Preview: The Week Ahead June 16 - 22

Penn & Teller

Last year Beyond The Joke talked to Josie Long about Arts Emergency, the charity she has co-founded to support students who may struggle to pay for further education. The organisation is still going strong and this Wednesday and Thursday Long hosts Tell Me Something I Don't Know, two fundraising gigs at the Bloomsbury Theatre with an all-star cast of alt-comedy heroes. As well as MC Long, Stewart Lee, Jo Neary, Shappi Khorsandi and Grace Petrie will be appearing on both nights, while Robin Ince chips in on Wednesday and Tony Law, Tiernan Douieb and Sara Pascoe are among thoase pitching up on Thursday.

Does magic come under the comedy umbrella? It’s a tricky question sometimes. I don’t think I’d get many laughs out of a David Copperfield gig, but on the other hand Tommy Cooper was as much a comedian – maybe more – as a magician. Paul Daniels certainly tried to make everyone laugh even if he didn’t always succeed. And then there is Penn and Teller. The American duo have been entertaining crowds for as long as I can remember with their subversive take on classic magic. They do big grandstanding stunts with very sharp knives and tiny tricks but all with the same sense of devilish wit. They take their magic very seriously and very respectfully, of course, but they also make sure they get the laughs in too. They must be doing something right, they have a residency in Las Vegas. They take a break from Vegas to visit the Eventim Apollo this week from June 18 - 22. Oh, and can I just say how much I hate the fact that the Hammersmith Apollo is now called the Eventim Apollo? Thank you.

And while we are on the subject of comedy that doesn’t quite fit into the stand-up template, Lenny Beige revives his Regency Rooms Club for one night this Friday with special guests Armstrong & Miller. I’ve written about it at length here. It was a great club in the 1990s. After Vic Reeves’ Big Night Out went overground this was the hippest place to see comedy and it looked as if spoof superstar Lenny – the creation of Steve Furst – was going to be a mainstream star. It didn’t quite happen, but Furst seems to be doing OK. He has just been cast in the West End production of Made in Dagenham. Though I doubt if we have seen the last of Lenny.

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