Preview: The Week Ahead July 1 - 7

alexei sayle

When Alexei Sayle decided to return to the stand-up fray last year his wife was worried that he might "dilute the legacy." Sayle had been one of the original angry young alternative comedians and by withdrawing from live performance his reputation had grown. When he was invited to co-compere an Alternative Comedy celebration on the South Bank a few years ago he was the hit of the night and I think that played its part in nudging him back into stand-up. His comeback shows at the Soho Theatre went down so well that he had to extend his extend his run there and now plays two dates on the South Bank where he caught the performing bug for the second time. Sayle is still angry, but his rage is slightly tempered by middle age. There is political humour here, but it is balanced by anecdotes about Ben Elton and discussions on the lack of decent pitta bread in Liverpool restaurants.

There has been much talk recently of comedians forming a union to help them fight for better pay deals. I wonder what a union would think of BBC political journalist Steve Richards doing a stand-up show at the Soho Theatre. Bloody political journalists, coming over here, taking our jobs. How would they like it if we appeared on political programmes and wrote columns in newspapers? Oh, we do already? OK then, fair enough. Richards knows the corridors of power like the back of his hand, so while some satirists are not always that well-informed, Richards has no excuses for not having his finger on the pulse. He has called his show Rock 'n' Roll Politics, but while he might not be able to give Russell Brand a run for his money in the stand-up cavalier stakes, the more soberly suited Richards should give us some insight into how the country is run. And hope fully some juicy gossip too. Maybe even some laughs.

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