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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.

She’s A Rainbow: TVO Interviews Ameena Kara Callender

14 Aug

© Greg Sick

At The Velvet Onion we try to bring you a different, deeper view of the comedy you love. It was with this mission in mind that we hunted down the Stylist and Costume Designer responsible for the fantastical costumes in Luxury Comedy, to find out how the improbable from Noel Fielding‘s imagination is brought to life with a sewing machine. Mog reports. 

One of the things that strikes you about the cast and crew of Luxury Comedy is their dedication to the cause. When you listen to them talk about their involvement in the two series, it’s clear that this was no mere job. The loyalty and commitment that Noel has inspired amongst the team has created a tightly-knit family of can-do’s, happy to go to the ends of the earth to make everything perfect. And Ameena Kara Callender is no exception.

© Ameena

I meet Ameena at her Hoxton studio, surrounded by the colourful chaos of what she does. She looks exactly as you’d hope a stylist would: an unselfconscious  mish-mash of clashing colours and patterns, sparkly sandals and powder pink socks; an unexpected balance point between the fabulously exotic and the genuine girl next door.

She tells me that she has always enjoyed dressing up; when she was younger she used to make outfits for nights out with her Mum and Gran from the fabrics they kept in their sewing cupboard. However, she didn’t train as a stylist – the origins of her creative education were fine art, sculpture and painting.

One of her specialisms at college was 3D craft and design, which gave her a useful grounding in working with plastic-based materials. “It’s why I’m able to make these more bizarre sculptural costumes for Noel. All of the random things I’ve learned over the years came together in this one job, which harnessed all of it all at once.”

© Ameena

© Ameena

Originally connected via a mutual friend, Ameena has known Noel for years, but it was at his art exhibition at Maison Bertaux in 2010 that he asked her if she wanted to work on the show. Ameena was particularly drawn to an installation at the exhibition which turned out to be a precursor to the Jellyfox sketch from series 1.

“I really vibed off the animations that he’d done with Nige,” she says. “Noel asked ‘Do you want to make some Leigh Bowery type costumes for me?’ and I was like ‘Hell yeah – that’s right up my street!” she laughs.

Given that Noel has such clear ideas of his own about the look of the characters in the show, I ask her how the creative development process plays out between them. “Working with Noel is amazing. He’s a visual artist, and that goes across the spectrum of everything he does.”

“He draws constantly, and a big part of him coming up with a character is drawing it and figuring out what it looks like. Sometimes they pretty much have the outfit on that they’ll have on when the character comes into the real world, but sometimes he’ll leave it open for me,” she explains.

Taking on that level of responsibility can sometimes be a little daunting; trying to second-guess what Noel wants for a character or working out what would surprise him (in a good way!) can be a challenge, particularly when most of the characters are unlike anything that’s gone before. “You don’t know what really works until you go through the magical process; you can’t get out a reference from Dazed & Confused and say ‘I want him to be like that’, because it’s a whole weird, insane new concept.” she explains. “I’ve spent nights with matchsticks to keep my eyes open doing designs to show Nige and Noel the next day!”

© Ameena. Illustration on jumpsuit by David Shillinglaw

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Luxury Cafe Competition: A Massive Thank you

13 Aug

© Channel 4

A week and a half ago we announced a competition which would give 5 readers the chance to win a Luxury Comedy mug and pack of coffee. To enter, we asked you to create something from the Luxury Comedy cafe menu.

We didn’t think it was fair to award the prizes on the basis of cooking ability, so to give everyone an equal chance we decided to select the winners randomly from all of the entries. We secretly hoped that some of you would make a bit of effort, but we had no idea how inventive, hilarious and downright incredible so many of your entries were going to be!

Here are a small selection of those which knocked us sideways with their creativity and put a smile on our faces – and we had many, many more besides! Just click on the thumbnails to view a larger image.

It just goes to prove how much you’re loving the new series of Luxury Comedy and how much the show inspires you; we hope Noel Fielding is justifiably chuffed! It also suggests that you’re pretty desperate for a mug of coffee, but perhaps that’s not really the point ;-)

The 5 winners have been selected at random from all of the entries received and have now been notified. They are: Cali Rivlin, Chaas, Imaginary Nadya, Spaceboy and The Dream Tiger (twitter names).  A rather splendid Luxury mug and pack of coffee will be winging its way to you.

Huge congratulations to the winners and a massive thank you to everyone who took part!

Luxury cookery shown above thanks to Afrika D, Alleshia Cook, Anita, Arthur M, Azzy, Becca Moody, Becky Price, Bluey, Cali, Cali Rivlin, Catie, Chaas, Faye Loretta Lee, Gothic Bob, Imaginary Nadya, Jadie Rae, Jodie Kozo Konatsubara, Mol, Nikki Burns, Sean Feehan, Terry, The Dream Tiger, The Plasticine Punk, Spaceboy and  . (yes, that’s their name). You’re all awesome!

In Between The Inbetweeners

10 Aug

© Bwark Productions

It’s hard to miss the current PR onslaught for the new Inbetweeners movie. But did you know that there are a few TVO connection with the film and its cast? Please allow us to enlighten you…

First up is a connection which we’d probably categorize as ‘Type A': the Second Unit director of the Inbetweeners 2 movie, Spencer Millman, was also the producer of The Mighty Boosh.

(We assume that Spencer’s experience of  keeping the Boosh gang under control may have come in useful on this latest project too!)

Next is a TVO connection with Channel 4 show Friday Night Dinner, which stars actor Simon Bird (Will from The Inbetweeners). We spotted that Laurie Rose is the Director of Photography on the latest series. Rose is director Ben Wheatley‘s ‘go to’ DOP for most of his productions, many of which feature a bevy of TVO folk.  What’s more, series 3 of Friday Night Dinner also included two further TVO faces, in the shape of Paul Kaye and Dan Skinner. If you missed them, you can still watch all of the series 3 episodes on 4oD.

And finally, a connection from a year ago, in the shape of a short film called Straw Donkey. We covered it at the time, but for those of you with a short memory, the film features TVO people  Tony WayLaura Patch and Barunka O’Shaughnessy, alongside Inbetweeners star Joe Thomas (Simon from the show). It also includes a cameo from Justin Edwards too, just for good measure. If you missed it, take a look below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9W5ewBP1SOI

Rik’s Crack To Air Next Month

8 Aug

The second series of much loved anthology show Crackanory will air next month, and features an episode narrated by the late Rik Mayall, written by TVO legend Tony Way.

© Dave

© Dave

Freeview channel Dave, which airs the series, was unsure if they would air the episode until they received the blessing of Rik’s family.

The episode entitled The Weatherman was filmed shortly before Mayall’s untimely death in June, and TVO can exclusively reveal that the story he tells through his wraparound segments features long-standing double act Steve Oram and Tom Meeten, also known for their work on Sightseers and Luxury Comedy, respectively.  Also on board is fellow SightseerAlice Lowe.

Tony Way, star of Mongrels, Game of Thrones and Tittybangbang, said simply that writing the episode was “a flipping honour”.

Past episodes of the series, featuring Sharon Horgan, Kevin Eldon, Alex Kirk, John ‘Willie’ Hopkins and Oram & Meeten on screen,with score by Waen Shepherd and two episodes directed by Gareth Tunley, are available to watch now on the UKTV website.

Series Two, featuring The Weatherman alongside episodes by Eldon, Toby Davies and Holly Walsh, will air next month, and feature Katherine Parkinson, Vic Reeves, David Mitchell, Meera Syall, Warwick Davies, Ben Miller, Sue Pergins, Johnny Vegas, Ruby Wax, Emilia Fox and Simon Callow.  We’ll bring you transmission details as soon as we get them.

Horrible Histories Honours WW1 Centenary

4 Aug

© BBC

Horrible Histories today released a special episode to mark the 100 year anniversary of the start of World War 1.

The 40-minute ‘Frightful First World War’ special presents the unique Horrible Histories take on life in the trenches and tries to shed light on the complex reasons for Britain joining the war. It also covers the infamous Christmas day football match between England and German troops and explains how women’s roles were changed by the war.

The episode features TVO face Simon Farnaby, and is available to watch for 6 further days on iPlayer.  It will be broadcast on CBBC tomorrow (Tuesday) at 5pm and on Saturday 9th August at 11am.

Onion Talking: Dolly Wells on Luxury Comedy 2

2 Aug

A few months ago, TVO reporter, Gina R Snape, met up with Dolly Wells to talk all things Doll and Em. They also spent a little time discussing Luxury Comedy series 2. Here are the excerpts from that interview:

© Channel 4

How was it working on Luxury Comedy this time round?

It was really really fun. It was boiling hot. We’d have competitions over who was hotter! Because I was wearing a nylon wig with a stocking, that was definitely quite hot.

But then Noel would be wearing (not going to give things away!) a rubber outfit and a wig – and was running sweat like a tap, while talking to you! So I couldn’t really complain about being hot. And also that feeling that the crew are thinking that you’re wimps. But when you put on the lights, the heat is just so hot. It was ludicrous.

How was it shooting series 2 of Luxury Comedy compared to the last series?

Shooting was similar in that it was really fun, really easy. Me and Mike getting giggles a lot of the time; Tom being very sensible; Noel being really silly.

I mean there will be things in his series, and I can’t really give the story away, but…there was one particular thing Noel did, and I can’t remember which episode it was, where it was sooooo hard not to laugh. Like a school play or something. And no one is really in the mood for you laughing because you haven’t got that long.

And also, what’s really nice is that feeling which you don’t get on everything you do: it’s like when you do a dance together, you’re sort of willing everybody to get it right, so you really want it to be good. There’s a lot of trust that you feel, and you sort of owe it to each other slightly. Especially Noel, who is carrying 99.9% of the show, and it’s hot and you’re doing it again and again. Everyone feels like they’re part of it, which is really very lovely. And you also feel real admiration for him. He’s got a serious amount of energy and he’s constantly saying and trying new things. There’s so much improvising, which is really fun.

© Channel 4

How much input did you get to have yourself through improvisation?

Well, because Noel and Tom are really good…I can do it in my own show, but I’d get shy sometimes to be doing it myself. You’re definitely free to do whatever you wanted. And we had really long rehearsals, so you could try things out – which was really fun. We rehearsed in Camden and ran around like the Ramones. We all had on black jackets, and tried to look like the Ramones. So yeah, it was brilliant. It was very, very hot. And it was the last thing I did before I came to NY and then I flew to NY the next day. So it was a real culture shock. I really missed them all for ages. But yeah, it was brilliant.

The last time TVO interviewed you about Luxury Comedyith you said that the energy was very frenetic w Noel was doing a million things at once, and then he would then stop and fall asleep in the corner for 20 minutes. Was the same true this time?

Yes! Yes! He did. But no, you know what? He was always absolutely firing on all cylinders because he would either be getting painted blue, or making up a painting or something. But this time most of the things he was making or drawing (like the sets) were done before. But there were lots of conversations with the art department or with costumes or with make-up, because every aspect of it is him and Nigel’s vision, so they were always working. So of course he was always very, very busy. But actually, it felt a bit less like that this time, I think. I don’t know why that is, but it definitely felt less like that.

Maybe it’s because the second series? 

Yeah, everyone knows what they’re doing. Although the main difference for the second series is that there’s a serious narrative. So once it’s been written and you know the exact story, then you’re just left to try and get it right.

You’ve said previously that Tom Meeten is the straight man? But in Doll and Em he’s insane!

He’s not the straight man – on camera he’s absolutely hilarious. But behind the scenes, especially when me and Mike are getting the giggles, and he was hot under his wig or something, yes, he’d be serious. He’d be like a school teacher. We’d all have our roles, if you know what I mean.

© Channel 4

In Doll & Em you’re called Doll and in Luxury you’re Dolly. Why do you think you can’t get away from your name?

I know! I was thinking that. I was thinking, “My god this is a bit confusing and massively egotistical.” Well, BOTH TIMES it’s men being annoying! (laughs). Noel did it to sort of piss me off almost. I was going “Couldn’t I be called Jana or, just any name would be just fine” and Noel was like “Yeah, not really, I was just thinking Dolly.” “Yeah, but what about like Ivanna or… “No, that’s Nigel’s wife.” So there was just never gonna be anything but Dolly. He definitely knew I was going to be Dolly.

Many thanks to Dolly Wells for taking the time to chat to us. And don’t forget to tune into the second episode of Luxury Comedy on 4th August at 10pm on E4 (or catch it now on 4oD) to see Dolly & co in action!

Glover In The Woods

2 Aug

A while ago we mentioned that perennial TVO favourite, Richard Glover, was appearing in the new Disney blockbuster Into the Woods with Hollywood A-listers, Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep. Now the trailer for the film has been released!

Based on the Stephen Sodenheim musical of the same name, the movie presents a modern twist on the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, intertwining the plots of a few of the famous stories and exploring the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests.

Sadly Rich hasn’t made it into this trailer (presumably the production team didn’t want him pulling focus from the rest of the cast), but we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for any further content in which he appears – and keeping you updated, of course.

The film is released worldwide in January 2015.

Luxury Gallery, Ooh-Yeah!

1 Aug

Suck my beans! Luxury Comedy officially launched last night, and with Episode Two now on 4oD, there’s still lots we have to share with you as the series progresses.

© Dave Brown / Channel 4

© Dave Brown / Channel 4

For starters, there’s our making of featurette: a rough-n-ready rumble-tumble through the madness of filming Luxury Comedy.  TVO hung around for four very different days on set and highlights from the organised chaos will be seen very soon.

There’s also a competition coming later today, and a few more surprises to come – including our own behind the scenes photo galleries.  But it’s only right and proper that we begin such proceedings with the official photography, lovingly crafted by the incredible Dave Brown and the genius that is Nigel Coan. Enjoy, and keep coming back for more!

Obviously, we’re aware that, given TVO is read in 161 different countries at last count, that a large number of you have no access to Channel 4.  In that case, we heartily recommend you order Series 1 and Series 2 on dvd from The Velvet Onion Amazon Store now!

Katy Brand On Women In Comedy

1 Aug

© Zimbio

Katy Brand has written an article for The Telegraph in which she outlines 9 rules for any women thinking of breaking into comedy.

Managing to be insightful, funny and a tad depressing in equal measures, it’s well worth a read if you’ve ever toyed with the idea of making comedy your profession, or if you have a passing interest in watching someone else do it.

We particularly like rule number 5:

“You will get abuse about your appearance. It’s not fair, but currently, it’s still part of the package. We live in a world where women are routinely judged on their appearance far more than men, and we also live in a world where some people still don’t like to be confronted by a woman with a brain and a mouth and a direct connection between the two. And the most useful weapon in these people’s arsenal is to try to shut you up by saying you are ugly.

Luckily, these antediluvian morons are slowly dying out or being loudly told to go away, but it still happens all the time. Remember: you are not ugly, they are just trying to make you be quiet. Don’t be quiet. Ever. Unless you are at a funeral or near a baby that has just gone to sleep.”

Nice one! To read the article in full click here. And to buy a  copy of Katy’s book Brenda Monk is Funny, visit our amazon store.

The Fringe Is Upon Us!

31 Jul

This Friday sees the launch of the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and as always, a number of TVO regulars are joining the thousands of shows on offer throughout August.

With new shows from the likes of Dan ClarkRachel Stubbings, Kim NoblePaul FootJoey PageSarah Kendall and Tony Law on offer, plus plays featuring Stubbings and Justin Edwards, it’s a pretty packed schedule for Onion fans, and there’s a whole host of other great shows to look out for too.

As such, we felt it was a good time to summarise some of this year’s juiciest offerings, for those of you unsure of what to see from a stuffed to the gills festival.

The TVO Regulars

© Feature Spot Productions

© Feature Spot Productions

DAN CLARK: Me, My Selfie and I

The star of How Not To Live Your Life reinvented himself last year as a fully fledged comedy rock star, with a critically acclaimed album under his belt containing such classics as Pippa and Tranny With Amnesia.  Now he’s back to what he does best: upbeat, slightly filthy but downright heart-warming stand-up. His new show focuses on “love, death and crushing loneliness”, but in typical Dan style, you’ll leave feeling good about life.

Pleasance Dome – 8:20pm, Aug 1-12, 14-24

For tickets, CLICK HERE!

© Avalon Promotions Ltd.

© Avalon Promotions Ltd.

I KILLED RASPUTIN

Written by comedy legend Richard Herring, this new play focuses on Felix Yusupov, conspirator in the murder of Rasputin, being interviewed by American journalist EM Halliday over fifty years later in 1967.  The former richest man in Russia is now reduced to making money from his tall tale, and Halliday is determined to finally reveal the truth.  The Thick of It star (and Ealing Live veteran) Justin Edwards stars alongside Nichola McAuliffe.

Assembly George Square Theatre – 3:35pm, Aug 1-24

For tickets, CLICK HERE!

© IMWP

© IMWP

PAUL FOOT: Hovercraft Symphony in Gammon # Major

It’s often hard to quantify the components of a Paul Foot show, so we’ll let the magic mind of Mr Foot do the work for us here:

“Glistening in the wake of last night’s pearl saga, premium line – caught Sally’s clam fist choir socks it to the salt babes big time baybayyyy. Cutlery cage enquiries? First come, first preserved.”  Well, quite.

Underbelly, Cowgate – 7:30pm, Aug 1-10, 12-24

For tickets, CLICK HERE!

© Mick Perrin Worldwide / PBJ Management

© Mick Perrin Worldwide / PBJ Management

SARAH KENDALL: Touchdown

She came. She saw. She conquered the Newcastle and District Under-14s Touch Rugby Competition.  The former Beehive regular and stand-up veteran is back with a look back to 1992, when she was forced to play Women’s Touch Rugby and accidentally made minor history.

Another unmissable hour with one of Australia’s finest exports.

Pleasant Courtyard – 9:30pm, Aug 1-10, 12-25

For tickets, CLICK HERE!

© Tony Law / Show and Tell

© Tony Law / Show and Tell

TONY LAW: Enter the Tonezone

Ah, Tony. The Tonester. The Tonezone. Ealing Live veteran turned surrealist stand-up comedy demigod, the truth about the ToneZone is you either enter it willingly or you stand at the entrance, looking confused and miming indicators that you’ve lost your wallet and will have to give it a miss.  His latest show offers life affirming, changing comedy, and a promise of ‘Testicle Ankle’. Don’t ask, just savour it.

The Stand Comedy Club III & IV – 12:10pm, Aug 1-10, 12-24

For tickets, CLICK HERE!

© Soho Theatre

© Soho Theatre

KIM NOBLE You’re Not Alone

Kim Noble is a comedic law unto himself, and never one to rest on his laurels, he’s propelled his work into multi-media performance and film in recent years.  You’re Not Alone continues down this path, taking audiences on a journey throw tower blocks, supermarkets and Facebook as the star of Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace and Luxury Comedy chronicles his attempts at connection, friendship and employment at B&Q.

Traverse Theatre – 11:15pm, Aug 19-24

For tickets, CLICK HERE!

© PBJ Management

© PBJ Management

JOEY PAGE: This is Not a Circus

Self-proclaimed as “everybody’s 18th favourite absurd comedian”, Joey Page has been grafting a solid reputation for himself since his early appearances as a protégé of a certain luxurious comedian.  Appearances on Never Mind the Buzzcocks and a few seconds as a burnt sausage here have only served to increase the fanbase built up by steady gigging nationwide, and his latest technicoloured extravaganza is as silly and irreverent as ever.

Underbelly, Bristo Square – 10:45pm, Aug 1-11, 13-25

For tickets, CLICK HERE!

© Live Nation / Mike Leigh Associates

© Live Nation / Mike Leigh Associates

RACHEL STUBBINGS: Doing It for Himself

First coming to our attention via her work with Alice Lowe on Jackal Films, Rachel Stubbings became a cult icon for her Stubbing Out Problems web shorts and Edinburgh show, before branching out as an actress and film-maker in her own right. This year she returns to Edinburgh with a show about her trial by error existence, as she tries to become a cool independent woman, all by himself.

Underbelly, Bristo Square – 3:00pm, Aug 1-11, 13-25

For tickets, CLICK HERE!

© Pure Theatre LLP

© Pure Theatre LLP

THE 3RD SECTOR

As well as her own standup show and the first five performance of Knightmare LiveRachel Stubbings will also be appearing in satirical play The 3rd Sector during the festival, which is inspired by real-life experiences and brought to life by Pure Theatre Productions.  It tells the story of Marlin and Josh who discover their role in a corrupt corporate charity, and examines the ethics of giving when we donate first and ask questions later.

Pleasance Courtyard – 12:15pm, Aug 1-10, 12-25

For tickets, CLICK HERE!

Other Recommendations

TVO is designed to focus on a family of frequent collaborators, but that’s not to say we don’t enjoy a number of other comedy acts on the circuit.  The Edinburgh festival gives us a rare chance to shout out about some names we don’t normally get to feature, including several who often share the bill with ‘our lot’.  If you’re still looking for shows to see beyond the main bunch above, you could do a lot worse than following some of our suggestions below.

© The Pleasance / PBJ Management

© The Pleasance / PBJ Management

CARDINAL BURNS

Following on from their smash hit second series for Channel 4, which featured TVO veteran Rufus Jones, no less, the cult favourites return to Edinburgh for a limited eight night run towards the end of the festival.

Expect a smattering of old favourites and potentially some new material ahead of a third telly run.

Pleasance Courtyard – 22:00pm, Aug 15-17, 19-23

For tickets, CLICK HERE!

 

© Anil Desai

© Anil Desai

ANIL DESAI’S Last Night at the Movies / Not Indian Enough

The globe-trotting impressionist returns to the Free Fringe circuit this year, with over 50 movie star impressions mixed into stand-up stories of comedy, action, adventure and romance in Last Night at the Movies, plus a second show, Not Indian Enough featuring all new stand-up material from the gifted mimic, comic talent and all round charming gent.

Formerly of sketch troupe The Giant Pineapple Boys, and presenter of James Wren’s Spank! at previous festivals, Anil was also a supporting cast member on Goodness Gracious Me, so be in no doubt of his prestige due to his commitment to the free fringe.  Getting one free show from Anil was impressive, getting two is phenomenal!

Not Indian Enough: Cowgatehead – 5:00pm, Aug 1-24
Last Night at the Movies: Laughing Horse @ City Cafe – 8:00pm, Aug 1-3, 5-10, 12-17, 19-24

Free show, for details CLICK HERE!

 

© The Grandees

© The Grandees

THE GRANDEES: A Creepshow / BaBoom!

Not one, but two new shows from the rapid fire sketch trio described by Hen & Chickens head honcho (and TVO regular) James Wren as “The most inventive, creative, bonkers group I’ve seen since we had the Boosh.”

The trio all appeared in TVO classic The Day They Came to Suck Out Our Brains, and Marny Godden was also in Kill Phil earlier this year, so the TVO connections are strong, marking them as one to watch.

A Creepshow lets the team go dark with creeps, crawlers and chaos, whilst BaBoom! is the latest installment in their sketch comedy madness. See both.

A Creepshow: Heroes @ The Hive – 8:45pm, Aug 1-11, 13-24
BaBoom!: Underbelly, Cowgate – 4:00pm, Aug 1-11, 13-24

For A Creepshow tickets, CLICK HERE! For BaBoom! tickets, CLICK HERE!

 

© Lee Griffith

© Lee Griffiths

LEE GRIFFITHS: Post Traumatic Sketch Disorder / LATE NIGHT GIMP FIGHT: The Worst Of

The biggest crime against comedy nature this year is the lack of a fully fledged show from Fringe veterans Late Night Gimp Fight – TVO favourites and smashing blokes one and all.  But whilst we have to contend with a humble three-night best of from the team, one Gimp is bringing his own unique brand of stand-up to life in his own right.

Lee Griffiths (aka the ‘Head Gimp’) promises a messy, dark and (he hopes) funny show which will unclog the nonsense from his head, and explain in detail why his family is more messed up than yours.

Lee Griffiths: Post Traumatic Sketch Disorder: Pleasance Courtyard – 7:15pm, Aug 1-24
The Worst of Late Night Gimp Fight: Pleasance Courtard – 11:00pm, Aug 21-23

For Lee Griffiths tickets, CLICK HERE! For Late Night Gimp Fight tickets, CLICK HERE!

© Supporting Wall

© Supporting Wall

JONNY & THE BAPTISTS: The Satiric Verses / JONNY DONAHOE: Class Whore

Earlier this year, musical satirists and generally lovely chaps Jonny & The Baptists got into an awful lot of hot water, by pissing off a ‘political’ party with a camptastic disco number.  The duo’s brilliant UK tour subsequently had to be manned by heavy security, and they stoked the fires a little further by collaborating with Mark Thomas to campaign to get ‘farage’ entered into the dictionary as another word for ‘bin juice’. Use it – it’s fun.

Now they’re back in Edinburgh with their latest concoctions. Expect musical treats galore – and if you can’t get enough Jonny, you can see his 2013 solo show ‘Class Whore’ for free towards the end of the month.  Their show will also be transmitted to cinemas nationwide, so stay tuned for more info on that when we get it!

Jonny & The Baptists The Satiric Verses: Pleasance Dome, 9:40pm, Aug 1-10 12-24
Jonny Donahoe, Class Whore: Cowgatehead, 7:30pm, Aug 12-16 19-24

For Jonny & The Baptists tickets, CLICK HERE! For free Jonny Donahoe tickets, CLICK HERE!

And that’s just the tip of the ice berg! With great shows from Nathaniel Metcalfe, Lou Sanders, Susan CalmanAndrew O’Neill, Will Adamsdale, Gareth Morinan and many more on offer, we can’t help but tell you to just take in as much as you can beyond the big guns.  You just may be watching the big stars of tomorrow.

Enjoy the fringe, everyone!

Luxury Archives

29 Jul

As we excitedly skip towards the official launch of the new series of Luxury Comedy, we’ve come over all nostalgic at TVO and  we thought it might be nice to have a look back at some of the exclusive interviews, reviews and content that we created for your delectation for series 1. Here then is a trawl through our Luxury archives from back in the day:

First off, a biggie! Noel Fielding and Channel 4 were kind enough to invite us along to the filming of  the first series. Here’s what went on when we were there (and there are a few teasers that you can watch while you’re in a viewing mood too – just click on the links in this sentence):

Next up, we got all intellectual as our in-house art expert, Lozzy Taylor, wrote this article about the myriad of artistic inspirations contained within the show. On the subject of art, some of you will remember our call for you to send us your Luxury-inspired artistic output. We were deluged with an incredible range of colour and creativity, which we collated into a gallery of fan-generated awesomeness. Take a look at it here; did you make it into the gallery?

© Lozzy Taylor

We were lucky enough to get the chance to talk to the very lovely Dolly Wells and Mike Fielding (in what is, by his own admission, Mike’s most honest and revealing interview) about their role in Luxury series 1. Plus we managed to persuade the interview-shy co-creater and director of the show, Nigel Coan, to talk to us about working with Noel.

We also ran profiles on Nigel and Tom Meeten, in case they and their work needed a proper introduction to their new army of fans.

Finally, we’ll leave you with this interview with Noel from Spring 2013, which we filmed while he was writing series 2. He talks about the reaction to the first series and his plans for the new one. It’s interesting to see just how much of what he said developed into the new shows:

Stay peeling, as we hope to bring you more exclusives for series 2!…

Coogan’s Run On Gold

28 Jul

© Sky Atlantic

Some of you may have seen Steve Coogan – The Inside Story on UKTV GOLD last Saturday evening – a look back at Steve Coogan‘s comedy career, with contributions from Reeves and Mortimer, Ben Miller, Kevin Eldon, John Thomson, Mark Williams, Matt Horne,  Julia Davis and many others.

Following on from this, UKTV GOLD is hosting Summer Nights of Coogan – every weekend from 9pm during August they will be showing a variety of shows from Steve Coogan, including I’m Alan Partridge, Knowing Me, Knowing You, Dr Terrible’s House of Horrible, The Trip, Paul Calf Video Diary, Coogan’s Run, Saxondale and Live Shows, so it really is a variety pack of Steve Coogan TV.

UKTV GOLD can be found on Sky channel 110 or Virgin 126.

Steve was a guest on Radio 2’s Steve Wright in the Afternoon on Thursday to talk about the UKTV GOLD shows – the same day Noel Fielding was on talking about Luxury Comedy 2. Catch up here, Noel is on at – 01:38:05 and Steve is on at – 02:13:20.

Don’t forget you can stock up on all your favourite Steve Coogan titles at TVO Store.

An Early Look At Luxury 2

24 Jul

© Channel 4

Last week we were lucky enough to get a sneaky peek at the new series of Luxury Comedy. So without giving away any spoilers, what can we expect when it finally hits our screens on 31st July?

In interviews about the new series, Noel Fielding has been pretty open about his decision to move away from the sketch show format of series 1, towards a more narrative programme structure with a beginning, middle and an end to each episode. He says it’s because he’s a story-teller at heart, and it’s what he does best. This change of structure is certainly one of the most noticeable differences between the two series. So does it work?

Luxury Comedy is Noel’s stand up in visual form. That’s not to do it down; the fact that anyone has managed to capture the fantastical mayhem that goes on inside Fielding’s mind is impressive enough. Noel’s stand up material is at its best when allowed to slowly weave its shapes, layer upon layer, over a period of time. Stories unfold, characters evolve and concepts crystallise through repetition. By contrast, on the occasions I’ve seen him perform short slots on crowded comedy bills, his ideas don’t always have time to develop. This is not a man for the rat-tat-tat of machine-gun punchlines.

In the same way, expanding his TV ideas into 30-minute stories gives them proper form, allowing the viewer to step inside, appreciate their complexities and get carried along with the narrative. These are ideas rich enough for full episodes; and to reduce each of them to a sketch of a few minutes would underplay them. For me, then, the new format isn’t just about telling stories – it’s about telling strange stories much better.

© Channel 4

The different characters whom we encounter across the series are now part of each week’s story, which gives them purpose and makes the interaction between them feel genuine. The relationships between the characters are one of the aspects of the new series that gives the show its heart. This is no longer a disjointed collection of strange misfits; they’re friends, neighbours, and occasional enemies – as the story requires.

The friendship between the main four – Noel, Dolly, Andy and Smooth, allows for a solid dynamic at the centre of the action. The series 2 versions of the core team feel more ‘human’ and rounded, and as a result more sympathetic than before. Noel, in particular, presents a very different on-screen persona to anything we’ve seen from him previously: awkward, eager to please and uncool, he’s the Howard to Dolly’s preening Vince. Devoid of Howard Moon’s pomposity, however, this Noel is a character with whom we empathise, not just the one we laugh at.

Noel has said that he and Nigel spent longer writing the second series, and this comes across. I loved the first series, but there are more funnier moments in series 2 (based on the two episodes we saw). The writing’s sharp, the physical comedy is hilarious, and the characters are beautifully honed and gloriously wonky at the same time. Look out for star turns throughout from a whole host of TVO faces, including Richard Ayoade, Steve Oram, Dave Brown, Rich Fulcher, Arnab Chanda, Tania Wade, Barunka O’Shaughnessy, Stuart Silver, Simon Farnaby and others.

© Channel 4

This series is arguably the most self-aware output that we’ve ever seen from Fielding, with a number of knowing references to the public reaction that series 1 generated. He’s said that it’s a natural reaction to criticism – you try to get in there first before anyone else does. And it works well in this context, tethering the strange Luxury world to our own experience from time to time (thereby making it more relateable), and imbuing the series with a large helping of humility which, one hopes, the cynics out there will respond positively to.

Added to all of that, Luxury Comedy is still a fabulous feast for the eyes: the distinctive day-glo sets, wardrobe, make-up and animation all combine to create a uniquely visual world. Huge credit to Nigel Coan and his production team for putting it all together; you can see that it’s a labour of love in every single scene.

So will the rest of the world like it? I hope so. If people enjoyed the Boosh and the naysayers can get over their disproportionately extreme reaction to series 1, they would like this. Genuinely funny, beautifully magical and full of heart – what’s not to love?

Don’t forget to tune in: Luxury Comedy series 2 airs at 10pm on E4 on 31st July. For the less patient amongst you, episode 1 is available to view from TODAY –  a whole week early, on 4oD here.

Farnaby On The Buses

21 Jul

© Comedy.co.uk

Simon Farnaby has lent his voice to a new Channel 5 series ‘On the Yorkshire Buses’.

The programme follows the men and women of East Yorkshire Motor Services as they try to keep Yorkshire moving. We see the firm face driver shortages, constant road works, a union dispute, a heat wave, stiff competition along its tourist routes and an air conditioning malfunction that causes meltdown in the control room. Dramatic stuff!

The series started in 11th July, and the first 2 episodes are available to view here (for episode 1, ‘Summer Holiday’) and there (for episode 2, ‘The Heat is On’).

You can catch this week’s programme, titled ‘Back to School’ at 8pm this Friday on Channel 5.

The previous factual TV show that carried Simon Farnaby’s narration (‘Richard III: The King in the Car Park’) picked up a top TV awards, so who knows – perhaps this one will be next?

Tony Law Laughs With Mary Beard

20 Jul

© The Poly & The Guardian

That’s not a headline we ever thought we’d write!  This Wednesday comedian Tony Law will be in conversation with the Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge, Mary Beard, at the Apple Store on Regent Street in London.

It’s an event that sounds so gloriously bizarre, we’ve gone so far as to break with TVO tradition to publish two Tony Law articles in succession!

The pair will be discussing her latest book, Laughter in Ancient Rome, which explores one the intriguing subject of humour in history. Drawing on a wide range of Roman writing, it tracks down the humour of the ancient Romans themselves, from the hilarious, to the momentous, to the surprising.

The talk takes place at 7pm and is FREE. However, you need to register before arrival (for which you’ll require an Apple ID), and arrive early, because seating is limited. For more information about the venue, the talk and how to register, visit the Apple Store site.

Tony & Aisling Stand Up For Shelter

19 Jul
© shelter.org

© shelter.org

If you’re heading to Edinburgh this August, you can catch a whole host of the biggest stars of the Fringe at Stand Up For Shelter; taking place for one night only on Saturday, August 23rd at 9pm, in Bristo Square.

Acts taking part so far include Frisky & Mannish, Max & Ivan, Sara Pascoe, Rob Deering, Tony Law and Aisling Bea with more names to be confirmed.

Tickets are £20 (+£1 booking fee) and all proceeds from the night will go to Shelter, directly helping families facing homelessness across the UK.

Time For A Serving Of Luxury

16 Jul

© Channel4

We’ve seen the trailer, we’ve wondered at its vague promise of “coming soon” – and you’ve been asking us in droves: WHEN WILL SERIES 2 OF LUXURY COMEDY BE HITTING OUR SCREENS?? Well wonder no more..

We can confirm that the new series kicks off on E4 on 31st July!

We’ve got all sorts of exclusive goodies up our sleeves to mark the occasion, so stay peeling to make sure you stay on top of everything.

In the meantime, here’s an interview with Noel Fielding that Channel 4 have released ahead of the new series.

Be Alternative This Tuesday

11 Jul

© Comedy Central

The second series of The Alternative Comedy Experience, curated by Stewart Lee, will be hitting our screens this Tuesday – and it will be featuring a few TVO faces.

The new 13-part series will reflect the format of series one, having also been filmed at The Stand in Edinburgh. Once again, Lee has selected some of his favourite stand-ups on the circuit, including our very own Kevin Eldon, Tony Law and Paul Foot, alongside the likes of Bridget Christie, David O’Doherty, Nish Kumar, Michael Legge, Susan Calman, David Kay, Ginger & Black and Josie Long. These are people whom Lee feels represent “the stand-ups other comedians slouch at the back of the room and cry with laughter at”.

Episode 1 of the new series airs at 11pm on 15th July on Comedy Central and features Tony Law and Kevin Eldon; Paul Foot appears in episode 2. To see the full list of episodes and line ups until the fourth show in the series visit The British Comedy Guide.

For more information about the show and to view clips take a look at The Alternative Comedy’s page on Comedy Central.

And if you fancy procuring series 1 on DVD (you definitely should – it’s been rated as a 5-star extravaganza!) visit our amazon store now.

TVOers On Tour

7 Jul

tvoukWith the Edinburgh Festival looming, the time has come for preview season to hit the land, and a number of TVO regulars – some of which are usually confined to the London area – are out and about and possibly in your area!

First up, Dan Clark will be previewing his Edinburgh show Me, My Selfie And I in Darlington (Sunday 13th July) and Leicester (Tuesday 22nd July).  The continually touring Paul Foot will also be visiting Leicester (Wednesday 23rd July) and is at the Larmer Tree Festival next week (Friday 18th July) – as well as taking his Edinburgh show Paul Foot’s Hovercraft Symphony in Gammon Sharp Major on tour in the Autumn.

There’s a rare chance to see Sarah Kendall‘s Edinburgh show Touchdown as part of the Cambridge Comedy Festival on Sunday 20th July, whilst Aisling Bea (without an Edinburgh show this year, sadly) continues her near constant gig schedule with appearances at Latitude Festival the same weekend, and The Pheonix Fringe in London on August 7th.

Festival booking seems to be the in-thing at the moment – as Colin Hoult is rocking Camp Bestival between July 31st and August 1st in East Lulworth, and cheeky chappy Joey Page is at Milton Keynes Fringe on Sunday 20th July.  Meanwhile, King of Krazy Tony Law lets the good people of Tring enter the Tone-Zone on Sunday 13th July, the folks in Leicester on Wednesday 16th July, and lots of places across the land this Autumn.

This week also sees friend of TVO and frequent Rich Fulcher collaborator, Harry Deansway make a rare excursion to the North West – he’s performing at The King’s Arms in Salford on Thursday night, previewing his new show Harry Deansway is a Bit of a Character Android.  Tickets are available right now.

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