Review: The Week Ahead April 15 - 21

tiffany stevenson

This is one of those weeks when comedy fans in London would be well-advised to pitch a tent in the foyer of the Soho Theatre and create their own bespoke mini-comedy festival. As well as ongoing unmissable shows from Dr Brown and Pappy's there is a veritable smorgasbord of stand-up on offer.

I recently wrote about class in comedy and the way that posh comedians seemed to be proliferating at the moment. A lot of comedy fans disagreed with me (probably the defensive public school-educated ones) so i'm not going to rekindle that debate here. Except to say that Simon Evans, at Soho from Wednesday, is both posh and exceedingly funny, balancing expertly-structured gags about superiority and tradition with tidy swipes at Boris Johnson's zip wire escapades.

Evans is versatile too. The last time I saw him he was playing slightly fictional Tory PM Richard Macintosh in the satirical play Coalition. Shortly after it opened at the Edinburgh Festival last summer i spotted Evans cycling the wrong way down a one-way street. The power had clearly gone to his head. Whatever next? Parking in disabled bays outside McDonalds?

Of course the comedy circuit is not being totally overrun by Lord Snootys. But how many female working class stand-up comedians can you name? Aha, not that many are there? Maybe Sarah Millican, but she is from the north where everyone is working class so doesn't count (sorry, I was having a Simon Evans superiority moment there). Flying the flag for leopard print leggings is Tiffany Stevenson (pictured), who brings her latest show, Comfortably Numb, to Soho this week also from Wednesday.

It has been great to see Stevenson improving all the time and working her way up the comedy greasy pole, getting a boost from her appearance on the ITV talent hunt Show Me The Funny in 2011. While the series was frankly a bit of a hotchpotch of X Factor and The Apprentice it certainly did Stevenson, who came third, no harm at all, showing that stand-up is about Tiffs as well as toffs.

Uncomfortably Numb deals with the thorny issue of getting older. To botox or not to botox, that is the question. In Stevenson's case she has hit that point in life where she has realised she is turning into her dad, the two tell-tale signs in her case being nasal hair and gambling. Stevenson said in a recent interview that her style has become more "ranty and angry" – I guess that's what too much nasal hair does to you.

Finally at Soho Theatre from Tuesday, German comedian Michael Mittermeier returns following a successful stint here let autumn. If his name makes him sound a little like a Teutonic Michael McIntyre that is a nice coincidence as in his native Germany Mittermeier is a superstar stand-up of McIntyre proportions.

In the UK he has started from scratch with small English language gigs, having been championed by Eddie Izzard. And Mr Izzard has excellent taste. Mittermeier is an eagle-eyed observational comedian with bags of charm, instantly winning over crowds with laser-guided lighthearted gags about us crazy Brits. When I last saw him at the Altitude Festival he was more than happy to send up preconceptions about the Germans too – I won't spoil his brilliant self-mocking opening gag in case he does it at Soho. Just make sure you get there early...

If you want a get away from Soho, however, it's not rocket science. Though there might be some rocket science in it actually. You have to travel about a mile to the Bloomsbury Theatre for the three night run of Festival of the Spoken Nerd starting this Tuesday. Musical maestro and whimsical physicist Helen Arney, erstwhile Blue Peter boffin Steve Mould and mathematician Matt Parker return to stick a mixture of comedy and education in the metaphorical test tube and, while the results may not always be explosive, they are invariably illuminating and lots of fun.

The theme of this term's show, entitled Technobabble, is computers. I'm definitely going to have to go – the last time I went to FOTSN I had to leave in the interval and I missed out on discovering the solution to a puzzle they set which involved dividing a pizza up into a certain amount of equal pieces. So hopefully I'll learn something as well as have a laugh. The Bloomsbury does have the feel of a lecture hall at times – it is part of the University of London – but notepads are optional. 


Hello! Thanks for reading all the way down. I wish I could give you a prize. But BTJ needs your support to continue - if you would like to help to keep the site going, please consider donating.

Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.