Dave Gorman review – nitpicking fury of a PowerPoint maestro

Royal Festival Hall, LondonThe comic is on solid form as he deploys graphs, data and ruthless over-thinking to rage against life’s tiny detailsChurnalism, fraudulent daytime TV, the idiocies of social media – these are the targets of Dave Gorman’s peev…

Continue Reading

Dave Gorman review – nitpicking fury of a PowerPoint maestro

Royal Festival Hall, LondonThe comic is on solid form as he deploys graphs, data and ruthless over-thinking to rage against life’s tiny detailsChurnalism, fraudulent daytime TV, the idiocies of social media – these are the targets of Dave Gorman’s peev…

Continue Reading

Dave Gorman review – nitpicking fury of a PowerPoint maestro

Royal Festival Hall, LondonThe comic is on solid form as he deploys graphs, data and ruthless over-thinking to rage against life’s tiny detailsChurnalism, fraudulent daytime TV, the idiocies of social media – these are the targets of Dave Gorman’s peev…

Continue Reading

Dave Chappelle and Jon Stewart review – sharp satire at America’s expense

Royal Albert Hall, London
The world-renowned pair team up with comics Mo Amer and Michelle Wolf to tackle Trump, the opioid crisis and gun violence in a night which delivers big laughs

Plenty of comics critique Donald Trump. Few until now have been greeted with cries of “Run for president!”. Such is the stature of tonight’s American headliners, Dave Chappelle and – the president-not-quite-elect in question – Jon Stewart. I’m not sure this level of reverence is ideal for comedy. But – give or take a self-mythologising moment, most of them in the post-show Q&A – Chappelle and Stewart keep it at arm’s length, delivering strong sets about the state of their nation, with peppy support from compatriots Mo Amer and Michelle Wolf.

There certainly is a statesmanlike quality to Stewart’s 40 minutes, which prove he’s got standup chops while staying resolutely on left-liberal message. It’s textbook stuff, starting with jokes about how he looks (“Jews age like avocados”) then broaching one by one the racism, sexism and gun violence that exercise his Daily Show fanbase. Some jokes are old hat, such as the one about Leviticus, homophobia and shellfish, or the one about Obama’s un-American name. (Stewart argues persuasively that Obama’s, not Trump’s, was the anomalous presidency in US history.) Some are neatly done, like the switchback that makes a mockery of the safeguards around buying firearms.

Continue reading…

Continue Reading

Griefcast’s Cariad Lloyd: ‘Laughter? It’s about survival. It’s about living’

After her standup success and podcast about death, the comic’s next step was obvious: starring in a cancer-ward romcom

It wasn’t, I assume, the toughest decision in the history of casting. Who you gonna call, Finborough theatre, to star in your new play about a comedian and improviser grieving her dead sister and tending to her dying mum? A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center of New York City (yup, that’s the title) could have been written for Cariad Lloyd: comic, improviser and creator of Griefcast, the award-winning podcast about death. Talk about typecasting. Getting to grips with the role of Karla was hard, says Lloyd, “because I had to keep reminding myself, OK, this is where she’s not me.”

In fact, the play is a 2016 off-Broadway success, whose writer, Halley Feiffer, is now working on a new Jim Carrey sitcom. Its maiden UK production coaxed Lloyd back to theatre after years in comedy, improv and, latterly, parenting. “I’d wanted to do a play again for ages,” she tells me over tea on the afternoon of Funny Thing’s opening night. “But initially, because of the baby” – her daughter is 22 months old – “I wanted to say no. Then I read the script and I was like, ‘Oh, it’s really funny. It was annoying, but the part was just really funny.”

A Funny Thing Happened… is at the Finborough theatre, London, until 27 October.

Continue reading…

Continue Reading

John Cleese blasts the BBC in lecture on the rise of stupidity

The Fawlty Towers star rails against the government, the BBC and British newspapers in stage appearance for Hacked Off

It was hard to know what to expect of a solo show by John Cleese, organised by campaign group Hacked Off. On 29 June, the comedian tweeted that it would be a “speech” but, by 5 July, he was calling it a “new one-hour comedy show”.

Cleese has experimented with standup as crowd-funding before. The audience for The Alimony Tour helped to pay for his third divorce. The £30 ticket for this event (including entry in a draw for a dinner with Cleese) was bankrolling Hacked Off’s campaign to seek judicial review of the government’s decision to abandon the planned second phase of the Leveson inquiry into journalistic ethics, which would investigate the relationship between the press and police.

Continue reading…

Continue Reading

Marc Maron: ‘I’m familiar with coke, anger, bullying, selfishness’

The Glow star and hit podcaster talks drugs, divorces and his ‘horrible’ feud with Jon Stewart

The night before I meet Marc Maron, I go to his standup show in London. These days Maron is best known for his hugely popular podcast, WTF with Marc Maron, which he started in 2009, and on which he has interviewed everyone from Barack Obama to Keith Richards and Chris Rock. He conducts most of the interviews from his garage in LA, and they are almost always revealing and always entertaining. In 2010, Robin Williams talked about his depression and addictions, four years before he killed himself. Obama talked about the racism and African American stereotypes that shaped his sense of self. WTF now gets 7m downloads a month.

But in the 90s, when I first discovered him, Maron was not known for his empathetic dialogues; rather, he was seen as an aggressive monologuer. Back then, he was a struggling standup, with a style that was often described as angry and arrogant – or, as his friend Louis CK once put it, “a huge amount of insecurity and craziness”. He was known as a comedian’s comedian, which is a nice way of saying the industry liked him, but audiences didn’t.

Some of my behaviour was not great. It was emotionally abusive

The food stuff is my deepest issue, more than the drugs. I guess it’s about self-loathing and control

Continue reading…

Continue Reading

Is Facebook killing online comedy?

Job cuts at Funny or Die suggest making money from comedy videos is harder than ever – and some blame the social-media titan. But a new wave of creators are finding ways to thrive

Earlier this year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced major changes to the social network’s algorithm. “You’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands and media,” he wrote in, predictably, a Facebook status. “The public content you see … should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

Less than two weeks later, longstanding comedy video website Funny or Die made another round of redundancies, after laying off roughly 30% of its staff in 2016. The website’s CEO, Mike Farah, vented his frustration, tweeting: “There is simply no money in making comedy online any more. Facebook has completely destroyed independent digital comedy.”

Continue reading…

Continue Reading

A Celebrity Profile That’s Only Descriptions of What They Were Wearing, If That’s Really All You Want, You Animals, by Jeff Wucher

Grace Schoeppner looks as if she has just stepped out of a dictionary, the one she occupies as the definition of the word “chic.” Floating in, she casually peels off a red pashmina of smooth Japanese silk and ties it around her waist, much like how the LAPD has recently tied a string of late […]

Continue Reading

A Celebrity Profile That’s Only Descriptions of What They Were Wearing, If That’s Really All You Want, You Animals, by Jeff Wucher

Grace Schoeppner looks as if she has just stepped out of a dictionary, the one she occupies as the definition of the word “chic.” Floating in, she casually peels off a red pashmina of smooth Japanese silk and ties it around her waist, much like how the LAPD has recently tied a string of late […]

Continue Reading