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Me, My Selfie & I In LA

10 Oct

© Dave Brown

Dan Clark is bringing his recent Edinburgh show, Me My Selfie & I to the US. He will be perfuming a one-off gig at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in LA.

For those of you who are more familiar with Dan through the TV show How Not To Live Your Life, be warned – at 38 years old he’s finally growing up (sort of). Expect a little more introspection and few less knob gags than before, but lots of wit, charm and a bit of edge.

Here’s what a couple of reviewers had to say about the show, and here’s what Dan told us about it when we spoke to him.

The gig takes place at 8pm PDT on Thursday 16th October, and tickets are an incredibly reasonable $5.

To find out more and to book your tickets click here.

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!

Dan Clark: Growing Up For Edinburgh

8 Jul

© comedy.co.uk

Last week Dan Clark performed a couple of warm up gigs in preparation for the run of his new show, Me, My Selfie and I, at the Edinburgh Fringe. We were lucky enough to grab a chat with Dan after his sold out show at The Pleasance in Islington. Velveteer Mog reports:

In the past, Dan Clark’s on-stage persona has felt like an extension of his best-known on screen creation, Don Danbury. Although a tad more charismatic and a lot more musical than the feckless anti-hero from How Not To Live Your Life, the distinction between Dan and Don wasn’t always clear. Dan’s new show, on the other hand, sees him in more contemplative, grown up mood. Like most men in their thirties, Dan hasn’t abandoned his laddish youthfulness completely – you’ll be relieved to know that the wank gags are still there – but now they’re framed with moments of mature introspection.

Dan acknowledges that the shift in tone could challenge some of his fan base: “It’s my most personal and honest show,” he says, “For an audience who have come to see Don Danbury, and you talk about death and mortality when they’re expecting knob gags, they might get confused.” So why the change? He explains: “I fell out of love with it (comedy), and I didn’t like what I was watching on TV, so I thought if I’m going to do this again, I’m going to write a bit more from the heart. There are plenty of 30-something comedians just doing jokes; we don’t need another one.”

© The Evening Standard

This is Dan’s first entirely-solo show for seven years, having previously gigged with guest musicians (in the shape of regular collaborator, Ben Parker), or in the case of his most recent stage show, These Songs May Contain Jokes, an entire backing band. He says that he misses the camaraderie of being part of a gang  (“You feel safer when you’re on stage with other people”) and the buzz of rocking out with his musical mates every night – they regularly ended their set to standing ovations: “They were the most fun shows to play; nothing beats that…but I can’t afford to take those fuckers to Edinburgh!” He laughs.

Music still played a part in his warm up shows last week, however – even if it’s now one man and his guitar. Dan’s cleverness in weaving together strange comedy and genuinely tuneful melodies is something that distinguishes him from his peers. He acknowledges that ‘comedy + music’ is a magical mixture which audiences lap up: “Even if the material isn’t that funny, it’s the combination of it being quite amusing, with music – the room just loves it.” Dan notes that the comedy community is still figuring out whether it’s a cheap trick to get easy laughs or a sophisticated comedic ploy that cleverly works an audience.

© Dave Brown

The Edinburgh Fringe can be something of an endurance test for artists – nearly 4 weeks of tough audiences, late nights and – sometimes – bitter critics. Dan recalls a particularly biting review of his 2005 Edinburgh show, in which he was awarded 1 star. The following year the same critic gave him 2 stars, perhaps in recognition that she had been immortalised, none too positively, in one of his songs. So does a poor review hurt?

“Bad reviews are no longer yesterday’s newspaper,” Dan explains. “They stick around on the Internet. Someone googles your name and that 1 star review is the third thing that comes up!”  He compares the power that the critics wield to that of Simon Cowell on X-Factor, “Except in print you don’t get the humour or charm you get on TV. It just comes across as vicious.” He sighs and smiles, “Aaah, I can’t wait!”

The Velvet Onion would like to thank Dan for taking the time to chat to us last week, and we wish him all the best for Edinburgh. Don’t forget that you can see show Me, My Selfie & I at The Pleasance Dome from 30th July to 24th August. For more information and to buy tickets take a look at this.

Besides his own show, Dan’s other recommendation for TVO readers heading to the Fringe is Every Loser Wins, a cabaret-based comedy featuring the lovely Kelly Wenham and Simon Salmon. Dan describes it as: “A character comedy show with silly and weird characters” and reckons fans of Boosh/Paul Foot humour will love it. To check it out for yourself, head on over here.

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.

The Edinburgh Fringe Approaches

17 Jun

© The Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014

For three weeks every year thousands of shows from the worlds of comedy, theatre and anything else you can think of descend on Edinburgh for the largest arts festival in the world. The full programme for the Edinburgh Fringe 2014 has now been launched and of course there are many TVO regulars making an appearance.

The full programme can be viewed and all tickets can bought over at the fringe website. Read on to see our round-up of what’s on offer.

Continue reading

Another Chance To Catch Clark

12 Jun

© Dan Clark

If you managed to miss Dan Clark’s run at Soho Theatre last week, fret not – because there are now two more opprotunties to see his new show!

Dan will be performing previews of his 2014 Edinburgh show Me, My Selfie & I at Kokomedia in Brighton 27th June and at The Pleasance Islington on 1st July. Tickets for both shows are a mere fiver. Seriously. Just click on the relevant link to book.

And if you’re lucky enough to be heading on up to the Edinburgh Fringe, you can see Dan from 30th July -to24th August at the Pleasance Dome. Take a look here for further details and to procure tickets.

Take a look at our earlier review of one of Dan’s warm ups for a flavour of what it’s all about.

Wee Paper People

1 Jun

Regular readers of TVO might remember Paper People – cut out and keep paper models of your favourite TVO folk. We’ve just revisited the site and there are many, many more characters for you to cut out and keep. How many do you recognise from the pictures below?

If you can’t wait to get your hands on your own Wee Paper People, all you have to do is click on the website, download your favourites then print and assemble. Assembly instructions are on the site.

If you want something more personal, the creator of all these fantastic models, Sally Grosart, can make personalised little people of your friends and family, or personalised cards or banners. To contact Sally and see the rest of her creations click here.

New Julia Davis & Dan Clark Project

18 Apr

© Sutton Guardian

Following hot on the heels of the award-winning Hunderby, Julia Davis has been working on a new pilot for Channel 4.

Morning Has Broken follows the story of Gail Sinclair, the star of daily television programme, Good Morning… with Gail Sinclair. After eight years of high ratings and awards, the show featuring ‘The Queen of Daytime’ starts to lose viewers and tensions build within the production team.

Morning Has Broken has been written by and will star Davis, and the 45-minute pilot episode (which will be filmed in London next month) will be directed by none other than Dan Clark!

Producers of the show have said: “It’s a show less about the making of television and more about the relationships between a group of co-workers who, everyday, are under the immense pressure to deliver topical, meaningful content in the world of current affairs, lifestyle, medical issues and showbiz.”

If the pilot episode proves popular with the big cheeses at Channel 4, a full series should go into production later this year.

We’re seriously looking forwards to this one!

Me, My Selfie & I

17 Apr

Perennial TVO favourite Dan Clark has been warming up for his forthcoming Soho gigs. Velveteer Paulyne was able to sneek a peek at his new material; here’s her report:

After a long day, one thing that very much hits the spot is a large pizza in a pub and some comedy. I made my way to Aces & Spades in London (regular venue for Harry Deansway’s Shambles nights) to see TVO regular, Dan Clark – the first time in a while, in preparation for his upcoming run at Soho Theatre.

His show will be titled Me, My Selfie & I and with our tickets being just £3, that tends to be a telltale that we were in notes-in-hand and ‘let’s just see what happens’ territory, and we were. And it was great.

Soho Theatre

The one thing I love about warm-ups is that apart from seeing new material from your favourite comics, you are seeing a stripped-down, unpolished script from them, which feels nicely relaxed and casual. However, some audience members seemed to think that the environment was more akin to their living room, and it was therefore acceptable to yell at the stage and discuss what they would be having for dinner. Clark handled it in the charmingly sharp way we’ve always seen and loved at Clark’s, and then we were able to sit back, relax and enjoy the comedy again.

Avoiding spoilers, one thing you can expect if (when) you pop along to Soho Theatre to see his show, is that ‘Don Danbury’ is no more. Clark very much steered away from the juvenile character he’s found fame with, and instead we heard about the trials and tribulations of being a fully-fledged adult.

Witty, natural and great fun – and a tad more grown up,  I predict the appearance of a new fanbase alongside his existing fans of the vagina and penis jokes (to those fans, don’t worry, there’s still some of those too).

You can catch Me, My Selfie & I at the Soho Theatre for a run of 5 nights from 3rd – 7th June (inc.). Tickets are £10 for each night and can be purchased here.

Joey Page & Dan Clark In Soho (& Beyond)

15 Mar

© Amused Moose/Dan Clark

Soho Theatre has hosted gigs by a bevy of TVO-related artists over recent years and the next few months are no exception, with shows  from Joey Page and Dan Clark in the pipeline.

Joey will be bringing his fantastical bag of comedy goodies to Soho on Thursday 15th May. He’s be performing at Soho Upstairs and tickets for the show cost £10. For more information about Joey’s gig and to book tickets click here.

Dan will be performing upstairs at the theatre for a run of 5 nights from 3rd – 7th June (inc.). He’ll be trying out new material for his upcoming new stand up show, so head on down there to see the magic taking shape. Tickets are £10 for each night and can be purchased here.

The impatient amongst you don’t have to wait that long to see Dan either, because he’s performing at awesome comedy night Shambles this week, on Thursday March 20th. The gig takes place at 7pm at Aces & Eights, 156-158 Fortess Rd, Tufnell Park London and tickets cost a mere £6.95. They’re available to procure in advance here.

 

 

TVO’s Review Of The Year 2013: Part Three

3 Jan

If you’ve previously taken a mosey through Part One and Part Two of our Review of 2013, you’ll already be aware that it’s been a busy old year in Onion Land. July to September was no exception, with news, reviews, new shows and live performances from both our regulars and the new names on our roster.

So here are the best bits from the third quarter of the year – hand-picked from over 700 news stories across 2013, and jam-packed with forgotten treasures and instant classics alike. Enjoy.

JULY

The month began with the release of Dan Clark‘s debut album, Dan Clark & The Difficult Three, which had been funded via a successful Pledge Music campaign. Combining genuinely funny lyrics with proper tunes played by a bona fide band, the record offered fans of Clark’s musical comedy an opportunity to re-live some of his live show classics and enjoy some newer compositions. For a wee taster, here below is a live recording of ‘Don’t Kiss Me’ (and if you fancy buying a copy of the album, head on over here):

We also featured a series of introductions to the TVO-recommended artists you could see at 2013’s Edinburgh Fringe. We intentionally mixed up the folk who we already write about with the people who we define as “beyond the Onion”; those featured included Colin Hoult, Tony Law,  Paul FootSpank, Joey PageAisling Bea, Late Night Gimp Fight, Tim Fitzhigham, Jonny & The Baptists (+ Jonny Donahoe), Pete Heat and Glen Wool.

On 19th July the world of comedy sadly lost one of its pioneers, in the shape of Mel Smith. Whilst Smith’s contribution to modern comedy is undeniable, we can also claim a link between him and the TVO family, with Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthew’s first TV sketches being written for Alas, Smith And Jones. You can watch one of them below:

In terms of new TV and film projects, this month saw the release of Ben Wheatley‘s hotly-anticipated follow-up to Sightseers, the psychedelically historical A Field In England, which launched simultaneously in cinemas, on TV and on DVD on 5th July.

Filming also began on the second series of Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy, and the Marmite-like TV adaptation of Graham Linehan’s Count Arthur Strong also hit our screens. Chris O’Dowd continued with his world domination of the airwaves with a role in the part-improvised US sitcom Family Tree:

Finally, fans of The Mighty Boosh got all hot and bothered over Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt‘s first live performance together since 2010 when the pair performed at The Barbican at a concert to honour the musician, Beck. Expect a bit more of the Boosh boys down below (honestly not as rude as it sounds)…

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TVO’s Review Of The Year 2013: Part One

1 Jan

2013 has been a funny old year in Onion Land. We’ve seen our regulars scoop bucketloads of awards, from Best British Film at the Empire Awards to International Emmy Awards and everything in-between. Some names on our roster have reached new heights of success, becoming household names to people who have no idea of their cult origins. Others have just continued being quietly amazing, but all of them have been worthy of your attention.

As a result, we’ve been ploughing through the 12 months of TVO, to pluck out the best bits from over 700 news stories across 2013. This first instalment of our round-up covers January-March, and is jam packed with forgotten treasures and instant classics alike.  Enjoy.

JANUARY

The year began quietly, with the only key new show on the box being, on the surface, designed for kids. FIT was a sports-based sketch show on CBBC from the team behind Sorry, I’ve Got No Head, and featured TVO regulars Tony WayRufus Jones and Aisling Bea in its ensemble cast. For the most part, however, it was the involvement of Peter Serafinowicz – reprising his beloved cult character Brian Butterfield – which got everyone’s attention…

On the other end of the spectrum, Michael SmileyDan Tetsell and Simon Farnaby turned up in the very-much-for-grown-ups cyber-thiller Utopia on Channel 4. The show concerned itself with attempts to trace the only known copy of a graphic novel which left a trail of bloody carnage in its wake. With Four Lions star Adeel Akhtar part of its ensemble cast, as well as Kill List actor Neil Maskell as a creepy hitman, and The Thick Of It‘s Paul Higgins as a blackmailed civil servant, the show became an instant cult hit, and will be returning for a second series in 2014.

Closer to home, and the good folk of Onion Land seemed keen to dish out advice. Comedic agony aunt Rachel Stubbings was offering specially crafted miniature versions of herself for sale to anyone in need of a friendly ear. Or, to be more exact, a bit of unemotional plastic which happened to look a bit like her, in a variety of costumes. The Stubby Buddy was a quick sell out, though something tells me we won’t be seeing them in the shops next year…

Elsewhere, conceptual artist and Luxury Comedy star Kim Noble was offering handy tips on how to buy an oven

And as Bowie-fever gripped the world, James Cook released his own, haunting interpretation of Mr Jones’ classic track, Ashes To Ashes

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F*cked Up Fulcher: A Review

9 Dec

It’s been a while since we last witnessed Rich Fulcher live on stage in the UK; even longer since we saw him hosting a chaotic selection of his comedy mates in a show. Fulchfest, the legendary Kentish Town comedy night that Rich fronted a few years ago is but a distant (and sadly missed) memory. Then out of the darkness, for one night only, comes Rich Fulcher & His F*cked Up Friends at Soho Theatre. Luckily, two of our Velveteers were there on Friday night to report back:

© Mog/The Velvet Onion

There’s something utterly heart-warming about Rich Fulcher. He may be dressed as a wonky Christmas elf and he may be offering oral pleasure to Tom Meeten, but the mischievous smile and the sparkle in his eyes can make even the most cynical comedy watcher feel the cheer.

Noel Fielding once described him as “a natural buddhist”, saying of his friend, “His vibes are incredible. If you could take Rich everywhere with you, you’d never be sad.” In fact, if Rich’s mind wasn’t so damned dark and weird he’d make a fantastic kids’ entertainer.

Some of the set pieces were eye-wateringly funny: an opener about trying to behave like a parent, only to take it too far the other way (we’ll leave that to your imagination!); and a volley of abuse aimed at Oly Ralfe (who spent the entire show poised at the piano, ready to provide musical accompaniment at a moment’s notice), were particularly noteworthy.

Others fell a little short of their target, but the performance was so pacey you barely had time to notice. The entire night galloped along just on the right side of the professional/shambolic divide, like all good Fulcher shows do.

What Rich does so well is taking a joke to his limits – then pushing it way, way beyond that. In the hands of someone less likeable and more self-conscious it wouldn’t work so well; but Rich approaches each moment with such energy and conviction, it’s easy to get carried along.

© Mog/The Velvet Onion

The line-up for the night was fresh, sparky and marvelously odd. Highlights included: a whirlwind performance from Meeten in the guise of ‘Animal Man’ (like all his best characters, a man precariously balanced at the edge of madness – and surprisingly poignant with it) – and Meeten’s Karate Johnson also made an alarming appearance; Pajama Men’s Shenoah Allen, with a charmingly original multi-voiced sketch about animals; and Gary Le Strange in a startling Pineapple-Studio-Steam-Punk combo, complete with kiddy umbrella. Although the front row of Boosh fans looked a tad confused, he had the table next to us falling about.

Another comedy revelation was Ralfe, who sat to the side of the stage playing the (musically-gifted) straight man to everyone else’s chaos. His withering stares at Rich were pitch perfect, and his ability to find a melodies in the melee astonishing.

© Mog/The Velvet Onion

Due to the quantity of acts on offer, Dan Clark and magic man, Pete Heat, didn’t have the opportunity to get fully into their sets, which is a shame because they’re bloody funny/clever when they’re in the groove.

By way of a finale, Cardinal Burns’ set, performed entirely in French, provided the perfect full-stop to the show: in equal measures bizarre, silly, clever, confusing and funny.

We’ve missed you and your F*cked Up Friends, Fulcher. Come back again soon.

Shambles: The Sitcom

18 Nov

Comedy guru Harry Deansway has unleashed his latest project, featuring TVO’s very own Rich Fulcher and Dan Clark.

The former editor of much-missed scene mag The Fix turned stand-up genius, club impresario and occasional blog-ranter runs regular comedy night Shambles – a night often featured on these pages – and has used it as the basis for a new web-series.

Part narrative sitcom, part stand-up showcase, the six episodes focus on the trials and tribulations of running a comedy night, and feature exclusive performances from some of the world’s top comedians.

You can see Parts One & Two below, alongside Rich Fulcher’s full, exclusive stand-up set.  For more episodes as soon as they appear, subscribe to the Raybotnic YouTube channel.

Tough Crowd On The Move

24 Sep

Dave Brown‘s exhibition of intimate comedy portraits, Tough Crowd, will be leaving its current home in Norwich and heading to North Wales next month.

© Dave Brown

The exhibition will be moving to Oriel Colwyn from 21st October, and it’ll remain there until 4th January 2014. The collection includes stunning images of a number of big name comedians, including a bevvy of TVO regulars: Alice LoweArnab ChandaBarunka O’ShaughnessyDan ClarkDolly WellsJoey PageJulia DavisJulian BarrattKevin EldonKim NobleNeil ColeNoel FieldingRich FulcherRichard AyoadeSarah KendallSteve OramTom Meeten and Tony Law.

There will be limited edition prints on sale in aid of Afrikids, so there’s good reason to get yourself down there and part with your cash. If you can’t make it in person, the prints are also available on the Afrikids website.

Oriel Colwyn can be found upstairs at Theatr Colwyn, and admission to the show is free. For more information about the venue visit its website.

However, if Wales feels a bit too westerly for you and you haven’t yet caught Tough Crowd during its stint in Norwich, there’s still time to experience it at Flint Hair on Benedict Street and Fabulous Frames on Upper St Giles Street before it moves. Its Norwich run finishes on 12th October.

Don’t forget that you can also see Dave’s brilliant photos of The Boosh at Proud Camden, London NW1 from 24th October to 1st December. It’s not yet on the venue’s website, but it’s definitely happening.

Tough Crowd Returns

12 Sep
© Dave Brown

© Dave Brown

Tough Crowd - the exhibition of intimate comedy portraits by Dave Brown – will be given a new lease of life from tomorrow in Norwich.

Split across two venues, the collection includes shots of a number of big name comedians.  TVO regulars Alice LoweArnab ChandaBarunka O’ShaughnessyDan ClarkDolly WellsJoey PageJulia DavisJulian BarrattKevin EldonKim NobleNeil ColeNoel FieldingRich FulcherRichard AyoadeSarah KendallSteve OramTom Meeten and Tony Law are just the tip of the iceberg!

With the likes of Adam Buxton, Bill Bailey, Bob Mortimer, Chris Addison, Harry Hill, Lenny Henry, Phill Jupitus, Ross Noble and Tim Minchin amongst the various other names featured – and there are many more – it’s a fascinating collection to peruse, and the good people of Norwich can do so from tomorrow – Friday 13th September, until Saturday 12th October.

The free to view show is housed by Flint Hair on Benedict Street, and Fabulous Frames on Upper St Giles Street.  As ever, there will be limited edition prints on sale in aid of Afrikids, so get on down there and part with your cash.  If you can’t make it, the prints are also available on the Afrikids website.

If you missed our extensive interview with Dave on all things Tough Crowd late last year, you can swot up on it right now.

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Soho Fantastico

5 Jul

© Mog

Wednesday night saw the hotly anticipated Club Fantastico, Steve Oram and Tom Meeten‘s wildly demented comedy show, take place at the Soho Theatre.

The TVO contingent were out in force, with a star-studded and appreciative audience that included Alice Lowe, Tony Way, John Hopkins, Noel Fielding, Dolly Wells, Nigel Coan, Kim Noble, Dan Clark, Arnab Chanda, Gareth Tunley, Waen Shepherd, Barunka O’Shaughnessy and Bob Pipe. Phew!

Reviewing Club Fantastico presents something of a challenge; it’s difficult to do justice to a performance that features the techno dancing antics of Shaun the Prawn, an apparatus for feeding peanuts to ladies from a distance, an mind-melting version of Paper/Scissors/Rock, a phonecall with a pet lizard and “..but I won’t go South of the River” as what could possibly be one of the best comedy catch phrases ever. It also features Mary, who we will continue to find hilarious until the end of time. For their charm, energy and downright silliness Oram & Meeten are hard to beat.

So instead of a written review, we thought we’d share a few photos from the night. We think they tell their own story!

© Mog

© Mog

Continue reading

What’s On At Clarks

2 Jul

© Ben Meadows Photography

For a while now we’ve been telling you to get yourself down to the Soho Theatre later this week to see Dan Clark‘s legendary club night, Clarks.

There’s a 3-date run: 4th, 5th and 6th July.  The acts have now been confirmed for each night: on Thursday you can see Ginger and Black, Oyster Eyes and Aisling Bea; on Friday you can see Maeve Higgins, a special surprise guest and Henry Paker; and on Saturday you can see Daniel Simonsen, Brett Goldstein, David Armand and Nick Helm. Of course, Dan himself will be performing on all dates.

Although tickets have almost gone (indeed, there are only tickets available on the door for the Friday date), if you’re quick you can probably get your hands on some. Time Out certainly think you should!

Click here to book; the show start at 9.30pm on all three nights and tickets are £12.50. There’s a special 2 for 1 offer on tickets for the Thursday night; just check out Dan’s twitter for the special code to bag a bargain.

Dan Clark & The Difficult Three: Out Today!

1 Jul

Dan Clark

Today saw the release of Dan Clark‘s debut album, Dan Clark & The Difficult Three.  Velveteer Paulyne has been savouring its delights, and brings you her review, below:

This day was bound to come.  Dan Clark has made no secret of his wish to be the next Jon Bon Jovi, and after his PledgeMusic page reached 100% last month, his long awaited comedy rock album was distributed to all pledgers on this very morning, and is now available to buy elsewhere too.

The album includes tunes to make you snort out laughing on a quiet bus, as you have flashbacks to your own experiences of the subject matter. Remember that time you answered the door to the gas-man/plumber/bailiffs wearing something either not yours, not enough or with the infamous ‘glory hole?’ Or remember that time you googled your first date as soon as you got home?  This album is for you, and it offers a great mix of observational & real experiences with unimaginable situations to upbeat tunes.

If you have been lucky enough to pop down to any of Dan’s regular Clarks comedy nights, then all the songs are recognizable.  But producer Ben Parker and his band of The Difficult Three have taken simple acoustic numbers and pumped them up to 11, turning them into something that spans every rock sub-genre imaginable.

The album starts with an introduction, reminding you that Clark is first and foremost, a stand-up.   Then comes Pippa: the story of his new relationship with Pippa Papadopoulos, the GP.  Bread & Milk has me picturing Billy Joe Armstrong blasting this out as a bonus track on the next Green Day album! Continue reading

Dan Reaches Pledge Target!

23 Jun

© Mog

Dan Clark‘s debut album Dan Clark and the Difficult Three, has reached 101% of the target on PledgeMusic with 8 days to go!

You can still pledge to get the album on the launch date and there are extras available including t-shirts, signed episode scripts and handwritten lyrics. If you only want the album download it is a very reasonable £8.

Everyone who pledges gets access to special updates and rehearsal footage on the site.

To pledge, and see what goodies are left, go to Dan’s PledgeMusic page.

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