I asked my mum to be in my YouTube videos. Now she’s a Bollywood star

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 light

Continue reading…

Continue Reading

50 shows to see at the Edinburgh fringe 2018

Superstar standups, daring dance, Brexit cabaret and a Bon Jovi musical … Dive into our guide to some of the shows at the world’s biggest arts festival

Gilded Balloon

Continue reading…

Continue Reading

Standups on Maxine Peake’s Funny Cow: ‘It made me proud of everything I’ve been through’

Rhona Cameron, Rachel Fairburn and Shappi Khorsandi give their verdict on the film in which Peake plays an aspiring comic in a man’s world

Related: Funny Cow review – Maxine Peake blazes in the dark days of standup

Continue reading…

Continue Reading

Get your hands off my double entendres! Is the smutty pun now under attack?

It is Britain’s favourite type of humour, the go-to gag for everyone from Carry On stars to Bake Off hosts. But are fnarr fnarr jokes just another example of male sexual entitlement?

If you want a double entendre, I’ll give you one. They pop up all over the place: on risque chat shows hosted by Graham Norton and Alan Carr, on the Radio 1 mainstay Innuendo Bingo and on Mrs Brown’s Boys, the hit BBC sitcom saturated in smut that attracts seven million viewers.

You can’t watch an episode of The Great British Bake Off without having soggy bottoms, moist ladyfingers and manhandled dough balls shoved down your throat. Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins may have gone, taking with them such exclamations as “Time to reveal your cracks!”, but Noel Fielding has cheerfully filled their hole. “If there’s an opportunity for exposed bottoms, we should embrace it,” he said during his debut season. With 11 million viewers, he certainly enjoyed a big opening.

On a horse-riding holiday in Morocco, Mr Gimlet ‘paid £10 for the privilege of being tossed off by a frisky young Arab’

Continue reading…

Continue Reading

Amy Schumer: ‘I’m not invincible. I need to slow down’

Outrageously rude and shockingly funny, Amy Schumer has always made her audiences gasp. She talks to Sophie Heawood about falling in love, one-night stands and going nuts on stage

When I meet Amy Schumer, she has been married for exactly one month and is working on a joke about her husband’s penis. Something along the lines of, my husband is uncircumcised – for now. She had jotted it down on the Notes app on her iPhone, where she keeps a lot of ideas, but it duplicated the note five times “so now it looks like I really have plans to mutilate him,” she says.

She then admits that she actually first used that line about another man she used to date, “but you have to update it so it’s about the person you’re with now. And really, my husband is good, he can keep everything he has. At this point in my life, I’m cool with foreskin or not – God bless everyone and their penii,” she says, breezily, as if she might have exhausted herself by creating a persona who is supposed to care so much.

I think we should see more – I’m not letting them retouch me in the film

What the kids are just realising is that the adults are not actually in control

Continue reading…

Continue Reading

The best films about standup: from King of Comedy to Funny Bones

As Maxine Peake takes the mic to play a club comic in Funny Cow, here are five movies that capture the lacerating, soul-baring world of live comedy

There’s something so intimate, exposing and ruthless about their artform that standups make perfect symbols for the battle we all wage to assert ourselves against an unappreciative world. So most movies about standup focus on failures rather than successes – none more so than King of Comedy, Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro’s less celebrated follow-up to Taxi Driver and Raging Bull.

Continue reading…

Continue Reading

‘I’m still in the game’: Sandra Bernhard on stage fright, The King of Comedy and not running for president

The comic, singer and actor, performing in the UK for the first time in seven years, answered your questions

2.16pm GMT

Thanks for all the questions – I’ll be at Ronnie Scott’s at the end of the week!

2.14pm GMT

unprinted asks:

What does the song You Make Me Feel Mighty Real mean to you? Why chose to cover it?

Mighty Real was sort of an anthem for the pre-AIDS gay experience – a time of unbridled celebration and sexual freedom.

2.11pm GMT

toooom asks:

Another admirer of King of Comedy here. What are you most proud of?

What I’m most proud of is that I’m still in the game. I still love performing and being creative. I love what I do!

2.10pm GMT

sachat asks:

Have you ever had stage fright? Which of your projects has been the most nerve-racking?

Of course! Any time you walk on stage you’re nervous, that’s part of what motivates you to do a great show. But any time that I do television or films that’s the most nerve-racking because other people are dependent on your professionalism.

2.09pm GMT

25aubrey asks:

Who in your eyes, are the real king and queen of comedy, past or present?

When I was growing up, I adored Totie Fields and, of course, my dear friend Paul Mooney.

2.07pm GMT

Genevieve Scoville asks:

I’m a keen listener to your radio show on SiriusXM. Is there someone who sticks out as your favourite interviewee?

Most recently, Mena Suvari was a lovely surprise but on a regular basis, comedian Judy Gold is a fabulous interview. She’s on my show frequently. She’s a terrific conversationalist.

2.06pm GMT

Myam0t0 asks:

Beans on a fry-up?

I adore beans. On anything and everything!

2.02pm GMT

SeanWylas asks:

Today’s political and cultural climate in the US and the UK is shifting in a way that was not expected by many. As a result, it seems that a comment that once would have been seen as thought-provoking (even if you disagreed with it) can now send social media lynch mobs at people and potentially ruin careers (if not lives). This is seen on the left and on the right. As someone who speaks her opinion, how do you feel about this culture? How do you respond to such things?

I have definitely started to edit a lot of things that I would not have thought twice about saying 10 or 15 years ago. It simply isn’t worth it to be exposed to the unsophisticated thinking of so many people. I’ve learned how to recalibrate my approach to social commentary.

1.59pm GMT

Murdomania asks:

You recently said: “I try not to get caught up and swallowed up by the changing tides because they’re gonna keep changing” … however, now that Oprah indicated a lack of desire to be nominated to run to be the next President of the United States, would you be enticed to throw your hat in the ring? Sandra Bernhard POTUS46 has a nice ring to it.

I wish I had it in me but I’m afraid I’m not your lady for this one!

1.56pm GMT

Arthur666 asks:

I’ve always enjoyed your multilayered approach to comedy, and it always seems to have a message. Do you think this is lacking in the current comedy world?

I think the issue is there’s too much product out there. And there’s only a certain amount of things people can talk about. So sometimes it becomes redundant. It’s getting harder to hone your craft because of YouTube and the internet. You really need to get out to the clubs to hone your craft. A lot of people these days don’t have the patience.

1.49pm GMT

Buckaroo asks:

There’s an amazing film of yours from the mid 90s – an Australian film called Dallas Doll (featuring the screen debut of Rose McGowan), a sort of reverse Crocodile Dundee. It had a huge cult following, but is unavailable to buy. There’s a host of classic lines in the film, two of which are particular favourites in our family: “I’d like to see THAT angry!” and “Don’t forget the garlic bread, gorgeous.” For old times’ sake, please would you say those lines again now?

Actually it’s Rose Byrne. Working on this film was one of the strangest experiences of my life. It was like being trapped in a ‘no exit’ situation.

1.44pm GMT

DarkAnaemicI asks:

What’s your favourite memory of filming Hudson Hawk?

All my time spent with Richard E Grant! In particular a trip we took together to Vienna. We always had a great time.

1.43pm GMT

Buckaroo asks:

You performed a brilliant version of the Rolling Stone’s Angie on a Channel 4 show years ago called Viva Cabaret. Is it available now?

The answer is no! It’s one of my favourite songs of all time. It reminds me of my first trip to London in 1973 when the song was released. I was 17 and travelling around the world and having an incredible time.

1.42pm GMT

JimdiGriz6 asks:

[I’m] yet another massive fan of your work in King of Comedy. Did your craziness in that film come from real life, or was it a stronger version of [it]? … I’ve known a few women a little like you at times in that film!

At that time i was much closer to the character in the sense that i was just starting out in my career. I was very young, had a lot of extra energy, emotion to spare. Masha was more in tune with who I was then rather than now for sure…

1.36pm GMT

HdAlex asks:

What things are most important to you in your job?

Promptness, professionalism and no obscene language.

1.34pm GMT

OzMogwai asks:

Are you as funny in real life as you are on film, tv and stage? PS, you fucking own Raging Bull.

It depends on the setting! Of course I can be much funnier offstage rather than when I’m performing but those are private moments with friends who get the absurdity I seem to capture as I go through life!

1.25pm GMT

aemenzies17 asks:

Any advice, ideas or recommendations about how to survive Trumpageddon? I live in the US, and each day is more painful than the last. Please help!! PS, thank you for all the years of comedy therapy!

My best advice is to take big breaks from listening to the talking heads and endless updates on his latest faux pas and do something creative and rewarding so you can continue to have some normalcy in your life. As in all stressful times, this will pass!

1.25pm GMT

Arthur666 asks:

I see you musically as a rock’n’roll vixen. What can we expect from your set at the jazz church that is Ronnie Scott’s?

It’ll be a blend of personal stories, fabulous misc of course with my Sandyland Squad band on hand and a journey in and out of day-to-day quotidian life as I see it!

1.24pm GMT

Hello – It’s great to be back in London where, although the language is generally the same, the culture is much different. And that’s always inspiring!

3.00pm GMT

Sandra Bernhard webchat – post your questions now

To call Sandra Bernhard a triple threat would be selling her short. Since she started out in LA’s comedy scene and on The Richard Pryor Show, she’s been a provocative force in standup, and her cabaret-style shows prove she can deliver a song as well as a punchline.

Continue reading…

Continue Reading

Sarah Silverman: ‘Jokes I made 15 years ago I’d not make today’

Sarah Silverman’s comedy has always aimed a laser into the dark corners of sexism, racism and religion. But now she’s using her wit to make sense of the huge issues facing America. Sophie Heawood meets her in Hollywood

Arriving at the Hollywood studio complex where Sarah Silverman has her office, I am surprised to find nobody can tell me where it is. She’s one of the biggest comedians in America, but it takes 15 minutes of shrugged shoulders and wrong turns before I find a door with a handwritten sign: “If you feel unwell turn around and go home and rest! Do not walk thru this door! You are loved, feel better! Sarah!” So far, so adorable.

Germs and visitors might struggle to make their way past reception, but dogs are clearly welcomed like sacred Indian cows here: two of them trot past me unaccompanied. The animals have just left a script meeting in the writers’ room, soon to be followed by a gaggle of comedy writers, including Silverman herself, who is wearing glasses and stopping to stare at her phone. Once installed on the sofa in her own room, with an assistant bringing her black tea, she admits she didn’t realise this interview was in person, hence the phone. “But you’re here!” she says, getting her legs comfy on the furniture. “Great!” Her impromptu welcome is so friendly and her smile so full of shiny teeth, that it only occurs to me afterwards that she might be lying through them – surely nobody wants to be surprised by a journalist.

I live in a little apartment and the washer dryer for the whole floor is in the hallway

I saw my boss was fully jerking off in front of me. And I just said… ‘I have to clean the popcorn machine’

Putting people into power who are addicted to money is like giving cokeheads mountains of cocaine

Continue reading…

Continue Reading

Are you gruesome tonight? The comedy hit splicing Evil Dead 2 and Elvis songs

In Sam Raimi’s horror classic, a man is tormented by demons and his own severed hand. All the story needed was a few tunes by the king of rock’n’roll, says Rob Kemp

By day, he was a mild-mannered examinations officer at a school near Wolverhampton. By night, he was a chainsaw-wielding maniac with a soft spot for Elvis numbers. No, that’s not a pitch for a B-movie, but the life of standup comic Rob Kemp. The 39-year-old will spend much of the next month commuting between the West Midlands and Soho theatre in London, shedding the briefcase and tie en route to re-enter the underworld of The Elvis Dead, his rock’n’roll-meets-horror one-man comedy show that became the cult hit of this summer’s Edinburgh fringe.

Hitherto, Kemp had been a specialist in “whimsical” (so he’s told) standup and was “bumping along largely unnoticed”. His only previous show, little seen, was a Dave Gorman-esque comedy lecture about hubris. The Elvis Dead (it’s a retelling of Evil Dead 2 set to the music of Elvis Presley) was dreamed up in conversation with a friend, based on Kemp’s supposed resemblance to horror icon Bruce Campbell. “There was nothing cynical about it,” he says, in case you’re thinking that the Elvis/Evil Dead mashup was a ruthlessly commercial cash-in. “I just wanted to write something that I knew my mates would enjoy.”

Related: Rob Kemp: The Elvis Dead review – a gory cult classic in the making

Continue reading…

Continue Reading

Louis CK: laughter ends as years of allegations dog comedy superstar

The fallout from CK’s sexual misconduct accusations has begun, with HBO dropping his shows and colleagues condemning a man once hailed as a genius

When Louis CK first attempted standup comedy, at a 1985 open mic night in Boston, it was a disaster. He had a five-minute slot but only two minutes of material.

“It was horrible,” he told NPR 30 years later. “My whole throat constricted and … I heard this roaring in my ears. My eyes were watering. My heart was pounding, and I couldn’t control myself. And I just felt like a pile of garbage. And then I kept doing it.”

Related: Louis CK accused by five women of sexual misconduct in new report

Continue reading…

Continue Reading