Preview: The Week Ahead Sept 16 - 22

The poster on the left kind of says it all really. Jo Brand comperes this gig at the Union Chapel on Tuesday in aid of providing greater choice at the end of life. Brand has not done a proper stand-up tour for some time, but she is always an excellent host, having turned her deadpan sardonic humour into something more warm, engaging, accessible but still as funny. Just when you thought television had Brand all to itself it is good to see her back onstage here.

The line-up Brand will be introducing is pretty appealing too. Robin Ince is currently driving himself quietly nuts trying to write a blog every day as well as do more gigs than is good for one's sanity, but he should be pretty good value here. James Dowdeswell is a very underrated storyteller and what is there to say about Simon Munnery that hasn't already been said by umpteen devotees? Maverick, genius, innovator and also pretty handy with the pithy one-liner - expect plenty of comic value for Munnery tonight.

On the subject of stand-ups like Jo Brand who have become best known for their TV work, Adam Hills has finally broken through into the big time in the UK with C4's The Last Leg, which has evolved from being a programme about the Paralympics to a topical programme about whatever is going on that week. Anything can happen on this show - a particularly brilliant recent edition put Boris Johnson on the spot. I'm sure I saw Bojo briefly squirm like a worm on a fish hook when he was asked a question about football that he looked like he wasn't expecting.

Hills was already a TV star in his native Australia, but over in the UK was, until recently, regarded as one of primetime stand-up's best kept secrets. He is currently on tour with his Happyism show between TV commitments and brings it to the Hammersmith Apollo next Sunday. If you want to see cynicism-free, life-affirming, pure feelgood stand-up, head for Hills. 





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