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Soho Later…

10 Oct

© Sarah Kendall

The Velvet Onion has learnt of a new regular comedy night featuring Sarah Kendall.

The star of Beehive, last seen in TVO land in the Jackal Film “My Old Baby” alongside Alice Lowe and Rich Fulcher, is hosting Soho Later at the prestigious Soho Theatre every Saturday night at 11:30pm till late.

The first edition last weekend featured Flight Of The Conchords star Eugene Mirman amongst its guests, and this weekend sees a truly worthwhile line-up that is not to be missed.  Alongside Kendall will be Penelope Princess Of Pets star Kurt Braunohler, cult legend Richard Herring and the ever hilarious Rich Hall.

Tickets are on sale now, priced between £12.50 and £15, but a quick visit to the Soho Theatre website will provide you with a unique promo code offering you tickets for just £7.50.

The site will be updated on a regular basis with each week’s guests, and TVO will endeavour to keep you posted if any of our regulars turn up to support Kendall.

The shows run until December 17th.

More TV Comedy On The Horizon?

30 Sep

Will we see more of our favourites soon?

The British Comedy Guide has reported back from the Broadcast Comedy Forum 2010 with news that all of the major broadcasters are looking to develop new ideas for television after a long period of comedic drought on our tv screens which has seen many an artist we cover on these pages turn to the internet as a means of self-commission.

You can read the full report on the British Comedy Guide website – but a few notable points may have a bearing on what we here at The Velvet Onion may be reporting to you over the next few years.  First off, is the BBC’s renewed interest in making something different, with their executive Simon Wilson stating quite clearly BBC3 wanted to make ‘more unusual and different’ comedies after the success of adult puppet show Mongrels (featuring Tony Paul Way), and referenced CGI-laden sketch show The Wrong Door (which featured Matt Berry) as an example of where they may be headed.

After several years of poor scheduling choices and no real support given to the likes of Snuffbox, Lifespam, meeBox and many more shows we could mention – perhaps we’ll be seeing a lot more of our favourite faces on the BBC once again soon?  After all, recent repeats of The Mighty Boosh at a more convenient time of 9pm (instead of the previous 10:30pm) caused it to reach the top Trending Topics on social networking site Twitter – proof if any was needed that the way forward may actually be the way back.

Channel 4 has also commissioned another two series of its Comedy Lab pilots in 2011 and 2012, and several of our key artists have previously been involved in such productions, most recently in the case of Julian Barratt appearing in Penelope: Princess Of Pets earlier this year.  On a similar note, freeview channel Dave is pleased with the success of its original productions and, as well as almost certainly making more Red Dwarf, they will also be looking towards broadcasting more short pilots in the hope of finding a new hit.  We at The Velvet Onion can only hope they decide to make more episodes of the mighty Zimbani!

This year has seen a number of pilots made involving members of the Booshniverse, and some of them have yet to find an audience – Oram & Meeten’s The Last Summer On Earth for example, or David Bussell’s Missing Scene for example.  With even Sky One reporting an interest in developing fresh comedic output, one can only hope we get to see something worth our while again very, very soon…

Penelope Party Review

2 Jul

A few weeks ago we spread the word that a free party was being held in New York to premier (and celebrate!) Kristen Schaal’s Penelope Princess of Pets, which also stars Julian Barratt.  The party took place last night, and one of our New York peelers, the very marvellous SashaM, was there to witness proceedings.  Here’s what she had to say:

© SashaM

“You guys are our best friends!” Announces Kristen Schaal to the audience, not long after she and partner Kurt Braunohler take the stage. It’s 9pm and the room is packed. All of the seats are filled and another 20 or so people are sitting on the floor. Kurt and Kristen start the night with a short routine that involves pretending to be lawyers and Kristen miming the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby. Then came a special appearance by Ruby, Penelope’s substance-addicted bird. The audience loves it.   New York-based comedian Eugene Mirman was also there and did a short set that consisted of explaining how he was infiltrating the Tea Party and all of the ways he was screwing with them.

The Penelope Princess of Pets pilot utilized a number of instances from the web series. But because the premise of the pilot is a little different from the web series, while these situations are recognizable they don’t feel stale. One example would be when Penelope and Kyle are backed into an alley by an angry mob (or police officers, in the pilot) and Penelope summons the birds in the area to save them. Also, the pilot takes place in England, whereas the web series doesn’t.  As I’m sure all of you Onion readers know, Julian Barratt is in the pilot as evil MP Stone as is Simon Farnaby, who plays a strange man on a bus who tells Kyle a story about wearing a shark and subsequently being eaten by, and living in, a whale (you had to be there).

After the show, I got to talk with Kristen for a few minutes. I asked her if there was any chance of the pilot (which was filmed at least a year ago) being picked up by any TV stations. Apparently, many stations passed on the show because of its (wonderful) quirkiness, but there is still a chance MTV might pick it up. I also asked her how Julian Barratt came to be on the show. Apparently The Boosh TV show and Penelope share a producer which is how it came about, and Kristen and I both agreed how perfect he was for the part.”

Thanks to SashaM for the review – it sounds like a good night!

If you want to see more of SashaM’s photos from the event, or if you fancy reviewing a Booshniverse happening for us yourself,  why not visit our forum?  Just click on this fetching green button here for easy access….

Penelope Party in NY

18 Jun

© Avalon

Another week and another treat for our peelers based in New York! 

The very brilliant pilot episode of Penelope Princess of Pets, the brainchild of Flight of the Conchord’s Kristen Schaal, will be premiering at a comedy event at Littlefield in Brooklyn on Thursday, July 1st.  The event promises a screening of the show accompanied by comedy from Eugene Mirman and others, followed by a party.   And what’s more it’s FREEEE!

So what are you waiting for?  There’s more information available on this facebook page.

Penelope And The Barratt Cat!

14 May


© Avalon

Flight Of The Conchords star Kristen Schaal has revealed more details on the possible future of Penelope Princess Of Pets – her tv project for UK broadcaster Channel 4 which features Julian Barratt.

The pilot was broadcast last month as part of Channel 4’s experimental Comedy Lab series, and saw the titular character (Schaal) pitting her wits against Barratt’s wicked MP Thomas Stone. Simon Farnaby and Barunka O’Shaughnessy also appeared, and a cameo from Alice Lowe was mooted but vetoed due to scheduling conflicts.

Produced by Spencer Millman, we here at The Velvet Onion would love further episodes to be made – and whilst speaking to Vanity Fair, Schaal has suggested if the series goes ahead, she and cowriter/star Kurt Braunohler have a loose story arc in place in which Thomas Stone would have a very dark secret indeed!

At present, there are no concrete plans for more episodes, but rest assured if this situation changes we here at TVO will be straight on the case to let our faithful peelers know all the juicy details.

In the meantime, check our Kristen’s interview with US style magazine Vanity Fair online here.

If you missed the pilot’s transmission, you can still see it via 4oD and YouTube until May 21st.  Unfortunately, these links are for UK viewers only – we currently have no news on a broadcast outside Great Britain.  Still, if you like what you see, tell Channel 4 you’d like some more via their contact page.

Editors note: Belated thanks to ‘Kimmunism‘ for this news!

A Future For Penelope?

21 Apr

© Avalon

The pilot episode of Penelope Princess Of Pets has aired on Channel 4 this evening, and is naturally now available via 4od to UK viewers.

The show was the brainchild of Flight Of The Conchords star Kristen Schaal, alongside collaborator Kurt Braunohler – and was produced by Mighty Boosh producer Spencer Millman.  Not only did it feature Julian Barratt as wicked MP Thomas Stone, but the ever wonderful Barunka O’Shaughnessy (Beehive, Bo! In The USA, The Mighty Boosh) and the sublime Simon Farnaby featured in surprise cameos!

To view the show again, visit the 40D website now.  A YouTube version will be available soon, and we’ll provide a link as soon as possible.  If we hear anything about an international broadcast, or even a link to a version our readers outside the UK can legally view, we’ll let you know!

We here at The Velvet Onion utterly adored the show.  It was quirky, lo-fi and utterly charming, and had some wonderful one-liners – my personal favourite being: “Something to remember me by, when you’re dead!” .  And if the feedback to the pilot on Twitter is anything to go by, the demand for more episodes is very strong indeed.

Yet despite all this talent on offer, at the moment, there are no plans for Penelope to return – unless Channel 4 are convinced to commission a series.  And with Thomas Stone escaping to be evil for another day at the climax of the episode, we really need to see Penelope take him down.  Plus, a mooted Alice Lowe cameo in the pilot wasn’t possible due to schedule clashes, which just makes us long for further episodes all the more!

This is where you, dear readers, can get involved. The campaign for Penelope’s return starts here!

Simply visit the Channel 4 website and tell them how much you loved the show and would like to see more.  Click here to be taken straight to the place where the pleas must go.

Don’t Forget Penelope!

21 Apr

Penelope Princess of Pets is on tonight on channel 4 at 11pm. Julian Barratt stars in this new one-off comedy special from the mind of ‘Flight Of The Conchords’ star Kristen Schaal. For a sneak preview watch the short trailer below.


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