my friends blog, 'Quite a lot of thoughts on vegetarianism', I have stopped eating read meat and chicken. I'll still continue to eat seafood as I don't think I could ever give it up. Well, I probably could, but I don't want to. I enjoy seafood too much.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Return Of The Tardy Blogger. Week Three.

Fat Tuesday.

The Salmon and Compass is quite a trek from West London, but Joe Wilkinson was on the bill and I just had to go. Other comics included Jarred Christmas, Gerry Howell, Keith Farnan and compere, Tiernan Douieb.

Best bits:

1) Tiernan getting the audience pumped up and then Joe walked on looking a little bit glum, scratched his head, sighed and then exclaimed "I can't help but feel that i've bought bought the mood down".

2) Gerry Howell's surreal material/set. He's really, really good.

3) Jarred Christmas telling me how to get home "take the Northo to Kingo Crosso, jump on the Pico and then, bam, you're home. Don't take the Hammo and Cito, that'll take ages".

Keith asked the audience what they thought the best attribute of an Irish man was and the overwhelming response was "their accent". My initial thought was "their eyes". I'm so glad I didn't say that out loud!

The Australian Film Festival. Two Fists, One Heart. Bran Nue Dae.

Both these films were introduced by Tim Minchin who talked about his role in 'Two Fist, One Heart' as well as discussing some of the themes and cultural aspects of the film. His introduction to 'Bran Nue Dae' was a little bit more playful; he left the stage singing "there's nothing I would rather be, then to be an Aborigine".

'Two Fists, One Heart'
was a little bit predictable in plot, but the acting was top notch (especially from the writer, Rai Fazio). My favourite quotes came from Tim Minchin's character, Tom (who provided comic relief): "there's a man in my house" and "he hit me" "what did you do?" "I fell over".

I absolutely adored 'Bran Nue Dae'. It's the kind of film that makes you happy and had an amazing cast (including Geoffrey Rush, Magda Szubanski, Ernie Dingo, Missy Higgins and Jessica Mauboy). Highly recommended.

Musical Comedy Awards.

I must admit that I only booked tickets to see those performing alongside the finalists (Pippa Evans, Ginger & Black and Tom Basden), but was pleasantly surprised by all those who graced the stage. Abandoman ended up taking the top accolade (i've seen them give the same set a few times and it never fails to bring the house down), but not without some tough competion from Amatuer Transplants, Horse & Lewis and Jay Foreman (who was may favourite).

Pippa Evans as Loretta Maine is always a treat; she seems to be doing a lot more stand-up in between songs which is nice to see. Ginger & Black's set secured them a place among my favourite comedians; their material about a date that Dan had gone on is brilliant (I do love dark humour). Tom Basden sung some firm favourites as well as previewing a new song about Nazi memorabilia. Ace.

A thought.

If a stranger has a nice accent, I like them instantly (even if the only reason i've heard their accent was because I was eavesdropping).

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Return Of The Tardy Blogger. Week Two.

Isy Suttie. Work In Progress.

I think Isy's work in progress at Lowdown at the Albany was the first for her new show, which was bloody good when taking that into consideration. It was quite a different direction for Suttie who, in the past, has had character-heavy shows. Very whimsical, musical and completely adorable; I particularly liked her song about different generations falling in love "uppercase, uppercase, lowercase kiss".

Project Ace.

This was the first run-through for Danielle Ward and Martin White's new musical and was one of the most enjoyable shows I have ever seen. I think it is safe to say that the whole audience was blown away with its awesomeness. The cast helped: Margaret Cabourn-Smith, Colin Hoult, Doc Brown, Anna & Katy, The Penny Dreadfuls, Tony Gardner, Lizzie Roper and Frank Skinner.

I'm not going to even try to pick a favourite moment/performer because everyone ROCKED. Although, I think Colin Hoult needs a special mention for playing a number of different characters (male and female); uber talented.


I'd not heard of WitTank before, but after chatting to a friend about my love of sketch comedy she told me that seeing them was a must. I didn't have to wait long as they gig twice a month at Etcetera Theatre.

I'll quote from WitTank's tumblr account, which gives a damn good summary of what it is they do/their style:

"Witness the unacceptable mess as this sketch group mix razor-sharp wit with charm. And they look good, well, ok. Join us in London, Edinburgh and across the country for boundless energy, infectious fun and above all great jokes, leaving behind fond memories and possibly a restraining order. Forget your troubles and immerse yourself in ours. WitTank is: Kieran Boyd, Mark Cooper-Jones and Naz Osmanoglu."

It was epecially nice to see them with a friend (and mega-fan of WitTank's) that I don't often spend a lot of time with; she's such a laugh.

Crash Test Comedy.

This had become so popular that they had to swap the smaller room at The Pleasance for the big one. Brilliant sets from Delete The Banjax, Idiots of Ants, William Andrews and finally, some new material from Angelos Epithemiou (which was hilarious!).

Delete The Banjax have a sketch in which they tandem parachute. I'd seen it before but this time they ended the sketch by singing Cheryl Cole's 'Parachute'; brilliant.

Andrews' material about ghosts and 3 sylable names had me roaring with laughter. I must say, he looked extremely dapper in his tie and waistcoat.

A thought.

I like it when the phrase "let's dance" is used when one walks into a stranger and then continues to the move the same way. It never fails to amuse me.

Return Of The Tardy Blogger. Week One.

I've done it again, I haven't written a blog in 4 weeks. Maybe I should cut down on the amount of shows I see so I can keep on top of it (I don't think it's going to happen, to be honest).

Fat Tuesday.

This was Fat Tuesday's 5th Birthday bash and was jam-packed with some wonderful comics: Robin Ince, Matt Kirshen, Kevin Eldon, Holly Walsh, Ginger & Black, Lucy Porter, Carl Donnelly, Isy Suttie and Phil Nichol.

My highlights were Keven Eldon as the poet Paul Hamilton (he totally encompasses this character) and Tiernan Douieb and Phil Nichol singing 'The Only Gay Eskimo'. There are some awesome photos here.

100 Days To Make Me A Better Person. London Word Festival.

On the 1st of December Josie Long invited the public to do one thing for 100 days that would make them a better person. Over 800 people signed up and on the 10th of March an audience gathered in a secret location in Stoke Newington to see the end result as part of the London Word Festival.

Josie, Sara Pascoe and Isy Suttie took it in turns to talk about their challengers (Josie spoke to strangers and wrote jokes, Sara wrote letters and Isy drew pictures on a large canvas). Alex Horne was unable to be there, but his short film was debuted (he filmed his son for 6 seconds everyday) which was one of the most touching things I have ever seen.

The audience took great joy in sitting on cushions/rugs/mattresses and wandering around the 100 Days Gallery during the intervals. It was an immensly enjoyable and inspiring evening.

The Big Libel Gig.

This gig was organised by Robin Ince to help raise money to support the Coalition for Libel Reform which attracted big names including the likes of Dara O'Briain, Ed Byrne, Tim Minchin, Marcus Bridgestocke, Shappi Khorsandi, Professor Brian Cox, Simon Singh, Ariane Sherine, Professor Richard Wiseman and Doctor Ben Goldacre.

Highlights were Ariane Sherine singing 'The Simon Sing Song', Tim Minchin bear-hugging Robin Ince, Professor Brian Cox telling the tech men to "turn the fucking lights down" and Dara's rant about Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Photos here.

A thought.

I used to do something arty or crafty once a week, these days I don't any. I should really get back into scrapbooking; I have so many tickets, flyers and articles cluttering up my room.

Party. Arts Theatre.

This was the West End debut for Tom Basden's award winning play 'Party'. It was just as wonderful as I had remembered and this time it had a kick-ass set (a visual feast for a fan - i've seen inside Jared's summer house/shed!).

Duncan's (Tim Key) physical comedy with the water jug still made me laugh uncontrollably and Jared's (Jonny Sweet) phrases were brilliant (I particularly liked "good eff" and "dodge territory"). I predicted an accident during the part where Jared lunges forward and slams his foot down on the top of a tool box.

It received rave reviews in most of the top newspapers and rightly so.

A thought.

Growing up in Australia where not many houses have stairs meant they were always a bit of a novelty. Now that I live in England, the novelty has worn off. I approach stairs with caution; I think it's partly due to the fact that staircases were out-of-bounds when I was little incase we hurt ourselves. I've fallen down the stairs (4 stairs from the bottom) once. It hurt.

Joke Party.

This is a fairly new comedy night at The Wilmington Arms which falls on the first Tuesday of every month and features William Andrews, Colin Hoult, Anna Crilly, Katy Wix, Tom Bell, Ed Weeks, Sophie Black, Briget Christie, Mathew Baynton and Andrea Donovan.

The audience were a little strange and un-responsive which brought the show down a little bit. William Andrews was completely ace and got a pretty good review in TNT Magazine:

A young bloke in his twenties, saunters on to the stage and, after an exchange of pleasantries, pulls out a roll of gaffer tape.

"I'm going to use this as a metaphor for my job", he claims, wrapping the tape two of three loops around his head, "because, like my job, it's easier going on than coming off."

The audience reacts with raised eyebrows, but the comic than whips off his shirt to reaveal that his whole torso has been taped up as well. A miniature xylophone appears from stage-left and the comic begins to reel off one-liners, some whincingly corny, some clever enough to keep the audience laughing. In between each punchline, our experimental gag-man plays a brief ditty on his little xylophone. It's different.

And then, after a pause, he spits out the best line of the night: "If God truly is everywhere, then I came in his face this morning."

Colin Hoult and Briget Christie were also very, very good. I'm looking forward to the next installment.

A thought.

I find dieting easier when i've had enough sleep. I lose all will power when i'm tired. Sleep = fruit. No sleep = chocolate.