The actor and comedian on birdwatching, taking naps and gaming with his sonI try to go to bed around midnight because I like to get up early, at 7am. It’s difficult to wind down when you come off stage because of the adrenaline. It keeps me awake longe…Continue Reading
The comedian is doing a show about her father in Edinburgh. She talks about the sexist LA standup scene, her reconciliation with her dad – and doing jokes about his ex-wives
With just a hint of a smile, Camilla Cleese admits that the name of her Edinburgh fringe show is “the ultimate, shameless nepotism”. It’s called Produced by John Cleese, even though it isn’t produced by him at all. But she is. “I don’t think he would put money into something as un-lucrative as this,” says the daughter of the comedy legend, “unless it was a marriage”.
Camilla barely mentioned the connection in her first Edinburgh show, back in 2014, except for some jokes at the expense of her father’s many – and often expensive – marriages. But this time around, more confident and more experienced, she’s embracing her heritage. “I want to talk a little bit about being his daughter but, because I’m not doing a full hour, I don’t really have the time to delve into all the different aspects. So it will be a combination of that and some of my standup. For people who are familiar with him and his work, it’s clear where my influences come from. I can blame anything offensive on him.”
If I misbehaved, he’d act like a gorilla, going on all fours. I’d be so embarrassed, I’d immediately shut up
If you’re asked to go on the road with a male headliner, there can be an assumption something is going to happenContinue Reading
When the comedian Mawaan Rizwan put his mother Shahnaz into his videos, they were an instant hit. And then Bollywood came calling…
In 2012, the comedian Mawaan Rizwan was making videos for YouTube and gaining modest success. One day, he found himself in need of a stooge for his latest sketch, so he roped in his mum, Shahnaz.
The resulting video, My Mum Hates Me, in which the two of them banter back and forth about all the ways in which they annoy each other, took off in a way he’d never experienced. “That got 115,078 views,” he says. “So we did loads more sketches. In one of them, she dressed up as a goth, in another she was a midwife.”
She had always been very strict and focused on our schoolwork, but when she acted in my videos, I saw her in a new lightContinue Reading
A former alcoholic, a cancer survivor and a man who lost all his money in a Bitcoin crash are among the comics coming back from the brink at the Edinburgh fringe
‘I didn’t start drinking until I was 18,” says Matt Rees. “That’s quite a rarity for someone in the UK. But straight away, I recognised that I liked it – and I knew that one day I’d have to stop.”
Rees, who was born in Maesteg, south Wales, is making his debut at this year’s Edinburgh fringe with Happy Hour, a look back at his battle with alcohol. He started performing in 2010 and quickly scooped up some new act awards. Then, two years ago, his comedy career stalled as he experienced problems with addiction.
‘It’s normal to go on stage after a few pints, and it’s fine to be hungover the next day. Someone with a normal job would’ve been fired’Continue Reading
Just a month before their first child is due, the standup couple are doing a show together – seeking the audience’s parenting tips
“It’s mad,” says Josie Long, “but it feels like the right thing to do.” Braving the blustery weather at a pavement cafe near their east London home, Long and fellow comedian Jonny Donahoe are discussing their unlikely new project, which enjoys its first and only UK performance next week. For Josie Long and Jonny Donahoe Are Having a Baby (With You), the couple take to the stage to chat, joke and desperately seek advice on the imminent arrival of their first child. They’re taking one of the most intimate experiences a couple can have, and making it public when Long is eight months pregnant – heavy, exhausted and, she says, “physically vulnerable”. What are they thinking?
This isn’t the first time the couple have smudged the line between art and life. Long is a revered art-comic, activist and queen of indie standup; Donahoe is one half of bluesy lefty musical act Jonny and the Baptists. They met when she saw him perform the acclaimed solo theatre show Every Brilliant Thing. Impressed, she invited him to co-author a new project together – about a couple falling in love. “The plan was to have intimate conversations with each other,” says Long, “a very vulnerable writing process, and what came out of it would be very unusual.” But a few months in, both parties were deeply confused. “I remember saying to [the comic] Bridget Christie, ‘I think we might be in love with each other. But it might not be real, it might just be for the show’,” Long remembers. “And she was like: ‘Fuck the show! What do you want, a show or a baby?’ And I was like: I want a baby!”Continue Reading
The comedian Louise Reay is being sued for allegedly defaming her estranged husband on stage. So should standups keep their private lives to themselves?
I’m not a confessional standup. I don’t know what I am. On the whole, I haven’t mined my personal life or relationships for comedy. Yet. Who knows what direction my work will take in the future? There is still time. I am only 46.
Not that I don’t love confessional standup. I do. It’s given us some of the most groundbreaking, pioneering comedy we’ve had and it’s hard to imagine what standup would look like now if Richard Pryor had never existed. It’s just not something I’ve felt hugely comfortable doing. I’ve told the odd routine about my “husband”, “children” or “upbringing”, but they’ve generally been lighthearted, hugely exaggerated, or untrue, and even then it makes me feel uneasy and anxious.
We should be able to express opinions however we choose – through words, mime, origami or baking
When I stumbled across Naked Attraction and saw six vaginas on display, I knew I was out of step with the modern worldContinue Reading
Gary Meikle has forged a career in standup after finding inspiration from his life as a single dad. He also tried material about being a grandad, but audiences didn’t believe he was old enough to be one
When Gary Meikle was 17, he had sex in a cupboard at a party with a girl he barely knew. A child was conceived, and later born. In 99.9% of cases like this (I am making up the statistic, but you get the drift), a teenage dad would not play much part in raising his accidental child, and would probably have lost contact with her by the time she reached adulthood. But Meikle is the 0.1%: not only did he raise his daughter, mostly singlehanded, but also he still lives with her and is helping her to bring up her own daughter, 12-month-old Gracie.
Gary is now a youthful-looking 40, and it seems as remarkable that he is a grandfather as that he raised his child alone. In fact, he says, he doesn’t yet use much material from his life with Gracie for his act as a standup comedian, because when he tried it, the audience thought he was bluffing and couldn’t possibly be a grandad. But his performances draw heavily on his years as a single dad raising Ainsley, who is now 22.Continue Reading
The comedian, actor and musician on being part of a strong, close family, his parents’ high expectations, and discovering he could write good riffs
My granddad had a 1,500-acre hobby farm that he had built up from scratch in Western Australia, so my siblings and I spent our childhoods going there a lot. That place – and the beach – was a huge part of our lives. I would define myself as someone who had a completely idyllic childhood. Except, of course, that childhood’s complicated!
I was the middle of three children and then the second of four kids when my little sister came along, when I was 10. We all got along, and were expected to do so. We had periods of arguing, but it is a real privilege being part of a gang. I guess that is something I worry about with my kids – that there are only two of them [Minchin and his wife, Sarah, have two children, Violet, 11, and Caspar, eight]. We kids did a lot together, so we never found a reason to reject each other’s choices. I guess it is an affirmation of our relationships – why wouldn’t we want to be with each other?
Related: Tim Minchin: My life as a dad
With the piano, I had that insatiable need to prove myselfContinue Reading
Conan Synan was the guest comedian on Conan last night and he used his time to talk about family comedy.… MORE
As a physiotherapist, I know a third of women don’t have reliable body control. I wanted to raise awareness of this taboo subject at Edinburgh festival
I’m a physiotherapist, and as a fresh-faced graduate, my ambition was to work in elite sports. I did it, too, thriving on team spirit, travel and free trainers.
Then I had three babies in four years, each blessed with a bigger head than the one before. A dramatic sneeze during a zumba class showed me (and everyone there) that my pelvic floor had been reduced to rubble. In that excruciating instant, I realised that what really mattered was not being able to jump a tiny bit farther, or run a bit faster than others, but, being able to jump and run without wet pants.Continue Reading