Archive by Author

Teenage Cancer Trust Evening Of Comedy

25 Feb
© Teenage Cancer Trust

© Teenage Cancer Trust

The very first Teenage Cancer Trust Show was 15 years ago and featured ‘The Who and Friends’. This annual event has now grown to a week of concerts, including an evening of comedy.

Roger Daltrey CBE, has been bringing together top artists and comedians from around the world over these 15 years, raising over £20 million to help support young people with cancer.

Regular readers know that Noel Fielding rarely misses one of these evenings and this year is no exception.

The TCT Evening of Comedy at the Royal Albert Hall is on Tuesday 24th March, doors open at 6.45 and ticket prices range from £27.50 to £55. Tickets are available from here.

This years show is hosted by Kevin Bridges who will be joined by Jon Richardson as well as Noel.

Other concerts during the week are:

Monday 23rd – Stereophonics

Wednesday 25th – Van Morrison

Thursday 26th – The Who and Wilko Johnson

Friday 27th – Paul Weller and Jonny Marr

Saturday 28th – Noel Gallaghers High Flying Birds

Sunday 29th – Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls

There is plenty of entertainment for everyone, whatever your taste in music and comedy, so why not splash out and help a great cause?

You can find out more about all the concerts at the TCT Website.

Reece’s Chain Reaction

20 Feb
© bbc.co.uk

© bbc.co.uk

Reece Shearsmith is interviewed by Adam Buxton in the first of the new series of BBC Radio 4’s tag team interview show Chain Reaction. Each week the interviewee from the week before becomes the interviewer.

The 10th series of the chat show carries on from the end of the last series, when Adam Buxton was interviewed by Graham Linehan.

During the show the pair discuss the League of Gentlemen, Psychoville and Inside No 9 and Reece’s strange job making models.

Next week Reece interviews House of Fools legend Bob Mortimer, the following week Bob interviews his comedy partner Vic Reeves, and Vic then interviews three-time Bafta award winner Olivia Colman.

Chain Reaction is broadcast on Wednesdays on Radio 4 at 6.30pm, followed by repeats on Radio 4 extra at 7.30am and 10pm the following Wednesday. It is also available after broadcast on BBC iPlayer.

Hayden Talks Gen Zed

14 Feb
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© Hayden Black

TVO regular and sporadic Rich Fulcher collaborator Hayden Black is about to unleash a new animated show, Gen-Zed! - which is making headlines as the first ever animated show to feature a trans actress in a leading role.

Hayden took time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions about Gen Zed and the folk involved with it, and the resulting Q&A is below.

Where did you get the idea for the show?

I was wondering how younger people just emerging out of high school and college were going to handle life now they’d grown up immersed in tech and the bazillions of choices it gave you. It’s a double-edged sword, tech. These days you can find anything you want, download it, listen to it, play it, watch it – but it can also bury you alive. Plus I was hungry to tell a story with a Transgender woman in it. Transparent got there first and they did an absolutely magnificent job. Gen Zed is aimed at a much younger audience .

What were your main influences when writing Gen Zed?

First influence is “The Young Ones” – the anarchic, rebellious spirit that formed my childhood. I wanted to do a show that WASN’T for your parents. Something “the kids” (thanks, Rik) could own. The second is “Spaced”; specifically the flights of fancy that Edgar Wright did so brilliantly. I actually wrote the pilot as live-action but I always had animation in the back of my mind. I got talking to an animator who thought it was a great show to animate but her busy schedule prevented her from coming on board. And then the magnificent Alex Bradley showed up and BAM.

How did you come up with the characters?

Shona, the young Trans girl, is based on a Trans girl I know who’s hysterical, witty, beautiful, amazing and brilliant. I wanted to capture her; both her beauty and her pain. Living your life that way, the only way you can live if you’re born in the wrong body, takes such bravery because of how some shitty, ignorant people choose to live theirs. I always think that men who make fun of Trans women aren’t really men at all. Irony! The other characters were mixtures of various things; Cameron’s a shit poet which is based loosely on The Young Ones’ Rik. Living in LA, I know a few people like Betsy who are a little too dependent on prescription drugs but don’t think they have a problem. And Huey’s just a complicated nutter; sort of like The Young Ones’ Vyvyan but with a bit more depth.

Did you set out to write a Trans character, or did they naturally fit with the rest of the characters?

Yes, I did. Shona was the first character to emerge. The rest followed her lead.

And so is it true that this is the first-ever animated series to feature a Trans actress in a lead role?

Yes!! It’s astonishing that no one’s done it before. In fact, the only animated shows thus far to feature trans characters in lead roles are Anime series and so they’re all about magic turning boys into girls – nothing realistic that portrays Trans women as real people has ever been done in this format. Which is such bullshit. But as I’ve written and researched this show, I’ve come to realize that by creating a strong role model, Trans people might have something to help them realize that they’re NOT alone and that SHIT GETS BETTER! The tragic story of Leelah Alcorn the kind of things we want to stop from happening ever again.

KevJulieMarcelo

© Hayden Black

How long did the scripts take to write?

I wrote a 28-page pilot in June 2014, in about 2 weeks. It sort of sat there while I worked on other things but Gen Zed began picking up steam around October. For the next few months, it became re-write city, involving table reads, etc., and it just got better and better. I also decided to change the pilot presentation into a web series so I let it grow from 28 pages to about 54, knowing I’d split it into roughly 7 x 5 minute webisodes.

How do differences in cultural references in Britain and America have an influence on your writing? Do you feel you can only use American ones?

I write for an American audience because that’s where I live. But at the end of the day, I can’t (and don’t want to) escape my mother culture, so both cultures go into my writing. I look at both styles of comedy – American and British – and try to use both. So there’s wit, intelligence and smarts along with bad puns, toilet humour, and physical comedy. Hopefully it’s a good mashup. 

Do you use your British humour in your writing, and do the American audiences ‘get it’?

I always use some British humour but I’m all about writing a comedy that everyone can get. I won’t get too self-indulgent because what’s the point? I do like a handful of earned jokes though; something you don’t get at first but when you do, you go “Ah!” So I’ll pepper in a few jokes here and there that not everyone will get but if you’re one of the few who do, you’ll know I was writing specifically with you in mind.

Emily

© Hayden Black

Did you have actors in mind for the role or did you just see who turned up for auditions?

I had no actors in mind – I never do, to be honest. I just write it. Actors come to the table with their own talents; their take on their character can add something you didn’t realize was there. I got very lucky with Gen Zed because I cast it so quickly.

Julie Rei Goldstein was the first trans actress I auditioned and she just nailed it! She got the character, got my humour, and delivered Shona so quickly I was amazed. Shona is a complex character – they all are, really – but Julie knew just how to drive it. There are moments of snarkiness, moments of over the top silliness, and moments of sadness and horrible things and she knows when to put her foot on the pedal and when to hit the brakes.

John M. Keating was referred to me by America Young (of Goodnight Burbank) and he’s so talented and such a great bloke. Emily C. Chang I met a few years ago at a comedy festival here in LA. I watched a short of hers that she starred in and it was clear how talented she is. So I made sure to add her to Facebook in case there was ever a time when we could work together and I’m glad I did! She just batted it out of the park with her first read.

Kevyn Richmond was recommended to me by a producer friend and the moment I saw his reel I knew he was Cameron. And then there’s Marcelo Tubert who plays Miguel, their landlord. He’s a very established character actor so what you get with Marcelo is a huge talent and a man full of ideas that he brings to the table. I even sneaked in a line for the girl who Shona is based on! So she gets to cameo alongside the character based on her.

KevJulie

© Hayden Black

How did Jane Wiedlin become involved?

We follow each other on Twitter and so I sent her a DM asking if she’d like a cameo. She agreed to read the script then responded with an email that said she wouldn’t do a cameo. She’d only do a recurring character because she loved the script so much. I created a brand new character for her that wasn’t in the pilot; she plays the girl who works with Cameron in the video game store that he has a mad crush on. She even flew down from San Francisco just to record with us in person and she was SO lovely.

SONY DSC

© Hayden Black

What about the music? Did you write your own theme tune again?

Yup! I co-wrote this with James Semple, a British composer. And I also wrote pretty much all of the incidental music that you hear in the show too. Have I made a stupid joke about playing with my organ in public yet? –  because this would be the place to do it!

How long has it taken from when you first had the idea for the show to actually recording the voices for the first episode?

Really quickly – about 8 months. I wasn’t planning on shooting Gen Zed when I first wrote it so it’s all taking off rather fast. But that’s how these things usually happen. It’s the stuff you least expect.

How long does the animation take to complete?

Alex is telling me a month per episode, so all I can do is hold my breath. His preliminary artwork has been rather fantastic so I know I’m going to be gob-smacked when I see it all come together.

When will the episodes be available to watch?

I’m hoping it’s ready to go by late Autumn 2015. But we’ll have snippets and scenes to promote the show much sooner than that. If you follow the twitter @Gen_Zed and find us on Facebook, you can be up-to-the-minute and take place in competitions, win prizes like signed scripts, etc.

The Velvet Onion would like to thank Hayden for taking the time and trouble to answer our questions. If you’d like to know more about Hayden and his other work, please visit his Facebook page or follow him on Twitter.When Gen Zed is available to watch we’ll be the first to let you know!

The Complete History Of Fulcher

12 Dec
© 4OD

© 4OD

The Complete History Of….. is a new series of short information films on 4OD. The 6 minute internet shows are presented by Professor Martins, who looks and sounds a lot like Rich Fulcher, and he is on a mission to discover the history of modern trends.

The first 3 shows investigate The Complete History of: sexting, legal highs and YOLO. The Professor interviews experts on the subjects and tries some of the activities himself.

As you would expect, things don’t go quite to plan in every show, and the Professor gets into a bit of trouble.

To view all the episodes go to 4od.

We are all excited to see Rich back on our screens after what seems like ages!

Gadget Man At Christmas

8 Dec
© channel 4

© channel 4

This festive season Richard Ayoade presents Gadget Man’s Guide to Christmas – an indispensable guide to how people can improve their Christmas, with gadgets that help you shop, wrap presents, beat the weather, improve your carol singing and even cook the dinner.

He’s joined by Jonathan Ross, Stephen Merchant, Adam Hills, Reece Shearsmith, Robert Webb and Jessica Hynes for the hour-long special on Monday 22nd December at 8pm.

If you are a fan of the show and want to play with the latest gadgets then you’re in luck! North One Television who produce Gadget Man are looking for members of the public for a focus group to test technology as part of a segment of the show.

They are looking for contributors covering a cross-section of the UK population, but you’ll need to be quick – you must be available to be in London on December 16th. For more information and to apply click here.

So Hot Right Now #8

1 Dec

Welcome to The Velvet Onion – the central hub for an interconnected range of alternative comedy and more.  Click through for the LATEST NEWS, and see what’s so hot right now below.

ST VINCENT AND THE BEAR

© 2014 Sony Pictures

© 2014 Sony Pictures

This week sees the UK release of St Vincent – the new Bill Murray film about a young boy whose parents have just divorced who finds an unlikely friend and mentor in the misanthropic, bawdy, hedonistic war veteran (Murray) who lives next door. We’re telling you about it because the film also features Chris O’Dowd as a priest/teacher. Have a look at the trailer below to see what it’s all about. The film is released in the UK on Friday (5th December).

Don’t forget, Paul King‘s movie adaptation of Paddington featuring an all-star cast and cameos from Alice LoweSimon FarnabySteve Oram and Tom Meeten is still in UK cinemas, so do go and see it if you haven’t yet!

©  Studio Canal

© Studio Canal

Nicole Kidman, Hugh Bonneville, Julie Walters, Peter Capaldi, Jim Broadbent and former Nathan Barley actor turned Bond movie star Ben Wishaw lead the cast, with Kidman, Bonnerville & Walters turning up on last week’s Graham Norton Show to publicise it. You can catch up on iPlayer here.

TVO ON AIR

The current runs of TVO favourites continue apace this week, with Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Toast of London, Psychobitches, Trollied and Not Going Out all airing new episodes throughout the week – and available via catchup services after transmission. Here’s a pic from tonight’s Never Mind the Buzzcocks to keep you going.

©  BBC/Talkback/Brian Ritchie

© BBC/Talkback/Brian Ritchie

Also this week, the voice of Rich Fulcher can be heard in The Regular Show on Cartoon Network. The episode is called I Like You Hi (season 5, episode 26), and Rich is the voice of the answering machine and smoke signal. The episode will be repeated regularly on the channel so keep a look out for it.

For more on the show, visit the Cartoon Network website now.

NORMAN

© Lauren Taylor / The Velvet Onion

If you missed it last week, the brand new Gary Le Strange single, Norman (I’ve Dropped My Cup Of Tea) is available for download now via iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby, and is also up for streaming on Spotify. You’d be insane to miss it. Grab a copy over yonder.

It marks the first completely new Le Strange material from Waen Shepherd since Beef Scarecrow in 2006, following the character’s revival in 2012 at Club Fantastico and The Velvet Onion Live, and the release of the ‘lost’ EP Glamoronica last year. Judging by the strength of Norman, which we’ve had on repeat at TVO Towers all week, forthcoming material is going to be stonking!

THE JAZZ MEN

A couple of years ago Julian Barratt made a surprise appearance on stage with Tenacious D at their Hammersmith Apollo gig. At the time all we had by way of evidence were a couple of blurry photos and videos. New footage has been published by Peter Kyriacou, which shows what happened from back stage and front of stage – so we can have a proper look at their freeform performance of ‘Simply Jazz’.

Click on our news post to see the video!

AND THE REST!

As always, there’s so much going on, that we’re using Twitter to keep you informed quicker these days. Join the other 11,900+ of our regular readers by following us there, and get regular updates such as these:

Katherine’s Cooking Conundrum

17 Nov
© The Guardian

© The Guardian

Katherine Parkinson stars in a new microplay written by Laura Wade. The 7 minute short film – Britain Isn’t Eating – is the first in a series of plays inspired by a new collaboration between Guardian journalists and Royal Court theatre-makers.

Britain Isn’t Eating centres around a politician, who is determined to show everyone that food banks are just for the lazy, and anyone can make a meal from just a few store cupboard essentials.

There are a couple of TVO connections as the director of the TV show in the play is Kyle Soller, who starred alongside Julian Barratt in Government Inspector at the Young Vic, and Julian starred in NSFW at The Royal Court Theatre.

There will be 6 microplays in total on the subjects of music, fashion, politics and education, all will be available for viewing on the Guardian website.  There will also be a Guardian Live and Royal Court Theatre Big Idea premiere screening of the films, with introductions from the artists and journalists involved on 5th December.

To watch Britain Isn’t Eating and for more information, head over to the Guardian Website.

Sabotage For Dan & Colin

13 Nov
© Hat Trick

© Hat Trick

TVO regulars Dan Clark and Colin Hoult are taking part in Sabotage, the hour-long radio show that prides itself on being ‘a comedy show for comedy fans’!

The first series featured Aisling Bea and Kevin Eldon, among a host of great comedy favourites.

The show is made by Hat Trick productions and you can get tickets here for the recordings. Colin and Dan are at the 3rd December recording and there is also one on 26th November.

The philosophy of the shows is ‘ make our audience feel like they are part of something very special and exclusive’, so why not give it a try if you are lucky enough to get tickets.

Hayden’s Seismic Stand-Up

24 Oct
© Seismic

© Seismic

Anyone in the  Los Angeles area on Sunday can be a witness to an historic occasion!

Friend of TVO, the multi-talented Hayden Black, is making his first foray into Stand-up Comedy this Sunday, in Seismic at 7pm alongside a variety of comedians, hosted by Sal Rodriguez.

The free show is at Muse on 8th. For more information see the poster below or the event Facebook page.

If you do go along, please say Hi to Hayden and tell him TVO sent you!

Science For Her

18 Oct
© amazon

© amazon

Megan Amram, a writer for NBC’s hit show Parks and Recreation, has written a new book – Science…For Her! ; a blend of science and Cosmo to highlight the absurd way in which women are still portrayed in both arenas.

She tackles crucial scientific topics like Biology: This Spring’s Ten Most Glamorous Ways to Die; Earth Science: Fashion Staples for Each Step of Global Warming; and the most pressing issue facing women today, kale!

The book is released on 4th November in the USA and 10th November in the UK.

You might be wondering why we are telling you about this, we don’t usually tell you about random book releases, even if it looks like it will be a lot of fun!

You’ll be pleased to know that there is a video to celebrate the book called Let’s get physics Y’all, featuring a lot of our favourite American comedian – Rich Fulcher.

Get an eyeful of the video over at Funny or Die.

Richards Grin Bin

4 Oct

Richard Sandling is hosting The Grin Bin, an evening of comedy in aid of England Roller Derby, at Bethnal Green’s famous Backyard Comedy Club on Sunday October 12th.

All proceeds are going towards helping fund the team ahead of their final fixture of 2014 – the Roller Derby World Cup which will take place in Dallas this December.

Joining Richard are a variety of top comedians including Buzzcocks regular Phil Jupitus, Pappys, Gemma Whelan, Sofie Hagen and Will Hodgson, with more to be announced.

The show is suitable for over 18’s and you can get tickets and more information here.

If you live further north, don’t worry, The Grin Bin is travelling to Manchester on Sunday 23rd November at the Kings Arms in Salford.

Rose D’Or For Toast

18 Sep

© Matt Berry

A few months ago we mentioned that Toast of London and Yonderland had been nominated for a Rose D’Or award.

We’re pleased to announce that Toast of London won the Best Sitcom category at the ceremony in Berlin last night, and Matt Berry, Arthur Matthews and producer Kate Daughton were there in person, as you can see from the picture that Matt posted on Twitter along with this Tweet:

Rose D’or for Toast Of London – celebrating in and out of the Berlin night with @Munchious n @katedaughton

There is another series of Toast of London coming soon to Channel 4.

Noel Work In Progress

15 Sep

© Noel Fielding

Ahead of his Autumn tour – An Evening With Noel Fielding, Noel Fielding is bringing his work in progress to The Pleasance, Islington, London on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th September.

Tickets will sell quickly so get yours here, to see the show before the tour.

Tour tickets for some venues can still be found from Ticketmaster and SeeTickets.

Teensy Tweets Are Back

14 Sep

Teensy Tweets, the animated web series by Hayden Black, is back!

The topical show takes some of Hayden’s tweets about the latest news and gets animated birds to say them.

After the pilot episodes a couple of years ago, they are back weekly to give us an unusual view of the latest happenings.

Catch up with the birds on YouTube and watch the latest episode here.

 

Gold After Dark

7 Sep
© gold.uktv.co.uk

© gold.uktv.co.uk

UKTV Gold are running a new late night strand at the weekends. Starting on Friday (5th), they are “celebrating the very best in dark humour and cult comedy classics every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11pm”.

There are a lot of TVO related people and shows, starting with the reason most of you are here: The Mighty Boosh will be shown on Friday nights at 11:40pm. It’s been a while since the show has been on TV, and I’m sure, like us, even though you have worn out your DVD’s, you’ll be tuning in!

Of course there’s nothing dark about our favourite show, but that can’t be said for the next TVO related offering – Nighty Night starts it’s run at 11:40pm tonight. The show, written by and starring Julia Davis, is described as “a West Country Fatal Attraction”, and also stars Kevin Eldon, Mark Gatiss, Ruth Jones, Angus Deaton and Rebecca Front among others. If you like watching your comedy from behind the sofa then this one is for you. It’s not for those of a nervous disposition, but is very funny once you get over how nasty Jill is.

Gold are also showing another Julia Davis dark comedy. Human Remains is written by and stars Julia and Rob Bryden as six different dysfunctional couples. The first episode follows Nighty Night at 12:35 tonight.

Today at 11pm sees the first episode of The League of Gentlemen (maybe the picture gave you a clue!). As you probably already know, this was the work of writer/performers Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, and writer Jeremy Dyson. This one is definitely in the ‘dark’ category, but also very funny.

Saturday at 11.40pm is The Thick of It, starring Peter Capaldi, Chris Addison, Justin Edwards, Jo Scanlan, James Smith, Roger Allam and Alex McQueen. This is a dark political satire, with some laugh out loud moments.

Also on Saturdays at 1am is  The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer, starring Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer. Best just watch it and see what happens.

Also scheduled is 15 Storeys High, a flat-share comedy written by and starring Sean Lock and Benedict Wong (The IT Crowd), straight after The Mighty Boosh on Fridays.

To see the full schedule and more information about the programmes, see the Gold Website.

Crackanory 2 – Starting Soon

3 Sep

As we mentioned last month, the second series of Crackanory, the popular storytelling series on Dave, features a story read by the late, great Rik Mayall. The iconic comedian reads The Weatherman by TVO regular Tony Way.

It has now been confirmed that this will be the first story of the new series, alongside a story read by Vic Reeves called In Space No One Can Hear You Clean.

As in the first series, each half-hour episode contains 2 stories, narrated by guests and illustrated with either live action or animated sequences.

Katherine Parkinson will also read a story, and series 1 veteran Kevin Eldon, has written his second story for the series and will also make an appearance in Man’s Best Friend written by Alex Kirk.

Other stories will be read by  David Mitchell, Simon Callow, Emilia Fox, Meera Syall, Warwick Davies, Ben Miller, Sue Perkins, Johnny Vegas, and Ruby Wax; all providing their vocal talents to dark and intriguing stories written by comedian Holly Walsh, Ali Crockett and David Scott, Nico Tatarowicz, Melissa Bubnic and Katherine Jakeaways, and Yonderland scriptwriter Toby Davies .

The new series starts on Dave at 10pm on 24th September and you can see the new trailer below. If you missed the first series of funny, twisted tales then they are all available on demand from Dave.

 

Mini IT Tee

24 Aug
© quertee.com

© quertee.com

Quertee –  suppliers of limited edition t-shirts – have a new IT Crowd shirt for sale for the next 12 hours.
This one features our favourite IT professionals, Jen, Moss, and Roy in Lego form, unfortunately there’s no Douglas or Richmond, but you can’t have everything!

The shirts cost £8 (plus postage) and can be ordered via this link.

Reece Q & A

24 Aug
© David Levene for the Guardian

© David Levene for the Guardian

There’s a short but interesting Q & A featuring Reece Shearsmith in yesterday’s Guardian newspaper.

In it we find out what his greatest fear is, and what is his relationship with the man who gives out ShortList magazine at tube stations?

The interview is available online at the Guardian website.

Gadget Man Returns

22 Aug

© Channel 4

Richard Ayoade is back with Gadget Man on Monday at 8.30pm on Channel 4.

The third series of the technology show has Richard testing gadgets from the everyday to the extraordinary, with special guests to help him with his tasks.

In the first show he tackles weather with the help of Marcus Brigstocke and Tim Vine. Phil Jupitus makes an appearance later on in the series, you can see him in the short trailer on the C4 website.

If you missed the last series or just want to see it again, series 1 (with Stephen Fry) and 2, including a guest appearance by Noel Fielding, can be seen on 4OD.

Dead Funny

20 Aug
© amazon.co.uk

© amazon.co.uk

News has just reached us via the Ginger Nuts of Horror blog, that a new horror anthology, featuring stories from todays top comedians, will be published on 1st October.

The book – Dead Funny – has a few TVO connections, with contributions from Matt Holness, Reece Shearsmith, Katy Brand and Noel Fielding‘s Buzzcocks companion – Phil Jupitus.

The book is edited by Robin Ince (The Infinite Monkey Cage) and Johnny Mains (horror writer and editor), and is published by Salt Publishing.

This “unique exploration into the relationship between comedy and terror” also features contributions from Mitch Benn, Bridget Christie, Richard Herring, Stewart Lee, Charlie Higson, Rufus Hound, Robin Ince, Josie Long, Sara Pascoe, Al Murray, Danielle Wheeler, Tim Key, Neil Edmond and Michael Legge.

You can find out more about the book and the story behind it here at Ginger Nuts of Horror.

Dead Funny is available to pre-order now from TVO Store.

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