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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.


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!



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


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


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


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!

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.

Better Than Rather Good Comedy

21 Jun

© ARGComFest

The line up for ARGcomFest 2014 has been announced, and as the festival name promises – it’s Actually Rather Good.

The festival, now in its third year, aims to provide a taster of the spirit of the Edinburgh Fringe with a host of Edinburgh Preview shows. It will be taking place at The Garage, Highbury, London, on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th July

For a single ridiculously low ticket price, you get access to an entire weekend of 32 previews of top shows which are headed to Edinburgh this summer.

There’s currently one directly-connected TVO name on the list, in the form of the very wonderful Sarah Kendall, but check out the full line-up for the complete list of performers, then try telling us it doesn’t sound amazing.

You can buy tickets for the day (from £19) or the weekend (from £33); for all the details click here.


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

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.


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

Continue reading

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.


Get Up, Stand Up With Sarah Kendall

30 Jan

© Dave Brown/Afrikids

Sarah Kendall will be tackling the thorny issue of modern-day feminsim in her new solo show at the Soho Theatre in February.

Get Up, Stand Up is Kendall’s first solo show in five years, and in it you’ll see her pushing the boundaries with a more political slant to her act. Inspired by the birth of her daughter, she’ll be questioning the kind of society in which we’re raising girls: a society where educated middle-class women are pole dancing for fitness and fairytales teach young girls to value beauty above brains.

The show runs 5th-9th February at the Soho Theatre (Tue – Wed £10, Thu – Sat £15/£12.50 cocessions). For more information and to book tickets click here.

Onion Talking: Dave Brown’s Tough Crowd

7 Dec

© Dave Brown

Tough Crowd - the new photo exhibition by Dave Brown, is currently wowing art-lovers at The Strand Gallery in central London.

TVO caught up with the man behind the lens to talk about putting together a series of comedian portraits with a difference…

“It’s not all panel shows, fat cheques & giggles. Comedians are tough. They have to be.”

So says Dave Brown, one fifth of The Mighty Boosh, graphic designer by trade and photographer whenever time has allowed. Over the years, he has documented the madcap adventures of the quintet he is a vital part of, recently hosting an exhibition of his favourite shots culled from a decade of Boosh history. Tough Crowd, in aid of Afrikids, however, is an entirely different beast.

“It came from trying to think of a different angle to shoot comedians,” he explains to TVO in the midst of final preparations for the exhibition at The Strand Gallery. “It’s not that I’ve got a hatred of the way comedians are portrayed in photography, or their posters and stuff, because some of that is great. Photographers like Andy Hollingworth are excellent at it.”

“It’s just the usual persona you see comedians giving out on their panel shows, on stage or in the papers…” he trails off. “Well, they’re mostly always chirpy and cheery. I think a lot of people get the idea that it’s an amazingly glamorous life: that it’s an easy way we make a living, earning loads of money and having a great laugh at the same time. Truth is, it’s not easy… for most people in the industry anyway. It’s a extremely difficult world to occupy. I know loads of comedians, they have to be seriously thick skinned to make it and to stay there. To be a comedian you have to be resilient.” Continue reading

A Crowd At Tough Crowd

6 Dec

Tuesday evening saw the grand opening of Dave Brown‘s new photography exhibition Tough Crowd at the Stand Gallery in London. Velveteers Paulyne and Mog were there and enjoyed an early glimpse of the show.

© Dave Brown

The comedians featured in the photographs read like a ‘who’s who’ of The Velvet Onion; it’s tangible evidence of how interconnected this particular group of artists really are. The images themselves are incredibly striking – defined by their wintery colours, crisp details and luminescent eyes. This is a side of the comedian’s persona that we don’t often get to see, and across the faces in the photographs there’s a fascinating mixture of confusion, frustration, guilt and fear. Some of the featured artists haven’t quite let their guard down, but in so doing perhaps reveal how much deeper their fear of comedy failure goes.

The scale of the photographs stops you in your tracks – every whisker and laughter line writ large across the gallery wall. A massive print of Tony Law dominates the ground floor: a noble 19th century explorer with childhood in his eyes.

The contrast between these images and the photographs that Dave took in Ghana make for fascinating viewing: the single wall of gold-tinged skin and warm earth tones provides an interesting step change within the show. Summer and Winter. Them and us.

© Dave Brown

Even when arriving nearly two hours after doors open, we still found the entrance crammed to gills with the friends and family of Dave Brown, all there too see his stunning work for Afrikids.

As we circled the room and entered each long stretch of hallway it was hard not to be completely entranced by the portraits of so many well-known faces. The heartwarming touch for us was the TVO connection to a large percentage of them; and some even with a long childhood connection (e.g. Lenny Henry), of watching them on Saturday nights in your pyjamas with a cuppa.

Looking around at each of those portraits was a bit like wanting to ask the subjects probing questions but at the same time not wanting to intrude. The idea of each snap is ‘when the laughter stops’ and Dave certainly got this out of each subject. It begs the question what would I think about in that situation?

© Dave Brown

A must see exhibition for you to lose yourself in and come back to us with your own thoughts… if they’re not too private.

To buy a limited edition print of one of the Tough Crowd photographs and to donate to Afrikids at the same time visit the Afrikids website.  There are 100 prints of each subject; A3 prints cost £50 and A2 prints cost £75. To see photos of last night’s opening take a look at photographer Sam Witney’s site and click on ‘Dec 5th’. See how many TVO-related faces you can spot – they were out in force!

Keep your eyes peeled for our exclusive interview with the man behind the camera lens, Dave Brown, coming soon!

Tough Crowd

5 Dec
© Dave Brown

© Dave Brown

Tough Crowd, the latest photo exhibition by Dave Brown, opens today at The Strand Gallery in central London.

A collection of portraits capturing the very essence of the lonely, fragile comedian, the exhibition is in aid of the brilliant Afrikids and features a whole host of famous names including the likes of Harry Hill, Lenny Henry, Adam Buxton, Jimmy Carr, Tony Law, Lee Mack and more… including a number of TVO regulars too!

The likes of Noel FieldingJulian BarrattRich FulcherJulia DavisRichard AyoadeAlice LoweSteve OramTom MeetenBarunka O’ShaughnessySarah KendallDolly Wells, Kevin EldonKim NobleNeil ColeDan ClarkJoey Page and Arnab Chanda join the packed line-up.

The exhibition will run at The Strand until December 15th, and entry is free.  Fans will be more than pleased to know that limited edition prints of every portrait will be available to buy for just £50 (A3) and £75 (A2).

TVO attended the packed out preview tonight, and spoke to Dave about the exhibition earlier this week, so expect our exclusive reports very soon, alongside a competition for a very special prize!

To find out more about the brilliant work Afrikids do, go over yonder, or check out the Strand Gallery right here.

Kendall And Page Bear All

7 Nov


Two TVO acts collide for a gig at The White Bear in Ruislip, as Sarah Kendall and Joey Page have both been billed at the regular comedy night on 6th December!

As Kendall’s Aussie wit and Page’s supersonic comedy are accompanied by Paul Gannon (who also apparently appeared in Brooker’s Dead Set), Ruislip and the the drinkers of the White Bear won’t know what’s hit them! There are more acts to be announced as well, and with tickets for this one-of-a-kind evening at just £4, you’d be mad not to book yours right now!

A Message From The Trenches

19 Aug

© Sarah Kendall

Sarah Kendall has penned a dramatic report from the frontline of the Edinburgh Festival, which is now just over half-way through.

Kendall conjures up the physical and emotional endurance demanded by the Festival with her tongue firmly in her cheek. She says, “With 12 nights left to go, I have started to try to cast my mind forward to September, when the war is over and we can all return to our homes. What will ‘home’ be like after all this time? Will my neighbours and friends look the same to me, will I look the same to them, or will we feel foreign to each other in some indefinable way?” Gripping stuff! To read her report in full click here.

If you’re in Edinburgh or toying with the idea of going, why not make Kendall’s final 2 weeks’ a little more joyful and check out her live show? And while you’re at it there are a load of other fantastic acts who are well worth seeing while you’re there. Take a look at our handy guide of what’s rocking our boat this year to plan your Festival visit.


Funny Fortnight Favourites: Beehive Remembered

19 Aug

© Tiger Aspect Television

During Channel 4’s Funny Fortnight, we thought it’d be a good idea to look back at some of the TVO related shows in their archives.

Here, our editor in chief turns his attention to oft-neglected sketch show Beehive, to see if it’s worthy of a reappraisal.

In December, 2008, a brand new sketch show aired on E4. If you blinked, you’d have missed it – as it’s five episodes were crammed into three nights and promptly forgotten about. Since then, there’s always been a stigma surrounding Beehive - not least amongst its stars. During a recent appearance on Richard Herring’s podcast, Australian stand-up Sarah Kendall was incredibly dismissive about the show, or at the very least, it’s treatment by the channel.  The dvd release of the series was rushed out not long after broadcast, and promptly forgotten about – it’s currently out of print, and is unlikely to get another run anytime soon.

Watching Beehive in retrospect, in some ways it’s difficult to see why it was buried away and forgotten about.  This is, after all, a funny show.  Yet at the same time, the shunting and dismissal is totally understandable given the way programming commissioners have moved towards broader, more mainstream entertainment, particularly at the time the show aired.

© Tiger Aspect Television

It is fair to say that Beehive is far from perfect. Certainly, this is a show that isn’t quite sure what it wants to be. Written mostly by its four stars, Alice Lowe, Barunka O’Shaughnessy, Clare Thomson and Kendall – it was described by Sarah as “shit that makes the four of us laugh”. As such, it’s a fusion of surrealistic moments, such as the alien going to the swimming baths, traditional sketches like the Aztecs taking all day to write a name, and some downright purile knob and fart jokes that prove once and for all women like crude humour just as much as men.

The most successful regular sequences are those set in the Beehive flat. Playing exaggerated versions of themselves, these sequences act like a French & Saunders white room for the 21st century – allowing the girls to be incredibly silly in the strangest possible ways, always grounded by the familiar surroundings. Thus, Sarah can recreate that scene from Aliens or become convinced she is Spiderman, Barunka can pretend to be a Speshul Robot for Claire’s birthday, and they can all get offended by the phrase: “Barunka is a bellend.” Continue reading

Edinburgh 2012: The Non-Onion Round Up

6 Aug

The Edinburgh Festival is now well under way, with a number of TVO regulars appearing amongst the hundreds of shows vying for your attention.

With the likes of Rachel Stubbings, Dave McNeill, Sarah Kendall, Paul Foot, Phil Whelans and Waen Shepherd all jumping around stages in the name of funny ha-ha, we urge any of you making a trek to the ‘Burgh to go and see these six wonderful people doing hilarious things for money.

But they are, of course, only a small part of the bigger picture.  Here at Onion Towers, our remit is very clear cut – we’re here to bring you the news from the wider world of Booshdom.  Our pages are brimming over with news about alumni of Ealing Live, veterans of the Boosh & Darkplace, and the frequent collaborators of these talents who make up the first and second waves of what has been dubbed New Wave Comedy.

But that doesn’t mean we get to cover everyone we like.  There are lots of comics who make us all fall about in hysterics, and a lot of them could very easily find themselves on our pages more frequently if only they started working with our crowd a little more often.  We love them, and Edinburgh gives us a rare chance to shout about them too… so we hope you’ll excuse us this little indulgence, if it helps you pick out a handful of extra shows to watch during the festival.

To see our top ten highlights, click “Continue reading”, to, you know… Continue reading

Kendall Talks Fringe

3 Aug

© British Comedy Guide

Sarah Kendall joined Richard Herring for his latest podcast earlier this week.

With these two having  a previous relationship as Fringe flat-mates back in the day (as with most comics on the circuit) Herring and Kendall have a warts and all chat about Sarah’s experience on the making of Beehive, the Edinburgh Fringe, what she’ll be bringing with her show this year and why you should take a trip up to support and cheer up a self-loathing Kendall!

Herring is also joined by Iszi Laurence and Sarah first joins the show at 9 minutes 20 seconds.

To have a listen to this in-depth podcast you can find it right here via the British Comedy Guide.

After you’ve had a listen, why not take a look at Sarah Kendall’s blog on London is Funny, where you can find a bit more about her Fringe show plus a video snippet of some classic Kendall.

You can see Sarah’s show Get up, stand-up at the Pleasance Courtyard on various dates until August 27th – you can find more details right here along with a plethora of other TVO acts!

Edinburgh 2012: The Onion Round-Up

30 Jul

It’s almost time for The Edinburgh Fringe once more, and as ever, there’s a liberal sprinkling of TVO favourites heading up to Scotland throughout August.

The wonderful Rachel Stubbings makes her Edinburgh debut with Stubbing Out Problems, whilst David McNeill returns to the Fringe in spectacular form with his first solo show, Canoe Ride 3000 .  They are joined by the mighty Sarah Kendall, whose show Get Up, Stand Up has been getting rave reviews – and the inimitable Paul Foot with his latest show, Kenny Larch Is Dead.

And that’s not all – with Pros From Dover genius Phil Whelans part of the line up for improvised celebrity chat show Monkey Toast and our beloved Waen Shepherd as part of an all star ensemble cast for tragi-comic play The Interventionthis looks set to be one hell of a Fringe for TVO.

The Festival also gives us a rare opportunity to break out of our remit a little, and highlight a number of shows from other comics we don’t often get to mention on our pages, if at all, with our own set of top picks for Edinburgh 2012, which we’ll be sharing with you later this week.

For now, though, stop staring at that bulky catalogue, wondering if you’re ever going to find the time to look through it, and let us summarise the great Oniony shows you can see if you like the type of comedy which brought you here in the first place.  Enjoy – and if you do go along, why not tell us what you think of the shows by dropping us a line at

Edinburgh 2012: The Onion Round Up


DATES: Aug 1st-13th, 15th-27th

TIME: 15:00

WHERE: Underbelly, Bristo Square, Bristo Square, EH8 9AL

PRICE: Mon-Thur: £8.00 (£7.00 cons) Fri-Sun: £9.00 (£8.00 cons)


Bad breath? Scared of clowns? Worried your ex is over you? I’m an online agony aunt phenomenon – I can help! I’ll probably help you with issues you didn’t even know you had…

Stubbing Out Problems marks Rachel Stubbing’s first full length foray into the Edinburgh Fringe, and as such, we at TVO are behind her all the way.  Based upon the cult YouTube sensation which has featured all many of TVO faces, Stubbings debut is an assured slice of technologically enhanced guru mockery that’s more than worthy of your attention.  After a storming set at The Velvet Onion Live back in May, Rachel has been finely tuning and honing her debut with a string of preview gigs, and now the star of Alice’s Wunderland and Jackal Films is ready and raring to go.  You can see a sneak preview, featuring a cameo by Stephen Evans, right here…

We spoke to Stubbings to see if she had a message for the good people of the Onion, and she kindly provided us with a short but sweet response to you all…

“Oi, come check out my live healing skillz of which there are many, please?”



DATES: Aug 1st-13th, 15th-26th

TIME: 15:30

WHERE: Pleasance Courtyard, 60 Pleasance, EH8 9TJ

PRICE: Mon-Thur: £8.00 (£7.00 cons) Fri-Sun: £10.00 (£9.00 cons)


Come jeer at this feckless fool in his homemade canoe striving to answer questions he’s as yet unsure of … and to find the Chinese man who urinated through his letterbox at 1am two weeks ago.

Canoe Ride 3000 marks Dave McNeill’s first solo fringe show, having last appeared at the festival with Colin Hoult in madcap spy caper Zimbani – which later became a tv pilot featuring Julian Barratt, no less.  His recent appearance at The Velvet Onion Live is just one brilliant moment in amongst his regular appearances on the London live circuit, and this magical flight of fancy is going to be an absolute corker.

We spoke to McNeill to see if he had a message for our readers, and he was keen to share his thoughts with you all…

“Dear peelers of The Velvet Onion! On the coming of August I shall be taking my Canoe 3000 to Edinburgh for a journey of discovery, of danger and to find possible answers relating to the man from China and why he urinated through my letter box a few weeks ago. Join me! A man can become fairly lonely all by himself in a canoe with nothing but the open sea and his thoughts.”



DATES: Aug 1st-12th, 14th-27th

TIME: 20:30

WHERE: Pleasance Courtyard, 60 Pleasance, EH8 9TJ

PRICE: Mon-Thur: £10.00 (£9.00 cons) Fri-Sun: £11.00 (£10.00 cons)


Perrier and Time Out London Comedy Award nominee Sarah Kendall returns with a blistering new hour of stand-up. The Sunday Times called it ‘Brilliant observational comedy’, and Chortle say it’s ‘A truly brilliant show. Got to be seen.’

She’s back!  The powerhouse stand-up first came to TVO’s attention via her starring role in Beehive, but she’s been wowing crowds in the UK and her native Australia for many, many years.  Kendall is a comic in her element – her confidence on stage allowing her to care not a jot about looking ridiculous, yet never descending into arrogance like so many observational comics tend to.  She is crude but surrealistic, blunt but whimsical – and never gives less than her all.  Not only firing on all cylinders as a comic, but nowadays as a mother too, Sarah’s latest show should appeal to anyone slightly naffed off at the world, but who is still in love with it all the same.



DATES: Aug 2nd-14th, 16th-26th

TIME: 19:30

WHERE: Underbelly, Cowgate, 56 Cowgate, EH1 1EG

PRICE: Mon-Thur: £10.50 (£9.50 cons) Fri-Sun: £12.00 (£11.00 cons)


Deep within the sinking sands of the Perspex jungle of youth, in the forgotten nebula of nothingness, comes an objet du desir – a trombone fruit. Needless to say, it’s another warm year.

What can be said about Paul Foot’s unique brand of comedy that we haven’t already tried to articulate with our rave reviews over the past few years?  Suffice to say, Noel Fielding was so taken by Foot’s charms, he directed his previous Edinburgh show Ash In The Attic, and propelled Paul into stardom with his guest slots on …Buzzcocks and Luxury Comedy.  Paul Foot occupies a moment in the space time continuum so unlike any other comic before or since, and comedy fans tend to fall into two groups: those who have seen him work his magic on a room and have fallen in love with Foot’s ways, and those who haven’t.



DATES: Aug 1st-12th, 14th-26th

TIME: 19:05

WHERE: The Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street, EH2 2LR

PRICE: £15.00 (£12.00 cons)


Chicago, 2012. Zac is confronted by friends and family, trying to redeem him before it’s too late. As we delve deeper into his alcoholism, the more skeletons appear from the family cupboard’s dusty depths. A series of explosive revelations unravel the brutal truth behind the cycle of abuse. A father and son tale for the 21st century.

A fascinating looking show indeed, The Intervention is the brand new play from Fringe First Award 2011 winner Dave Florez, and features an all-star cast of top-notch comic talent, including the truly wonderful Waen ShepherdHoly Flying Circus star Phil Nichol and Dead Boss regular Aisling Bea.  For those wanting something a little different to the wall-to-wall standup and character comedy of our usual Fringe recommendations, this black comic drama has all the hallmarks of a classic in the making.  Get in before anyone else does… this is one show that deserves a life beyond Edinburgh.



DATES: Aug 1st-13th, 15th-26th [Phil Whelans present Aug 11th-17th]

TIME: 23:05

WHERE: Pleasance Dome, Potterow, 1 Bristo Square, EH8 9AL

PRICE: Mon-Thur: £10.00 (£8.00 cons) Fri-Sun: £11.00 (£9.00 cons)


Six-time Canadian Comedy Award-winning shot hits Edinburgh! An all-star UK cast including Phil Whelans, Humphrey Ker, Sara Pascoe, Cariad Lloyd and Rob Broderick will create hilarious improvised scenes from onstage interviews with real celebrity guests.

One epic cast list of big names and up and coming stars join forces for this improvised chat show, featuring celebrity guests and such stuff of spontaneous chaos.  Co-created by occasional Rich Fulcher collaborator and improv legend David Shore, this promises to be a late night treat whoever features.  Pros From Dover’s Phil Whelans [who also appeared in Brass Eye and Katemodern] will be part of the madness between August 11th & 17th.


If you’re attending the Festival and manage to see any of these shows, why not send us a short review?  Email us via to share your thoughts on the wonders of Edinburgh!  Keep peeling to find out our top picks from beyond the Onion, later this week!

Roar With Laughter

19 Jul


The HMV Hammersmith Apollo Theatre, London will be the venue for a very special event on October 6th.

Roar with Laughter is a comedy night hosted by London Zoo to raise money for their tiger conservation work in Sumatra as well as to develop a new flagship Sumatran tiger exhibit at ZSL London Zoo – Tiger Territory.

Acts already on board for the one-off show include Phill Jupitus, Andy Parsons, Jon Richardson, Sarah Kendall, Richard Herring, Ed Byrne, Lucy Porter and Greg Burns.

All profits from the night go to fund the work with tigers. Doors open at 7pm, show starts at 7:30pm and tickets are on sale now from £25. To get tickets and find out more about the event click here.

Catch Up With Kendall

19 May

© Sarah Kendall / PBJ Management

The brilliant Sarah Kendall is warming up for this year’s Edinburgh Festival with a string of live dates across the south of England between now and the end of July.

Entitled Get Up, Stand Up, the new live show from the former Beehive star can be sneakily previewed from May 20th, when it debuts at The Old Market, Brighton.  The show will then pop up in London on Tuesday 29th at Camden Head.

Further performances will take place on June 16th at The Tommyfield, Kennington; June 19th upstairs at Three & Ten, Brighton; June 28th at Billabong Club, Kent; July 20th at Bristol Tobacco Factory and finally on July 25th at The Stoke, Guildford.

The show will then join a smattering of other TVO Favourites at the Edinburgh Festival between 1st and 27th August.  We’ll be bringing you a full run-down of the shows to watch at the Festival very soon, so stay peeled.

For all the latest info on Sarah, pop on over to PBJ’s website now.

Saturday Kendall Comedy

9 Jan

© Sarah Kendall

What better way to spend a Saturday night than to see Sarah Kendall do comedy?

After a successful run of hosting Soho Later at the Soho Theatre from October to December last year, here’s another great opportunity to see Kendall (Beehive, Jackal Films) in action.

The comedienne is on the bill for two different comedy gigs on the same day: January 21st. She will be performing at The Comedy Tree and the Comedy Carnival, so if you can’t make it to one of them… why not head down to the other!?

The Comedy Carnival starts at 7pm and will also feature Jeff Innocent, the Canadian comic JJ Whitehead and MC Pete Jonas. You can purchase your tickets over here for £14.

Tickets for the Comedy Tree can be found here for £10 (students £6.00!) and also on the bill is Benjamin Crellin plus a guest comedian.

It’s certain to be a night full of laughs, so pop down to one or both shows and enjoy yourself!


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