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Thanks For The Memories

5 Feb

Celebrating our 5th birthday this week has caused us to get a wee bit nostalgic. So we thought we’d collate some of those “Do you remember when?…” reminiscences into a Best of the first 5 years of TVO. It’s not a comprehensive overview of everything we’ve done, more a subjective account of a few of those ad hoc moments that made us feel warm, fuzzy and just a bit excited.

The favourite moments are different for all of us; sometimes it’s the memory of the event behind the article; sometimes it’s because we nailed an exclusive or wrote something that generated a huge amount of traffic for the website (one post last year generated over 13,000 unique visits in one day, fact fans!), and often it’s the buzz of being able to share something new, exciting and special with you, our readers. So here are a few of the happenings which have brought a smile to our faces over the past 5 years: 

Paul

© Paul Holmes

© Paul Holmes

There are so many glorious memories to treasure. There’s one particular Forgery Club that will forever be in my mind, presented by Hot Brew, and featuring a rare performance by Brown Jenkin (Colin Hoult & Stephen Evans), an appearance by The Mighty Thor and loads more. We were sat talking to Steve Oram before the show, and he noted that he’d never made it big because he liked to do things that broadcasters don’t know what to do with… then went on to give the audience an epic, ten minute long version of “Mary“. To this day, I can’t get a cab in London without thinking: “I will not go South of de river.”

I was particularly proud of the Mongrels takeover in November 2011, as various people being very busy meant I did that one pretty much solo, but was riddled with a genuine (and full blown) flu after arranging interviews with the whole cast and creator Adam Miller! I managed to salvage the interviews, strike up positive relationships with every single one of the team I spoke to which continue to this day, and fix up a wodge of behind the scenes stuff AND a competition to win DVDs of Series One, despite being unable to stand up or focus on a screen for more than a few minutes at a time. If you click here and scroll down, you can see everything.

Another good one to mention is Zimbani, which came to my attention early on in the life of TVO, when Dave McNeill & Colin Hoult emailed me to enthuse about their new show featuring Julian Barratt. It was the first time anyone had come to me direct outside of casual chatter, and really began expanding our world for the first time. Colin later made my partner, and occasional TVO designer, Lauren, get down on all fours and pretend to be a pig in front of Simon Amstell. Now that was a strange moment.

Then again, there’s many of those. Getting accidentally lost for a moment in a strange building behind the London Palladium with Isy Suttie at a screening of Alice Lowe‘s People Place. Similarly, getting trapped in a lift with Mike Fielding and an old lady who refused to let anyone else press the buttons to get us out of this chaos. And then there’s that strange bar James Wren led a motley post-Spank crew along to that felt like something out of a Bond film, somehow managing to stay glamorous at 3am. It’s been a funny old time.  But above all else, it’s just been nice to be welcomed into the fold of this wonderful group of friends and collaborators, and be trusted to give them everything I can to help their work reach a wider crowd. Let’s keep doing it, eh?

Mog

Having been involved in TVO since the very early days makes picking a favourite moment is a real challenge – but this one was pretty special: In 2011 Dave Brown was putting together Noel Fielding‘s art book Scribblings of a Madcap Shambleton. They needed one last thing to finish it off before it was sent to the printers, and they contacted us to provide it. We were able to offer our readers the opportunity to have a photograph of their faces painted over by Noel and included in the book. A double page spread of your lovely faces appeared in the book when it was published, alongside the caption ‘MY TINY CHILDREN’. A wonderful show of their appreciation for the fans, and something which we were delighted to facilitate on their behalf.

© Noel Fielding/Dave Brown

Our Sightseers take-over was pretty special too (click here and scroll down). We had no idea it would become such a cult hit at the time, and it was great to be able to support so many of ‘our lot’ (Alice Lowe, Steve Oram, Richard Glover Tom Meeten) with a week of exclusives.

© Big Face Productions

On a personal level, getting to know a few of the people who we write about – and discovering that they’re damned nice people as well as being unbelievably talented – has been a privilege.

A particular high point has been getting to know Hoppo. Introduced to me at Club Fantastico as “the only man to have survived Old Gregg”, John Hopkins turned out to have a TVO pedigree as long as his (long) arms, being part of the original Ealing Live gang and having worked with half of the people that we cover. He’s also lovely. If you don’t know who he is, we urge you to read our interview/profile about him and check out his stuff.

Helen

There are lots of brilliant moments I could mention, but as a fan of Hayden Black, it’s been a pleasure getting the chance to spread the word about him. I guess I’ve become our resident expert on Hayden’s creative and comedic output; take a look at this to find out more.

Paulyne

The moment that stands out in my mind is Fulchfest (Rich Fulcher‘s legendary comedy night in Kentish Town). I’d say that was the most fun I could have. This Pete Heat video that we filmed summarises it perfectly:

I’ve also had some brilliantly fun nights at Dan Clark gigs – often with Mog. Here’s a review of one of them.

© Mog

Aggie

I think my favourite moment is the Zappa Plays Zappa gig at the Camden Roundhouse, with The Mighty Boosh Band as support. Being surrounded by odd men with moustaches while weird music was playing… and then rushing across town to a Rich Fulcher gig – where all the familiar faces already were. It was a perfect blend of what started it all and the new direction TVO had pushed us all in.

Rosanna

Seeing the Boosh warm-up gigs in 2013 was great, and it was lovely going to Soho Theatre as part of the TVO team. It was brilliant to see them on stage together again, in a lovely small venue, with the magic between them there as if they’d never gone away. The review was great too!

I loved going to see the Inside No. 9 preview at the BFI. It’s now one of my favourite pieces of TV and seeing it in the cinema was really special.

Michael

Being involved in filming TVO Live was one the most fun shoots I’ve done, but also the toughest because it was so difficult holding the camera still due to my laughter! We couldn’t have wished for a better line up. Fingers crossed for a TVO Live 2!

Trixie

My favorite TVO memory is of when I interviewed Rich Fulcher in LA. I hadn’t done anything like it before, and he was so funny and generous! I admire Rich so much, and it was wonderful that he was everything he seems to be and more. A truly funny man.

Becca

The Luxury Comedy coffee competition was great, because it encouraged people to create something artistic. And I loved the series of Noel Fielding interviews to celebrate his birthday, which featured questions from our readers:

So there you have it – a sprinkling of very happy memories from a few of us. A big TVO thank you to the artists who we write about, who have provided us with these highs and who make it all possible. And thanks too to you, for being interested enough in what we do to come with us on our journey to the outer reaches of the comedy universe. It’s been quite a ride so far…

So Hot Right Now #16

2 Feb

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

THE VELVET ONION IS FIVE

This week marks our fifth anniversary, and to celebrate, a number of our regulars sent us video messages wishing us a very happy birthday. Kind of. The video below features, in order of appearance: Rachel StubbingsColin HoultDave BrownJames CookBob PipeDave McNeillKaty BrandNeil ColePhil WhelansJames WrenSpencer MillmanWaen ShepherdJacqueline WrightHolly Jane ShearsRufus JonesStephen Evans and Tony Way.

Our huge thanks to all involved – and we’ve got a few more messages coming through to give you Part Two very soon, so stay peeled!

THE WEEK IN TV & RADIO

A couple of regular shows wrapped up last week, but we’ve still got a number of great things on telly to savour across the week. Each one is as important as the other to us, as has always been The Velvet Onion way, so for ease of understanding, we’ll tackle them in chronological order.

MONDAY: DRUNK HISTORY

© Comedy Central UK

© Comedy Central UK

Airing at 9:30pm on Monday 26th over on Comedy Central UK, the fourth episode of Drunk History UK once more sees famous British comedians get absolutely plastered in the name of reciting tales from the past – which are then re-enacted by a top notch cast.

With the likes of Tony Way, Seb CardinalDustin Demri-Burns, Tom Rosenthal, Mat Horne, Marek Larwood, Tom Stourton, Alex Owen, Ben Bailey Smith and Rebecca Front on re-enactment duties across the series, tonight’s edition also features Ben Ashenden, Russell Kane and Joy Lycett getting hammered. Enjoy.

MONDAY: CATASTROPHE

© Ed Miller / Channel 4

© Ed Miller / Channel 4

Monday 2nd February at 10pm brings us Episode Three of Catastrophe - the brand new comedy from Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, in which an American man and an Irish woman fall in love in London whilst navigating the choppy waters of their increasingly complicated lives.

In this week’s edition, Sharon’s hormones plague her with waves of different emotions, and she has a chance meeting with an old flame (Phil Nichol), which leads to dinner. Meanwhile, Rob struggles to generate advertising business, since he has very few contacts in London, and begins a clandestine friendship with Chris, who is married to a woman Sharon can’t stand.

After wowing critics and audiences alike, Catastrophe will be returning for a second series, so it’s naturally a treat to watch the story unfold a little more this week.  If you missed the first two episodes, you can catch up with the series now via 4oD, whilst iPlayer houses Sharon and Rob’s last minute guest appearance on The Graham Norton Show last Friday.

TUESDAY: COCKROACHES

© Colin Hutton / Big Talk Productions / ITV 2

© Colin Hutton / Big Talk Productions / ITV 2

Tuesday 3rd February at 10pm sees Episode Four of Cockroaches air on ITV2. The post-apocalyptic comedy stars Daniel Lawrence Taylor (How Not to Life Your Life), Esher Smith, Jack Whitehall and Tom Davis, alongside a string of big name guest stars such as Dan Skinner, Alexander Armstrong, Caroline Quentin, Robert Bathurst and Nigel Planer.

In this week’s episode the survivors race to find an antidote after the camp’s children turn green – believing they may have nuclear radiation sickness or have become vampires – and the Doctor has gone power mad. If they do not find a cure, Tom may be forced to go through with a grisly deed.

As to be expected, you can catch up with past episodes via ITV Player, and the series will also be released on dvd on February 23rd.

TUESDAY (and Wednesday): COUNT ARTHUR STRONG

© BBC / Freemantle Productions

© BBC / Freemantle Productions

Also on Tuesday 3rd February comes Episode Five of the second series of Count Arthur Strong airing on BBC One at FOUR different times, depending on your location.

Viewers in England can see it at the slightly later than usual time of 10:45pm, whilst those watching in Northern Ireland have to wait until 11:40pm. However, if you’re in Wales, there’s an even sillier timeslot, as it airs at 12:15am – and viewers in Scotland can see the episode on Wednesday at 10:40pm!

Episode Five, once more from the pens of star Steve Delaney and Graham Linehan (best known for The IT Crowd and Father Ted), sees a documentary team arrive to film a profile of Michael, but Arthur threatens to steal the show with his new career. Fun stuff, as ever.

WEDNESDAY: LOVE IN RECOVERY

© Karla Gowlett / Lucky Giant

© Karla Gowlett / Lucky Giant

Wednesday 4th February brings us Episode Five of Love in Recovery on Radio 4. Written by Pete Jackson, the series follows the lives of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting group, made up of characters portrayed by Sue Johnston, John Hannah, Eddie Marsan, Rebecca Front and Paul Kaye, whilst Julia Deakin plays village hall cleaner Marion.

This week’s episode focuses on Kaye’s character, Danno, as he deals with the death of his father after returning from his memorial service – in the pub down the road.  If you missed previous installements, you can catch all previous episodes on iPlayer now, but be quick – as Episode One will vanish in four days time…

THURSDAY: CRIMS

©  Hal Shinnie / BBC

© Hal Shinnie / BBC

Thursday 5th February brings Episode Five of Crims - the new BBC Three sitcom from the pens of Mongrels writer Adam Kay and Grandma’s House writer Dan Swimer – at 10pm. And gawd, have we been waiting to rave about this one.

As ever, starring Elis James and Kadiff Kirwan, alongside Cariad Lloyd, Ricky Champ and Theo Barklem Biggs, with a guest appearance once again by Toast of London‘s Tracy Ann Oberman, this week’s episode draws on Adam Kay’s musical comedy background in the best possible way, as plans for the Young Offenders Institute to put on its own theatre production, are hijacked by Marcel, and turned into a musical interpretation of Twilight, which poor ol’ Luke has to write in 24 hours.

Typically bonkers, with charming tunes and possibly the best Elton John joke ever, this is possibly our favourite episode of the run, and the cast and crew seem to agree. If you only see one episode, make sure it’s this one, but if you have missed previous episodes, you can catch up on iPlayer now.

SATURDAY: HORRIBLE HISTORY’S SPECIAL

©  Phil Miller / Laura Rawlinson / LionTV / BBC

© Phil Miller / Laura Rawlinson / LionTV / BBC

On Saturday 6th February, Horrible Histories returns for a one-off special focusing on the story of King John and the Magna Carta.  As you can see from the image above, comic actor Ben Miller leads the cast as King John, by sheer coincidence, just a few months after he appeared as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Doctor Who!

Whilst the original HH team moved on to create Yonderland for Sky One, and the forthcoming movie Bill, regulars Jim Howick and Simon Farnaby return for this special, with Farnaby’s famous character Death now hosting his own chat show.

As fun as ever, this transitional episode prior to the next series (with a mostly new leading cast), airs on Saturday evening at 5:15pm on BBC Two.  The team have also made a series of new videos promoting internet safety for children – you can see Farnaby’s contribution (alongside Matt Baynton) below.

AND THE REST…

As always, here’s some of the news you may have missed during the last week, via our Twitter feed. We’ll see you again next Monday, and throughout the week for more news, reviews and interviews. Keep on peeling!

Happy Birthday to us, Happy Birthday to us!

30 Jan

This weekend marks TVO’s fifth anniversary, so what better way to celebrate than to grab as many video messages from the good folk we feature on these pages as physically possible, and put them all together for your enjoyment?

Huge thanks to everyone who contributed a message, as well as to all of those who really wanted to but have various deadlines and personal matters to take care of that have kept them out of this compilation. If you’re one of our regulars, and you haven’t been featured in this video – we’re still up for hearing from you, so do get in touch asap!

(Mc)Neil The Hippy

22 Dec

© Edinburgh Fringe

Filming has just finished on a new low-budget comedy film, which features character comedian David McNeil, amongst others.

The Great Unwashed revolves around Charlie, a man who’s forced to seek refuge amongst hippies in a wood in Wales after he stumbles across a gang of “vicious, criminal hairdressers” in his home town of London. It was filmed over four weeks near Abergavenny and in Kentish Town.

Most of the cast has been drawn from the comedy circuit, and along with McNeil it features Kathryn Bond and Lorna Shaw from That Pair, Nina Ludovica Smith and Libby Northedge from Twisted Loaf, Ed Eales-White and Will Hartley from Clever Peter.

Co-writer of the film, Louis Fonseca has said of the project: “We hope to have the final cut by March/April and then start our festival campaign. Our plan – or hope – is to acquire distribution through the festival circuit next year.”

As we get to know more about the project, so will  you.

R.I.P. Philip Seymour Hoffman 1967-2014

3 Feb

© Universal Pictures

The Velvet Onion would like to extend its sympathies to the family and friends of Philip Seymour Hoffman, who passed away this weekend aged 46.

An acting powerhouse whose glittering career has led to so many different ‘Top Ten Performances’ lists, Hoffman’s sole connection to TVO came with his central role as The Count in Richard Cutis’ 2009 comedy The Boat That Rocked alongside our very own Chris O’DowdKatherine Parkinson, and in a deleted sequence, Rich Fulcher.

Yet his legacy left a resounding impact on our regulars, and the team here, with masterful performances in productions as diverse as The SavagesSynecdoche New York, Boogie Nights, Mary And Max, A Late Quartet, The Hunger Games and The Big Lebowski.

In 2010, he also directed the feature film Jack Goes Boating, in which he also starred, and frequently directed theatre productions even in the later years of his life.  He had almost completed shooting on the final Hunger Games movie at the time of his death, has two other movies in the can for release this year and was about to start work on a new television comedy Happyish following a pilot episode filmed last year with Hedwig & The Angry Inch director John Cameron Mitchell.

Naturally, his work has inspired generations of performers and will continue to do so for decades to come.  This includes a number of TVO regulars who publicly expressed their shock and grief at his untimely passing.

Steve Coogan led public tributes at the London Critics’ Circle Awards last night, stating: “There are actors and there are movie stars and sometimes they’re both but he was an actor first and a movie star second. He did some tremendous work. People have different opinions about actors but you wouldn’t find anybody who would have a bad word to say about any of his performances – they were all incredibly nuanced.”

In the Twittersphere, more TVO regulars shared their views, which we have collated below.

Rest in peace, Mr Hoffman. You will be missed.

TVO Live Videos Part 9: David McNeill with Stephen Evans & Gareth Tunley

9 Sep

After a Summer break, it’s time once again to bring you more videos from The Velvet Onion Live!!

That star studded event in May 2012 featured the likes of Dave Brown, James Cook, Antony Elvin, Stephen Evans, Suzy Evelyn Hall, Mike Fielding, Richard Glover, Alex Kirk, Alice Lowe, David McNeill, Tom Meeten, Steve Oram, Laura Patch, Richard Sandling, Holly Jane Shears, Rachel Stubbings, Will Summers, Dan Tetsell, Gareth Tunley, Dolly Wells and the disembodied voice of Rich Fulcher.

We’re inching slowly but surely towards putting on more events in the future, and began showcasing footage from that glorious night of madcap fun earlier this year.  Then we got a little distracted on filming a documentary on the set of a certain forthcoming second series, and the videos had to go on hiatus.  Hell, if Doctor Who can do it, so can we!

So, enjoy the latest slice of lo-fi posterity, which just so happens to be one of the strangest parts of the evening.  Here, David McNeill explains the danger of David Chang, with help from Stephen Evans and Gareth Tunley.  It’s completely bonkers, but we loved it on the night, and we love it now…

If you missed our previous videos in the series, you can check them out via this handy playlist over yonder. There’s still plenty more to come, including the sets from Dan Tetsell, Waen Shepherd (as Gary Le Strange), Rachel Stubbings, Richard Sandling and James Cook, so stay peeled!

The Velvet Onion Live: One Year On…

31 May

Today marks the one year anniversary of The Velvet Onion Live!

In character, Matt Berry once memorably said: “Time is a menstruous woman. One cannot control her eddying currents.”  Rarely has a truer remark been uttered in jest.  It’s hard to believe a whole twelve months have passed since our inaugural live event at The Vandella, Shepherd’s Bush, made in collaboration with James Wren and Bob Pipe.  And yet, there it is – a big fat first anniversary.

To celebrate this occasion, as we slowly but surely gear ourselves up to arrange further live events before the second anniversary is upon us and we increasingly look like one-hit-wonders, we will be bringing you weekly installments of footage from the jam-packed event.  It’s fairly lo-fi due to a few technical hiccups on the night, but we recorded the whole event for posterity and now, at last, we can share it with you all.

For those not in the know, the event gathered together a number of our regular names for a night of fun and games.  We had live comedy sets from duos Steven Oram and Tom MeetenRichard Glover and Stephen EvansDolly Wells and Laura PatchGareth Tunley and Alex Kirk.  We had solo sets from Dan TetsellRichard Sandling and Rachel Stubbings, whilst David McNeill nabbed Evans & Glover back for a spot of twisty-nonsense.

And that wasn’t all. Alice Lowe and Antony Elvin gave us a set from Hot Brew, whilst Elvin also regaled us with jaunty ditties alongside Will Summers.  There was a rare chance to see DeadDogInBlackBag perform, and we heralded the return of Waen Shepherd as Gary Le Strange.  The night was rounded off with a sumptuous set from James Cook, and we had Mike Fielding DJ-ing whenever performers took a well earned rest.

The night began, proper, however, with an important health and safety announcement from our honorary member, Bollo:

We’ll be bringing you more footage, all being well, on a weekly basis, so come back next Friday for your next installment!

Outdoor Darts

21 May

The wonderful Dave McNeill has created another video from the genius mind of Marek Larwood.

Larwood, best known as one third of sketch troope We Are Klang, has invented a brand new game, Outdoor Darts – and has set two seasoned pros onto the task of launching it.

Tubby ham guzzler Martin Van Meat, who looks suspiciously like Marek with a cushion up his jumper, squares up to immortal internet lover The Magician, who looks rather like our man Dave, with some interesting results, which you can see below.

For more silliness from Marek and his cohorts, including McNeill, check out his youtube page over yonder.

Forged Hope

10 May

The latest installment in the gloriously silly web series The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains has emerged online.

This week’s episode from the minds of Bob PipeJames Wren and Phil Whelans features the return of the latter and Richard Glover, with more brain sucking victims including a Blackpool cabaret singer, played by Waen Shepherd and Wren’s chain smoking live wire surgeon.  Meanwhile, Mason Philips minister is not so lucky…

If you’re enjoying …Brains, don’t forget that the team behind it are staging two cult comedy nights in the coming weeks.

Bob Pipe is bringing back his wonderful on-off club night The Forgery Club on Friday, May 17th at The Udderbelly, Southbank.  The 80s special will see the return of swash-buckling time travelers Umbrage Swain & Burton Latimer (played by Wren & Glover), on a mission to solve the Mystery of the Missing Giant Purple Upside Down Cow.

They’ll be accompanied by the mighty Gary Le Strange, along with Dave McNeill, Modern Dreams, Terry Alderton and some surprises, so grab your tickets whilst you can over yonder!

James Wren is also reviving his own popular club-night, Spank in June and July at the same venue, with the show on June 7th featuring Isy Suttie, Vicki Stone, David Armand, Rhys Mathewson and No Son Of Mine – aka Rufus Jones and Alex Kirk.  The following show on July 5th features Tony LawHot Brew, Phil Nichol and Anil Desai, and more info and ticket links can be found over there.

Forgery Keeps It Real At Udderbelly

13 Apr

The always-awesome comedy of The Forgery Club is on offer at this year’s Udderbelly Festival at Southbank in London.

© The Forgery Club

Bob Pipe‘s infamous comedy night will be appearing in the iconic inflatable cow under the moniker of ‘Back to the 80s’. As the evening’s publicity explains: “Get your frills on, Big your hair, plaster on the make-up and get down to the cow for a night of comedy madness! The Forgery Club takes you back to the 1980s for a comedy party adventure romp that will leave you dancing with tears of laughter in your eyes.”

What this actually means isa comedy musical play with video interjections. It stars James Wren as Umbrage Swain and Richard Glover as Burton Latimer, two time traveling swash bucklers as they try to solve the Mystery of the Giant Purple Upside Down Cow (of course). Waen Shepherd will be appearing as Gary Le Strange, Dave McNeil will be performing 80s tinged material, and spoof 80s electro duo Modern Dreams will banging out the tunes. There will also be a few more surprise which we can’t reveal just yet!

The show takes place at 22:45 on 17th May, and tickets are £15.50 – available here. Well worth a visit on the basis of the paragraph above alone!

Catch Up With Onion Land

4 Apr

© BBC

The last remnants of your Easter Eggs are starting to look like wicked reminders of pure liquid gluttony.  Spring is officially here, though some parts of the country seem to have swapped sunshine for snow.  As you stop to take a breath, you realise this seemingly barren period in Onion Land is actually filled with glorious programming you might have missed!

There’s a number of TVO regulars cropping up in various shows at the moment, and as some of them won’t be on catch-up for very long, we thought it was as good a time as any to give you a brief round-up.

For starters, Colin Hoult and Steve Oram appeared in the Easter Special of Life’s Too Short - the mockumentary series about Multiverse head-honcho Warwick Davis.  Oram’s also been regularly appearing in Heading Out with Sue Perkins, and all six episodes can be caught on catch-up at present.

Then there’s our full blooded TVO shows to savour – with It’s Kevin halfway though it’s initial run, and all episodes available on iPlayer, you can savour Kevin EldonJulia DavisJustin EdwardsMatt Berry, Alex Kirk and many more joining The Actor, Kevin Eldon for some full blooded titting about.  The show continues on Sunday evening.

© Dave King / Roughcut Television

Over on 4oD is every episode of Anna & Katy - the silly channel-hopping style sketch show from Anna Crilly and Katy Wix, which also features appearances from Fergus Craig, Colin Hoult and David McNeill.  The show wraps up next Wednesday.

There’s also the brand new series of Game Of Thrones featuring Paul Kaye airing on Sunday evenings, which is available on catch-up exclusively to Sky customers, alongside Dan Clark and Katherine Parkinson in Love Matters.

If radio is more your thing, don’t forget that Matt Berry returned for Series 2 of I, Regress last night on Radio 4, who are also in the middle of a rerun of Knowing Me Knowing You… With Alan Partridge.

And if repeats are all you crave, you’ll be pleased to know that Mongrels will be heading to freeview channel Dave from April 12th. All this, plus the release of Sightseers on dvd and blu-ray, and a wealth of archive materials available from our TVO Amazon Stores now!  Get stuck in!

Short & Sweet

9 Feb

There’s been a lot of creativity over the last week in TVO land.

Marek Larwood and David McNeil take us into the world of Leatherdick – The World’s 8th Best Detective. In the first episode nothing happens but it includes extracts from non-existent past and future episodes.

Meanwhile Katy Wix, Anna Crilly and Will Andrews made their own video for the Cher song Gypsy’s, Tramps and Thieves. The simple video must have taken a lot of work and only lasts 1 minute and 12 seconds so it’s worth a quick look. You can do that by clicking here.

Chanda In Manhattan & McNeill Goes To Dinner!

29 Jan

© Film Fandango

Arnab Chanda is the guest on this week’s Film Fandango podcast.

The regular comedy show which discusses new releases and classic films features Danielle Ward, David Reed & Marek Larwood – all magnificently funny people in their own right.  Their promise each week is not to provide a review show, but instead a meandering movie chat.

This week, David & Marek have been to see Django Unchained and, as their guest, Arnab has brought in Manhattan.  You can download the results for free at the official Film Fandango website over yonder.

Whilst we’re talking about Marek Larwood, you may have seen his recent viral video entitled How To Have A Perfect Dinner Party. If you haven’t, now’s the perfect time to mention it, as his silent guest is none other than the brilliant David McNeill!  You can check it out below.

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

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 submit@thevelvetonion.com?

Edinburgh 2012: The Onion Round Up

RACHEL STUBBINGS IS STUBBING OUT PROBLEMS

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)

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS

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?”

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS

DAVE McNEILL: CANOE RIDE 3000

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)

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS

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.”

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS

SARAH KENDALL: GET UP, STAND UP

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)

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS

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.

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS

PAUL FOOT: KENNY LARCH IS DEAD

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)

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS

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.

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS

THE INTERVENTION

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

TIME: 19:05

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

PRICE: £15.00 (£12.00 cons)

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS

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.

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS

MONKEY TOAST

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)

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS

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.

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS

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

Cavendish Canoe

11 Jul

© Dave McNeill

In the build up to Edinburgh, there’s another chance to see Dave McNeill‘s new show Canoe Ride 3000 this weekend.

The debut solo show from the former Zimbani star, who recently wowed the crowds at TVO Live, has been testing the waters in recent weeks with numerous previews happening thick and fast.  If you’ve missed them so far, there’s still time to see the show before McNeill takes it to the Edinburgh Festival this August.

On Sunday July 15th, McNeill joins We Are Klang star Marek Larwood for a double bill at The Cavendish Arms in Stockwell.

Entry is only £5, so there’s no excuse if you’re in the area and find funny men funny.  For more info, pop over to the night’s Facebook event page yonder.

The Velvet Onion: The Extreme Racists…

29 Jun

Today marks the one month anniversary of our evening of music, comedy and downright madness at TVO Live! So what better way to celebrate the night than to give all of you a taste of what went down in our first trailer!

Take a look below at the first snippets of footage from our film of the whole shebang, and we’d like to extend a huge thank you to everyone that made it to the event; the superb comics and musicians that took to the Vandella’s stage, of course to James Wren and Bob Pipe for being amazing support, to Michael Henry Bull, Michael Glynn and Jon Burgess our fantastic camera team, and also extra thanks to Waen Shepherd for letting us use his brilliant track for our trailer.

To read more about TVO Live you can take a look at our previous recap of the evening complete with photos from the night!

Occasional Sketches

3 Jun

© facebook

Marek, Fergus, Dave and Sophie’s Occasional Sketch Night is happening tomorrow (Monday 4th June) at 7.30pm at The Wilmington Arms in London.

Acts appearing include Marek Larwood, Fergus Craig, Dave McNeill, Arnab Chanda, Sophie Black and ex Aston Villa striker Julian Joachim. They will be trying out material for their Edinburgh shows.

Tickets are a bargain £5, for more information go to the Facebook event page.

TVO Live! The Aftermath of a Vandella Velveting…

2 Jun

You knew it was coming – but Thursday May 31st saw The Velvet Onion put on our very first live night, at the incredible new Shepherd’s Bush venue, The Vandella.

With a smattering of stars in the audience, and a VIP lounge so filled with comedy legends several people’s heads may have exploded, it was always going to be a special night – and the challenge for us was cramming so many fabulous names onto one bill.

Now, we’re a little biased, but we have to admit, it went rather well indeed – and judging by the post-show reaction everyone such a great time by the time Team TVO left the building we’d discussed coming back to do another, several times over!

The night was such an intimate affair that we knew deep down the vast majority of our Peelers would never be able to be there – but rest assured, we recorded the entire show in glorious high definition, multi camera action, and we’ll be cutting it together over the summer for a potential Autumn release – all online, all free, and for a limited period only – so stay peeled to be kept in the loop on that one.

In the meantime, we’ll be bringing you teaser footage as soon as we can, and we have a huge array of photographs of the evening for you to savour too.  The first batch are all included below, so enjoy them safe in the knowledge that, all being well, their teasing nature will be fulfilled later this year.

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We’d like to extend our huge thanks to everyone involved with putting on the night – especially to the sheer wonderment of Bob Pipe for his technical expertise and the living legend that is James Wren for all of his support throughout this whole process.  We’d also like to thank Sian Salsbury and everyone at The Vandella who have been the most accommodating team we could have ever hoped to have worked with – and our very hard working camera crew: Michael BullJon BurgessMichael Glynn!  Not to mention everyone who helped out on the day as friends of us all.

And of course, we really must thank our glorious guests, who all worked hard, played hard, and made us love them even more than we did before.  In order of appearance, our deepest, and more sincere thanks to: Mike FieldingDave BrownAntony ElvinWill SummersGareth TunleyAlex KirkDolly WellsLaura PatchRichard GloverStephen EvansHolly Jane ShearsSuzy Evelyn-HallAlice LoweSteve OramTom MeetenDavid McNeillDan TetsellWaen ShepherdRachel StubbingsRichard Sandling and James Cook.

We’d also like to extend our thanks to those who couldn’t make it in the end, but we know wanted to be there – in particular Joey Page for trying to the very last moment to get there, and both James Bachman and Lucy Montgomery whose enormous workloads stood in their way.  Extra special thanks must also go to the legendary Rich Fulcher, who was drawn away for a charity event but still found the time to record incredible last minute voice overs to introduce each artist.

Finally, we’d like to thank everyone who came along to support us and the artists on the bill.  You are the reason we’re able to keep doing what we’re doing to help the people you admire, and we’ll go on for as long as you’ll all have us.  Until the next time… keep peeling!

Canoe Ride 3000

13 May

© Dave McNeill

David McNeill will be taking his first solo show to Edinburgh Fringe this year!

As the build up to Edinburgh looms ever-near, we’re treated to low-key previews from every which way way in the upcoming months.

You’ll be able to see McNeill’s show with the abstract name, Canoe Ride 3000, at the Pleasance theatre in Islington on Monday 21st May!

If Zimbani was right up your street then we can’t think of a better reason to see one half of the duo take to the stage at the biggest comedy event of the year!

To Grab your tickets for the first of his previews and for more information, you can find all right here.

Remember, you can also catch David at our own TVO Night on May 31st!
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