News: Further Daniel Kitson Finds

Never let it be said that Beyond The Joke doesn’t take its comedy research seriously. When I wrote my story about uncovering some early Daniel Kitson footage recently I was contacted by Karel Beer, who has been putting on comedy nights in Paris at his Laughing Matters club for nearly twenty years. “We have hours of Daniel on video performing here in Paris,” he emailed me. And so yesterday I headed over to Paris and met up with Karel in a bar just off the Bastille before retiring to his delightful Parisian flat to enjoy some prime cuts of Kitson.

In fact what Beer has is not just a treasure trove of Kitson comedy gold. His club started at the Erotika, an ex-strip club in Pigalle where Eddie Izzard first tried his hand at shows en Francais. It then moved to  the Hotel Du Nord and then finally to the Java club. Beer filmed most of the gigs at his club. As a result he has footage of the likes of Bill Bailey, Sean Lock, Adam Hills, Rich Hall, Reginald D Hunter, a pre-bearded Tony Law and many more all playing to a room of around 100 people. Tommy Tiernan stormed it early this month. He even has footage of a young, thin Michael McIntyre from around 2006. It appeared on YouTube, but after only about 20 minutes Beer received a firm phone call from MM's people asking for it to be removed. i would imagine the same might happen if the Kitson footage went up.

Daniel Kitson played Beer’s clubs a number of times and also had a hair-raising ride on the back of Beer’s scooter (Beer and Kitson pictured together post-ride below), which was part of the tradition of playing here. During one run – in 2002 judging from Kitson's Ben Folds Five T-shirt –  Beer's office/dressing room next door to the Hotel du Nord was robbed so Daniel offered to do an extra show to compensate for the loss of purses and mobile phones. What I saw was great as Kitson bantered with the crowd and did his now famous killer ritual of “what’s your name? What do you do?” This being a decade ago and in France not everyone was in IT. At one point there is a random hum in the crowd and this turns into an epic five-minute riff on the nature of random noises.kitson Beer

The Kitson gigs were just some of the memorable nights at Hotel Du Nord and then later at La Java. Beer doesn’t put so many comedy gigs on these days but he is always on the lookout for good acts. With the 20th birthday of the club coming up next year I suggested he put on some anniversary gigs and there was a twinkle in his eye. Laughing Matters has not had its last laugh yet.

Read more about Laughing Matters here.

 

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